Fresh Air? – 

April 10, 2020 –  A Love Story, out now, chronicles author Casey Schwartz’s lifelong obsession with humanity’s ability—or lack thereof—to focus, with an emphasis on how the shift to an “attention economy” exacerbates the ancient conundrum of living in the here and now. “We have entered into a situation where the gadgets we carry around with us—and the cognitive rhythm they dictate—are pitted against the possibility of deep engagement or thorough ‘encoding,’” she writes. “They ask us to be anywhere but here, to live in any moment but now.”

The prospect of “anywhere but here, any moment but now” might seem a welcome distraction from the tragic reality we’re living through, but the pandemic has revealed contradicting desires. We have a deep need to connect with others, exactly here, exactly now—to share stories and struggles, and in the most harrowing and heartbreaking circumstances, to say goodbye. And we can only do it through our devices. “I’m actually really grateful for my phone right now,” Schwartz said in a recent phone call. We happen to live on the same block in Brooklyn, but we cannot meet in person. “It’s providing the only version of togetherness we really have at the moment.”



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