Today’s comic features a rather large cast of web designers (Eric Meyer, Ethan Marcotte, Dan Cederholm, Elliot Jay Stocks and Jeremy Keith) doing nothing involving the web. Rather, each of them has traveled to the Pilcrow Public House for a tall drink and a leisurely respite.
Although I’m deeply in love with the Internet and its delicious offerings, I find that the 21st century is running at a pace that is accelerating and doesn’t allow for much leisure, even during your leisure time. My own plate is rather full, even outside my work hours, with various online and offline activities that result in my bitter laughter when someone asks what I’m doing with my spare time this week.
If, as a web developer, I were to fashion a pub, I’d probably call it the Pilcrow. I’m blaming all the typography nuts that are in my feed reader. Hence it plays stage for a look at what I imagine leisure would be like in the middle of nowhere, preferably without any wifi or 3G signals, leaving you with no choice but to put down the phone and look at who’s next to you.
True to the premise of slowing down, this comic was inspired by some older posts on the blogs of the notables above. When Dan Cederholm updated the design of SimpleBits, he spoke briefly in his post Woodpress about his desire to start writing posts more often, and not for search engines or tutorials, but for conversation.
Ethan Marcotte picked up the thread in an entry by the same name, complimenting Dan’s redesign and realizing that his “quasi-tumblog” wasn’t entirely cracked up as he wanted it to be. He then quoted a sentence from this post by Merlin Mann that really hit me where it counts:
Jesus, I miss paragraphs.
Amen to that. I love Twitter. It’s a great way to get an idea out quickly, to share links and views among peers when time is short or when dealing with a keyboard the size of my thumb. But sometimes I feel like I’ve lost the ability to take my time and write at length because of that need to get the ideas out quickly.
The clincher for me was Elliot Jay Stocks’ contribution to 24ways.org (the web designer’s advent calender) entitled A Pet Project is For Life, Not Just For Christmas. It’s a great read, discussing the need for our own pet projects as a form of relieving work pressure, collaborating with friends, and improving our quality of life. I couldn’t agree more. CSSquirrel is in essence a pet project, but lacks that collaborative nature that can be so addicting. I need to find some quality geeks and a wacky idea and get rolling. To me, these sort of projects are an equivalent the fixer-uppers in the garages of our fathers. They’re there for some peace and the opportunity to play with your toolset.
So I don’t know about you, but one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to find a way to slow down where it counts, and tinker more where it doesn’t. Or the reverse of that. I’m not sure which.
(Regarding Meyer and Keith’s presence in the comic: Eric Meyer wrote on Twitter about applying to truck-driver’s school on a day off. Fictitious or real, I found it hilarious. I also recently re-discovered the Salter Cane website, featuring a band including one Jeremy Keith on bouzouki. I’ve found the music rather enjoyable, and may have to purchase one of their albums.)