There used to be a time when I wished I could read all the good books that are out there. Then I grew older, wiser, and knew that unless they could implant a little computer in my brain, that would never happen. So I decided to read more short stories, articles and vignettes and familiarize myself with some of the world literature. However, just when I was gaining a clue, there came a different surge of writing called “blog”. Soon it was clear that even if I could narrow down my area of interest, I’d never live long enough to read a fraction of what’s out there.

Before the dot-com revolution, I’d never heard the word “blog.” Then one day, I heard my kids talking amongst themselves about “blogs”. I listened in to make sure I had the word right before reaching for my big dictionary. Much to my chagrin, the dictionary jumped from ‘block” to ‘bloke” with no ‘blog’ in between.

Oh, but by then I wasn’t about to give up. In fact, an obsession had started to build up inside me. I would never humiliate myself by asking my children. Every time I ask them a question, it’s as if I’m a contestant on “Are You Smarter Than A Second Grader?” Such a question to their generation is as if someone asked us what year it is or who’s the president.

So I Googled it. Wow! Here I found page after page on a word that up to that point had no place in my vocabulary. Then again, just when the world had thought they’ve got enough languages, the computer introduced a language that has become a major part of life. What would my grandmother think if she received this note?

“Your e-mail went to my spam. I’ll blog today and promise to copy and paste it for you. Loved your pics on facebook. BTW, the attached pdf, will make you lol.”

According to Wikipedia, “to blog” means to edit one’s weblog or to post to one’s weblog.” The term “weblog” came from Jorn Barger in 1997. The short form, “blog,” was Peter Merholz’s idea, “who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog in April or May of 1999.” The term is now used as both a noun and a verb.

So I searched some more and, just like the Pandora’s box, discovered more than I had anticipated. There are tons of interesting articles on the subject, which in turn lead to other subjects, and before you know it, you are a shriveled old man/woman, bent forward at your computer, struggling to see the words.

I wonder if anyone has done a study on lives that are wasted at the computer. We all give hours, days and years to this entertaining box without realizing that these are the same hours whose loss would cut our lives shorter. There’s YouTube to watch, forwards to open, pictures to see not to mention a million and one other activities.

As a writer, I love my cave. In addition to a wide-screen Mac, there are family pictures, my daughter’s artwork on the wall, reference books, and that antique typewriter with a bunch of silk poppies to remind me who I am. But when my husband comes back from work to find me exactly where he’d left me in the morning, when the answering machine is about to explode, and the poor dog finds words to express his need to go out, then I think maybe I’ve gone too far.

So if you are a blog junkie like me, remember that computer has its limitations. It shows you the roses without their smell, brings you food that has no taste and its words have no voice. Yes, so have a Skype but do your loved ones really look that bad? And have you ever tried to give them a hug?

The songs on YouTube aren’t the same as live performances, a blog can be as worthless as its name, and my silk poppies will never bring me Iran’s vast meadows in spring. It would be wise to remember an old saying to “Stop and smell the roses” before Blogomania has rushed us to the finish line.

Zohreh Ghahremani is the author of Sky of Red Poppies, winner of One Book, One San Diego 2012

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