A personal essay by Anupama Kumar on how Odell’s book how changed her experience of work and writing in the pandemic as it speaks about opting out of the attention economy, and taking time away from distractions.
One of the most powerful lines in Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy is right in the introduction.
What if, Odell asks, augmented reality simply means putting your phone down?
What if, indeed. Odell’s book reminds us that while the world is structured on having our attention on something all the time – even if it isn’t all our attention, all of the time we’re paying attention, there is perhaps another way to be. We have been heading here for a while. Results Only Work Environments and employment in the gig economy require us to be on our toes and “available” for anything. Time is a valuable resource in today’s world, too valuable to not be spent productively, and certainly too valuable to waste on not allowing our attention out. Odell exhorts us to disconnect, to “opt out” and re-engage with the world on our terms. She cites an instance from her own life, where she began to walk through a park in San Francisco and identify individual birds by their calls. By focusing her attention on the moment, she gained a far deeper understanding of the world around her.
This does not mean a complete disengagement with the world, or retreating into complete solitude like a hermit. To Odell, complete disengagement, and a complete retreat away from the world as we know it is impossible. Instead, she advocates that we step away from a culture that requires that we pay attention all the time – to social media, to technology, to the relentless pursuit of productivity – and instead enjoy the one life we have right now.
“Ek hi dharti hum sab ka ghar jitna tera utna mera” is a poem written by legendary Urdu poet Nida Fazli. The poem was recited by Nidhi Chopra Khan for Kitaab’s Quarantine Poetry Series.
This poem “Zindagi” has been written by Shivaanc Pandey and recited by Shalima Motial.
An introduction to the poem by the poet
The poem presents a situation where all around the world people are doing one form or another of counting. Numbers have come into the foreground in our pandemic days. As I was becoming more and more aware of how random numbers began to affect our lives in unexpected ways, I decided to write a poem that would reflect both the despairing and hopeful feelings oscillating within us with regards to these numbers.
While writing this poem I became very conscious of Tennyson’s melancholy and how his poems often moved from despair to that of faith and hope. I decided I would intersperse the stanzas in my poem with lines from various Tennyson poems to heighten the effect on the numbers and their connotations. I believe the intertextuality in the poems takes the poem to a new dimension.
Published by Kitaab, Quarantined Sonnets: Sex, money and Shakespeare by Tabish Khair is considered to be one of the finest works of literature to come out of the Covid 19 pandemic. This anthology of sonnets written by the noted poet, novelist and critic, contains powerfully original rewritings which combine humor and satire with acute social and political commentary.
This poem, with a very positive message for change, has been written and recited by a young talent, […]
As a book-lover, if there is one thing that we might have missed in this lockdown the most, then it would be bookshops and libraries. So here’s a bit of happy news for all the book lovers in Singapore.
The National Library Board has announced that, “The National Library Building, the National Archives of Singapore building, our 25 public libraries and the Former Ford Factory will reopen to the public on 1 July 2020 with shorter opening hours and capacity controls in place. This is in line with the safe reopening measures under Phase 2 and to safeguard the health and safety of our patrons and staff.”
Fear is a poem by Kahlil Gibran and recited by veteran actor Shishir Sharma.
This poem has been written and recited by poet and author Shilpa Dikshit Thapliyal, decicated to the migrant […]