Controlling the Flow

My feeling about why write a book in paper now is that what a book does is it actually stops the flow of information.

This thought from Kenneth Goldsmith touches on something key. We think that the power of the web is like running water. But what good is that water if it cannot be turned off sometimes?

There are many ways this can be done besides writing a book in paper. I am reminded of a technique of novelist Don DeLillo that Inquiry brought to my attention:

Something from it that rather stuck was [Don DeLillo's] habit of putting paragraphs each on their own sheet of paper – I think in part to see how each paragraph stood on its own, as if being merely seen straddled by other paragraphs distracted his mind from sufficient focus to make the most of such a unit.

We usually think of a single page holding as many paragraphs as it can. But DeLillo did not think that way – one paragraph per page. He too wanted to control the flow of information.

So then the question becomes, “How do we do this on the web?” Because there are more ways available than simply limiting internet time.