The Starship Enterprise and a Break from Social Media

Yesterday I posted this to Facebook / tweeted this to Twitter:

So…I decided a few days ago that I need a social media break. It’s starting at midnight, it covers Twitter and Facebook, and it will likely last a week.

notweetingI need this for several reasons, the main one being that I desperately need to finish my work-in-progress, the much-neglected Elevator People. Social media is a wonderful tool for connecting, sharing, horizon-expanding, giving, receiving…but it is also a fantabulous time-suck. I need to see if spending my social-media time on my novel instead will help me finally finish the darn thing.

Furthermore, Twitter and FB have been the sources of a lot of OUTRAGE over various and sundry of late. And I’ve let myself join in on it. Yes, there are many things that SHOULD engender outrage. Injustice and cruelty, illogic and conspiracy. Incomprehensible chaos…. I don’t want to hide from it all, because I recognize the importance of participating in the story of the world, even if that story is sad and gruesome and despicable (usually the sparks of the outrage). Social media is part of living in the future, and I want to be part of that.

But.

All the outrage is contagious. All the outrage is addictive. All the outrage, and I throw myself into it, and my blood pressure rises, and my spirits sink, and I can’t get away from all the pleading voices that clamor for my attention. I can’t think my own thoughts, I can’t feel my own feelings beyond the MUST REACT TO CONVICTIONS AND SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET!

nofacebookingI need to think, need to breathe. I need to be in my own head and heart and in the my-life that I can touch with my fingers and smell and taste. I need to rediscover what it’s like to hear see read feel imagine something and not immediately reach out and tell the worlds about it. I need space…the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise…. #kidding #notreallykidding

I need to live my life without status updates and hashtags for a while.

So I’m taking a break. I’ll miss y’all. I’ll have withdrawal symptoms, and I’ll wonder what I’m s’posed to do with myself.

Maybe I’ll blog. ; )

Maybe I’ll finish my book. Maybe I’ll write poetry. Maybe I’ll have apostrophes. I mean, epiphanies.

But whatever happens, I know for certain it will be good.

I’ll leave you with one final thought, and then I’m going dark. I’ll see y’all on the other side.

INVISIBLE ZOMBIE SPIDERS. FBthumbsup

Sweet dreams!

In Which “Jesus” Works On My Novel

Well, folks. You’re getting a treat today.

Why? Because it’s one of those days.

If you know me in real life at all, you know all too well my penchant for scatterbrainedness. Most of the time, I can focus. Most of the time, I know FAR in advance what I want to do. I don’t necessarily live by a schedule — but I do know how I want my day to progress. And I get squirmy if I plan things and then don’t get them done.

On the other hand, there are days like today.

Today, my darlings, I just can’t focus. I should be writing for you a blog post of beautiful coherence and cohesion, something with a unifying theme. Something that makes sense as a whole.

Regrettably, that’s not going to happen.

Here are three random items instead:

1. Last week, my friend Patricia pointed out that I don’t talk the way I write.

It’s true. I don’t. When you’re engaged in verbal conversation with me, I don’t use phrases like “engaged in verbal conversation.” I don’t start sentences with “regrettably,” and “penchant” is not part of my everyday vocabulary. And I don’t talk so fast that you have to squint at me and tune out the rest of the world in order to keep up.

In verbal conversation, I hesitate a lot. My sentences are shorter. A lot of them don’t get finished. And I say “That’s funny” way more than any human being should.

What’s more, I’m an introvert. So, unless I know you well, or unless we’re among a small group of friends, I won’t talk a lot. I won’t go on half as long as I do on my blog.

I’m a writer, not a talker. Yes, I’m a sucker for great conversation…but with just a few people at a time. Preferably two or three. If I can get an individual to talk to me one-on-one until the late hours of the night, I’m almost in heaven.

YES! Give me that intimate meeting of the minds!

I promise I’ll keep words like “juxtaposed” to a minimum. 😉

2. Jesus reminds us of how important it is to have an actual plot in our stories.

One day, whilst meandering through Facebook, I posted a link to my friend Jessie’s blog.

Jessie had reviewed a book in which the plot was not clear. In my headline above the link, I pointed out that her post was a good reminder of how important plot is in any story. Another Facebook friend commented that at first glance, he thought I’d written “Jesus” instead of “Jessie.”

I kind of like the idea that good storytelling is a divine command. It fits my mantra: Created to create!

3. Once upon a time, Jessie’s brother John admonished me about my habit of self-deprecation.

From 2001 to 2007, the husband and I lived in Germany and worked with a small church there. I could write a whole year’s worth of posts on everything we did, but the short of it is that we helped out however we could (organizing, construction-working, wall-painting, encouraging, mentoring, counseling, etc.) and taught private, conversational English lessons.

Our financial support came mainly from individuals back in the good ol’ USA, so I wrote regular newsletters to all of those fine folks, telling them the whats and wherefores of our lives. And lemme tell ya, those newsletters were long. I had to force myself to condense each one to two pages.

Those pages usually had 0.4-inch margins.

I frequently apologized for the length of those letters.

Then my friend John wrote me an email. In his direct, no-nonsense way, he said,

Don’t apologize for anything you write. If you’ve written a long letter, it’s because you’ve written what you felt was necessary to write. You weaken the message of your letter when you apologize for it.

Well. That made me take a step back.

Long story (ha!) short, I decided that he was right.

I never apologized for a long newsletter again. People kept sending money, so I guess they didn’t miss the apologies.

My friend JT, a university student, has some fascinating ideas for a novel. When we sit and chat about it, he invariably shoots me a warning look and says, “If I wrote this, it would be controversial.”

I tell him what John told me.
____________

Inconsistent vocabulary.

Divine commands for storytelling.

NO APOLOGIES.

What randomnesses of your own would you like to share? Lemme hear ya!

My Terrifying First Blog Post!

Also: I’m Working On Getting A More Interesting Blog Background (Very Important!)

Firsts” are hard, and I’m not the first to say it.

First day of school? Terrifying, if you’re an introvert. First job interview? Intimidating in a my-palms-could-water-your-plants sort of way. First date? Exciting enough that your stomach transports itself to someplace where gravity doesn’t exist, then pops back into your body suffering from free-fall nausea.

For a writer, the scariest part of any story — whether it’s horror or romance — might just be the very first line. For a blogger, the Frightening First comes in the form of the obligatory introductory post.

So, my dear reader. This is where we find ourselves: smack dab in the middle of my first post, with you watching me flounder about as I try to overcome the nervousness, the fear, the — dare I say it? — angst* threatening to paralyze everything from my brain all the way down to my fingertips.

I’m still typing, though. And you’re still reading. Good, this is good.

Where does the fear come from? I’ve blogged elsewhere for years, so I know I’m not worried about what others will think of my blogging (which, *ahem* is not to say that I don’t want to hear about what others think of my blogging [which, in turn, is a brazen request for comments. Yes, I’m finally learning to be wanton. Huzzah!]). I’m not ashamed of my writing, as People In The Know have boosted my ego enough that I believe I actually have some idea what I’m doing. I’m not concerned about fallout, backlash, backstabbing or any of that deplorable ilk.

No, I think what distresses me is this: When I ask myself what I should write about in my first blogpost, the answer is, “I don’t know.”

Should I talk about myself? Should I delineate the whats, wheres, whens, hows, and whys of my life? Surely nobody wants to read my Autobiography In 1000 Words or Less Fewer. Maybe a “thesis statement” of the purpose of this blog? Nah. And I’m pretty sure that you, dear readers, wouldn’t want to listen to me blather on about the latest antics of my cats as a cover for not knowing what I should write about.

Although, if you do want to hear about the antics of my cats, I’m sure I can oblige.

It’s funny how just the act of writing can clear the mind and crystallize the purpose. In writing out these questions, in sharing my ponderings with you, gentle readers, I’ve come to a conclusion: I don’t need to give you my curriculum vitae, and I certainly don’t need to fall back on the academia of thesis statements. None of that is why you’re here. And I know that.

I guess what I really want to tell you is that this blog is going to be about writing. My writing, as well as writing in general. If you read me regularly, you’ll find out about me in due time — maybe more than you wanted to know! If it’s less than you wanted to know, I am always open to questions, comments, concerns, and encouragements.

I especially love cookies. Chocolate chip or shortbread, please.

Oh, and if you want a little more incentive for spoiling me with said cookies, I tell a Courtney story on my About page. 😉

* I don’t like the word “angst.” In English, it has philosophical connotations that go beyond a simple state of fear. But the German word “Angst” means nothing more than “fear.” It’s not some kind of psychological superlative. And yes, I’m annoying myself by using it that way in this post!

** The photo of me is by the fabulous Julie V. Personal Style Photography.