|Image of a woman writing at her desk from www.louisamayalcott.org|
My early writing mentor and friend, children's author
Elizabeth Yates McGreal at her home in New Hampshire.
A Lady Writing a Letter, Jan Vermeer Van Delft, 1665-66,
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
|Jane Austen at her desk, early 1800s.|
At the same time, there is just too much noise from the Internet. It's a magnet for me. I don't need to run to it when I want to "Google" more useless information to further clutter my mind. I don't need to post something fun, snarky, and sometimes negative, on someone's Facebook wall (even if they upset me) or on my own. I don't even need to be blogging! [And Lord knows I don't need more recipes...or to be spending any money right now, "free shipping" or not!]
Print by Charles Dana Gibson, early 20th Century
I'm not surprised that the Internet now has its own addiction discussion in the psychological field or that Facebook is having its own kind of quiet backlash. I grapple with this daily, or should I say have. Is there a 12-Step Program yet for recovering social media addicts? This about says it all: "The Photographs of Your Junk (will be publicized!)". We all want validation but do we need it from the entire world? All of the blogs, tweets and Facebook posts out there are really about wanting to be heard. "I'm here!" It's kind of like that Dr. Seuss story, Horton Hears a Who! ["even though you can't see or hear them at all, a person's a person, no matter how small."] Meanwhile, I blog: therefore I am should really be I live and sometimes I blog about it.
Writer Susan Sontag by Annie Leibovitz
|Painting by Frans Van Mieris, the Elder, 1680|
But really, after almost seven years, I was tired of feeling I have to be "on" or "on-line"––what, really, is the urgency? A few months ago I was close to sending in the paperwork to be a part of the "BlogHer" network, which would have involved allowing advertising (and possible revenues, and certainly more blog hits), but in December, when I decided to take the month off from blogging, more or less, I changed my mind. Why do I care if more, or less, people even read my blog? As wonderful as these friendships are, and having readers like you who come here, I shouldn't feel I have to be here. This isn't a job: it's a hobby. If people make revenue from their blogging, I applaud them, but it doesn't necessarily make them a writer, it makes them a paid blogger or provides reward for providing an excellent delivery system of interactive content.
|It is time for a reread of one of my favorite books on|
writing, and being: A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf.
Ultimately, and this is the plan, if I focus hard and eliminate other things I can write again for the printed page: the occasional published magazine article, and hopefully more books. I have to harness that energy into a workable body of my writing without benefit of the world watching. I have much to share and publication involves a high degree of discipline, marketing, and a willingness to tolerate rejection (or editors--even the ones you know--not always responding). The freelance life is not a friend to non-routine and laziness, or even complacency. So it's time for a drop-kick boot camp in that realm in my life. Last month, during the holidays, I gave myself permission not to blog. It felt wonderful. I felt liberated! I did post two more small posts, after saying I wouldn't, but that was because I wanted to and didn't feel obligated.
|My favorite American novelist, Willa Cather, who |
had no benefit of Internet, blogs, Facebook or Twitter.
And yet...I was fully prepared to give up our Internet via expensive satellite at the end of 2011. We could use our fine county library or a cozy café with WiFi, I told myself. But the reality is much different. I have realized that I still want this kind connection with the world, right from my own cozy home. The trick is to manage it better. So now, when I don't want to be on the computer or need to be doing other things, I just turn it off.
The other day all of my thoughts about to give up the Internet, or not, were answered. Our local phone company, Windstream, contacted us about wanting two easements on our farm for DSL terminals (as I've always suspected, our farm is about half-way down our 8-mile ridge). Many of our neighbors have wanted DSL and have been asking for it, repeatedly, before we even moved here. I had it back in New Hampshire in our village home: it was fast, immediate, I could download things and upload photos without any problem. And, best of all, it was affordable (about one quarter the price for maximum bandwidth satellite internet). We are now negotiating with them to get this party started. It was almost like a strange kind of answer to something with which I'd been struggling: and isn't life often that way?
If you have gotten this far in this most unbloggy musing, I applaud you! But most of all, I thank you for your readership over these past seven years. It is so wonderful to connect here and wherever else the fates may allow. And if I don't blog for a stretch, you'll know I've just turned it off and am connecting in the real world.
You come back when you're ready!