Must be something about this time of year: I remember it happened last year and here we are again: I find myself frustrated by Facebook and social media in general right now, and I don't know if I want to contribute to it by writing more, more, always more.
We are all clamouring: Listen to me! Look at ME! Whether it's heroics, or what we had for dinner, or the funny thing our kid said, or self-promotion for an upcoming gig-
Why are we doing it? If a tree falls in the forest, if we did a good thing or thought of a funny thing and then DIDN'T put it on Facebook or on a blog... maybe people wouldn't know. And maybe that's okay.
But it's there, a great web of lies and half-truths and publicity, and why not harness it? I'm as guilty as the next person. Look at this blog.
I made a big decision recently. I decided to stay in town this year and not go north for the summer. So I'm riding the internet waves, putting out feelers and putting myself out there and selling myself so I can make a living (hopefully) without my usual main source of income next year. I set up a profile on LinkedIn. My guy says he'll make me a website. More me me me.
I love it and I hate it. It's a powerful tool and I know it and as a writer I love to put my thoughts out there and have instant feedback; the "likes" coming thick and fast to a status update or photo I've posted; the comments or the messages flooding in.
But I walk to the mall to buy some groceries and I realize: I can't go half a block without wrestling my phone out of my pocket to see why it vibrated this time. I literally can't leave the house without my phone in case someone messages me or my guy texts, or an important email comes in.
I do small things to change this: I uninstall Facebook and Candy Crush (ugh, don't get me started) from my smartphone so it can live in my pocket more, and less in my hand.
It's almost Christmas. I LOVE Christmas! For 3 reasons: Lights. Food. MUSIC.
I'm rehearsing a Christmas show and another show and a gig; my days are suddenly filled with prep work, while my nights are full of rehearsals. I make a date with a girlfriend to go and see a street that's famous for its Christmas lights. I buy a little tree and put mini lights on it. I hang ornaments (too large for my tiny potted dwarf tree) from my venetian blinds and while I do this I listen to the cheesiest Christmas music imaginable. (But it has to be either classic crooners or the classical stuff. I'm talkin' Dean Martin or Kings College, Cambridge. None of this contemporary Pentatonix/Michael Buble/Idina Menzel shit.)
My guy texts me. We are both swamped with work, we haven't seen each other in 4 days but it feels longer. We are both chained to our computers and our cel phones and it's too much, but he sends me this one text: We just listened to your song again. On the stereo. Gosh you're good.
I melt a little.
The wind is howling outside tonight. I just powered through a productive music rehearsal and now I'm nursing a glass of wine and the cats have hissed and fought and galloped through their version of the witching hour and now they're sleeping again. I turn off the tv, finish typing this, and in another universe I set my phone and my laptop on fire, fanning the flames until they're both nothing more than a foul-smelling plastic-y ooze on the living-room rug.
But in this universe I close the lid on my computer, plug my phone into the wall, and try to remember to raise my eyes from the screen(s) more often and drink in everything that's around me.