Intercision is a type of fictional operation in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy that separates an individual from their dæmon. In effect, the operation separates the person from his or her soul, while (usually) leaving the person alive. (from Wikipedia).
It’s funny. I was trying to think of a good word to describe my decision to stay off the internet lately. It definitely felt like a cutting loose of some kind, a severing, but nothing seemed to sum it up exactly and then this word popped into my mind. I googled it and lookee here, the brilliant Philip Pullman came up with it!
Seems apropos. Of something. The internet is a demon of a kind, although one can argue it lacks soul. I think of it as a million yammering voices not saying much of anything.
Perhaps I am channeling Pullman which would be all good since I am about to start back in on my new WIP. I’ve finished the painting. I’ve stacked two cords of wood in preparation for the cold NY winters. I’ve even dug a trench around the lawn in the middle of my driveway in an attempt (successful, I hope) to help the rainwater drain and also to discourage idiots in their cars from driving across it. Hey, it’s a lawn! Hello?!!!! The next person who does will feel my wrath and will be fined 100 dollars. I shoveled about a ton of stinking black, waterlogged mud onto the bedraggled remnants of what used to be quite a pretty teardrop of turf and delicate wild flowers. I plan on covering it with straw until the grass grows back over the tire gouges, and spreading the drive with heavy, coarse gravel, but that is neither here nor there. I am so stiff and sore that it is funny (to everyone else) to watch me get up from a chair, but it is a good, honest physical pain. It’s been a long time since my sore fingers and back were caused by something other than six or eight hours sitting huddled in a not very good chair over a small silver screen. I kind of like the feeling. And while I’m stacking wood or loading wheelbarrows or shoveling dirt, my mind is roaming.
I’ve been far too busy recently to surf the net. It felt weird at first. But then I was suffused with a certain peace, a happiness even. It felt like a relief. Often when I go on line I end up being depressed. Being an insecure writer type with the need for validation, the net’s hugeness and occupation with a thousand million things and topics which have absolutely nothing to do with me, can seem like global rejection. Or apathy. I feel like a blip, which is what I am of course, but I don’t enjoy the constant reminder.
When I’m not on the web, I’m thinking more about the things that are important to me. I’m thinking about my own writing and not Neil Gaiman’s- though I send out oodles of congratulations to him and his achievements. Yay for him. But these days I’m thinking about me. I’m experiencing the little joys and the feelings of accomplishment from completing some mundane task. Some job that requires a physical rather than a mental effort. And I’m preparing myself for the plunge which is writing a new story, and letting it catch me up.
I go online to chat with my sister, to look something up, to check the weather forecast but other than that I am steering clear of the whole thing. I’d prefer my daemon to be by my side, offering wise counsel, or indicating a new direction. Maybe a snow leopard or a timber wolf. Something like that.


  1. Hi Jo,
    I’ve often thought of doing this too, although I have not been able to as of yet. My daughter is going to grow up thinking that adults spend their free time staring at a screen!

  2. It feels weird at first but then you remember that only a few short years ago, none of this time-wasting stuff existed and yet human civilization survived. I have more time for the important stuff like leading my life in a way that brings me the most satisfaction and happiness.
    Milo can quite easily spend hours playing games on the web and he finds new game sites by himself. Scary what 6-year olds are capable of!

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