Home again, Home again.

“What if I stopped, just for awhile, to see where the sun goes?” -the bird and the bee, “Spark”

I just got back from a couple of weeks in Italy.  I lived there for about a year when I was 17 and hadn’t been back to visit for, well, a long time.  Happily, my ability to speak Italian came back almost immediately, which was the only thing that happened in a hurry during my vacation there.

I had left my cell phone in Brooklyn, so there were no calls to answer or return.  I didn’t check email.  After our morning swim, we’d eat al fresco at our Italian host’s picnic table, our senses awash in the simple pleasures of a summer day.  CIMG3083

Every lunch was accompanied by perfectly ripe tomatoes dressed in a grassy extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.  As a light breeze drifted through the trees and across our foreheads, the only noise was the soft hum of the bees in the wildflowers underscoring our gentle conversation.

This was quite a contrast to the culture from which I’d just taken a sabbatical.  Stateside, we’re inundated with books, websites, and workshops dedicated to helping us be more authentic, more creative, more ourselves.  Perhaps this culture of “identity acquisition” is a by-product of the great evil and obsession of the Western world: multi-tasking.  

We’re on our cellphones all day.  We send “tweets” about our groceries, spouses, and commuting woes.  We link the “tweets” to our Facebook pages and amass hundreds of “friends.”  Meanwhile, sitting down face-to-face with an actual friend has become a rarified privilege.

I have nothing against technology; I love the Internet, in fact.  But I believe that we are most authentic and creative when we put away all our goddamned digital devices for a few days and, instead of reporting the minutiae of our daily lives to faceless cyber-masses, we actually enjoy and inhabit the minutiae of our daily lives.  

Because the minutiae is pretty fucking great.


6 thoughts on “Home again, Home again.

  1. Hilary,

    you couldn’t have expressed my feelings in a better way. Life should always be about Slow Food, Slow Travel, Slow friends, Slow LIFE. Sit, eat, drink and enjoy life LIVE (instead of in cyberspace) with someone worth sharing with…..

    I can’t wait to go back home and be there for a while so that I can go back to having life revolve around what I am going to eat and drink for lunch and dinner….and have no cell phone reception everywhere I go.


  2. I am so glad you’re blogging, Hilary. I love you in print almost as much as I love your word smithing on the fly. So glad you enjoyed Italy. Have heard multiple stories of amazing, relaxing, un-hooked from the virtual world-ing vacations lately and am truly envious. Someday I’ll get there, too.

  3. I Love this. And I’m curious about ‘the Bird & the Bee’ ref, mainly because I am sorta fashioning much of my new record around their sound, and others, of course. Sup? Good to be back, feeling Fall? L

    • the Bird & the Bee are fantastic! Greg Kurstin is brilliant. He and Inara somehow manage to meld the hookiest hooks and catchiest melodies with witty, occasionally caustic lyrics and super-sophisticated production. Their music is like pink champagne: bubbly, fun and high-brow.
      My favorite tracks: Fucking Boyfriend, You’re A Cad, I’m a Broken Heart, Meteor

  4. hi girl! well said!!! loving your blog. you are inspiring me to start blogging. my friend was recently guilty of posting on facebook ‘i am in child’s pose doing yoga’. i love her. but i was like REALLY!!!!!!! put the goddamn google phone away and actually breathe and do YOGA!!! but we are all guilty of it at different moments… hazard of our modern life. i love that you totally unplugged when you went to italy. showing and sowing the seed of enlightenment, you. xoxo

    • Wow–thank you! The yoga anecdote is hilarious…where do you suppose she was hiding the phone during yoga!? In seriousness, though, I think part of why we seem to collectively need to assert our “selves” so much these days via Twitter, Facebook, etc. is that we live in a culture that actively represses expression of the “Self.” Hence this little blog…I’m not unaware of the contradiction inherent in blogging about how overly “plugged in” we are, but I love so many things about the Internet. I think the immediacy of the communication afforded by the Internet simply has to be harnessed and channeled in a positive, authentic way. And you are a musician and writer who has inspired me for a long time, so your words mean a lot! xo

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