I have no phone and no internet connection in my office. And the days when the BlackBerry comes along because I have to expect some call or something, are likely to be days when I don’t work well. There’s a larger point here too, in that everybody talks how great it is that we have all this information, but to write fiction you don’t need information, or you need a very little bit, you need one per cent of the information that’s flooding in, and the imagination shrivels in the face of this intense radiant wall of information that you get. Certainly, you get so anxious trying to work, that having an open internet portal gives you the ways of dealing with that anxiety in not very productive ways. It’s a kind of exquisite self torture to deprive yourself [of email] in that way, but I think it’s necessary to do large works that require you to hold a lot of things in your head at once.

Jonathan Franzen on his work environment, in an interview with Stuart McGurk, “Franzen on Freedom,” GQ Books, GQ.COM (UK) (Sept. 28, 2010). (via nbr)