I am not faceless as long as I have a pen and a good internet connection.
In yesterday’s post, I shared how I engage in a new creative project. In the process of working the plan I ran into a glitch. Or, to be more optimistic, you could say I expanded my knowledge base on a grand scale. At first, I almost jumped through the loophole I articulated yesterday of admitting the plan was not workable. Instead, I powered through and made the first of I hope many recordings of my own percussion music.
To make a long story short, I had no problem mixing a very short audio clip. The problem came with sharing it. Oh, is that not the bane of the creative’s existence: showing the rest of the world your work? In order to share the audio, I ended up having to make, with great difficulty, a video. Even though I felt like I had enrolled in a crash course in film editing, I was pleased to learn some new applications, and refresh myself in some old ones.
What I learned is this:
Without further delay, here is my twenty-four second sound mixing experiment.
Note: To create and share my percussion work, I used my iPhone to access Garageband (only available for Apple products) and to shoot the video, a PC laptop in order to access Windows Movie Maker, my email application to mail the audio and video files from one device to the other and, of course, WordPress. Oh, and the instruments: A darbuka, an egg shaker, and a cowbell.
What I enjoy about writing on this blog is the freedom I have to explore my interests and share my creative expressions. What I share here I don’t often share in my “real “life. I have a different “face” here than I have in real life. Which is true? Both.
It’s a curious thing, the nature of selfies. One would think that a selfie photo is a fairly accurate representation of a person. That selfie you see online, on some social media platform, should be what the person looks like in real life.
I am fairly certain that they are not. This blog is evidence of that.
When I look at the list of applications, web tools, and other technologies that we employed with our work at SFC, I am both amazed at how far that technology has come in the last twelve years, and how I have NOT kept up with those changes. Allow me to explain.
Twelve years ago, when I started blogging, WordPress was a cutting edge platform. Although blogs still abound and WordPress still holds a vibrant place in the blogosphere, more people opt to self-express on platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and a host of others. Back in the day, I would post on WordPress, using search engines like Altavista and Netscape for my writing research, and then announce my post on a Yahoo group. Not much is changed in that regard, except I announce on Facebook now (even though FB is somewhat dated) and I use the mighty Google engine to do my research.
Not very progressive or innovative of me, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, I always say. Just give me a computer, a good blogging program, and a search engine, and I can be quite productive.
I can’t help but think that if I lived 100 years ago, my tools for writing would still be quite simple: a tablet of paper, a fountain pen, and access to a world-class museum to accommodate my research needs.
Or, two thousand years ago, I would have been lounging in the library at Alexandria with a roll af papyrus and… What kind of writing implements did they use back then? I guess I will need to Google that.
“Facebook is a time sucking vortex. It is addictive and therefore detrimental to one’s life. I would much rather interact with people in real ways, by, —oh I don’t know–having a conversation? Or receiving well-crafted and substantial letters? The only communication that I dislike more than Facebook is Twitter and texting. Oh, I’ll still sign on and check for news and coupons but if you really want to communicate, write me an email with more than 150 character or give me a ring.“
I got two supportive responses and a few likes, but as I suspect, most of my “friends” don’t follow me, and this post was largely unread. I would add then that Facebook is an exercise in futility as well.
The deeper issue for me with using social media is not its cyber-crack nature or time-wasting factor. More accurately, it is the shallowness and lack of authenticity in the interactions between people in these venues. That statement should not take anyone by surprise. My guess is that we all instinctively know that in most cases (though not all, I will concede) we don’t usually have true and natural relationships with people on-line. For example, a person you might know and care deeply about in real life will sometimes come off as a real putz online. You cannot hear tone and inflection in a 12-word tweet. You cannot see in their eyes and discern emotion. A post intended to mean one thing, may seem like it means something entirely else. Feelings get hurt. Real friendships are strained.
I would rather receive a real hug than a ((((hug)))).
So I stand by what I posted so early in the morning — maybe that is the time when my true and authentic self manifests- – I will be curtailing the time I spend in the cyber-realm to make more time to be true to others and myself.
And I actually might have time to begin writing again.
I have heard it said that social media is the playground of the truly crazy where you will see many pathologies played out in a public arena. As true as that may be, I have also met many sane and wonderful people online who have actually become friends in the real sense. I know people from all over the world who have given generously of their time and wisdom to encourage me in my creative endeavors and to give me sound advice in many personal situations.
Additionally, my creative works would have no way of reaching an audience without social media. I would just be another writer whose works would never leave the confines of a computer hard drive.
Thank goodness for social media, yes?
However, we who are on social media for any length time will eventually discover that there are some terrible drawbacks to playing on this ball field.
Aside from the obvious – dealing with those faceless unknown people whom we will never see with any real clarity and who display their worst behavior – if we play with it long enough, social media will eventually become a soul-sucking addiction.
How much time do we waste reading cat memes and watching the current viral videos instead of actually creating? It is perfectly fine to set aside a few minutes for some entertainment, but for me, this “entertainment” has often gone on for hours, well into the night. (How many of you check for Facebook notifications when you get up at 2 am to pee?)
What does it do to one’s writing skills to have thoughts conveyed in only 150 words at a time?
Dealing with difficult posters can be so emotionally debilitating that one might not have the energy to lift a pen or a paintbrush to create.
We need real-life fodder to fuel our creative endeavors which we will not get if we don’t move our butts away from our computer desks or from our devices to get outside and live a real life.
Recently, I engaged in a spiritual fast which included not only giving up food but also giving up social media for a day. Just a day! The food was easy. Not signing on to social media for 24 hours was dreadful. Can we say that I am a tad addicted? Yes, yes we can.
All this being said, you will see less of me on Facebook. I have simply had enough. Am I gone completely? No, absolutely not. I won’t forsake the exchange of ideas with my cadre of fellow creatives. I will check frequently but I won’t be on all the time. I am moving my FaceBook and Twitter app icons to the last screen of my device so I don’t see that I have notifications every time I pick up my device. I am turning off the notification alert function on my settings. I will not carry my device around with me wherever I go.
I need to start swimming away from that spinning vortex. My life depends upon it.
I know a lot of you read my blog because I write about photography, writing, and my general observations about the world around me. This blog is also about exploring creativity. So what am I doing making this misfit post about blackberry muffins?
It has been busy on the day job lately, and when I am stressed and tired, I don’t feel like writing or taking photos. Instead I spend my time hop-scotching around the internet. And fooling around in the kitchen. So I really must be creatively blocked when I can make both activities intersect.
A couple of weeks ago, while wasting time online rather than writing, I discovered The Happy Hobbits. The Happy Hobbits are two sisters who are Tolkien fans and who regularly contribute to The One Ring fan website. I stumbled across their now viral video of them reacting to the reactions of the stars reacting to their reaction to the second Hobbit movie trailer. ( It’s hard to explain so you just may want to view it yourself: http://youtu.be/X1XsnHQSJso ).
Anyway, watching this video led me to their Youtube Channel. One of the other videos on their channel is on making “Second Breakfast Blackberry Cake” (LotR fans will know about Second Breakfasts). I thought it sounded good so I attempted to make the cake. Not wanting to heat up my oven on a hot day, I made it in my toaster oven. Not such a good idea when one forgets to switch the toaster oven from broiler to bake. I ended up with burned blackberry pudding. Baking is much like writing. If something isn’t working, you pitch it out and try a different approach. In this case, I tried the recipe again and made muffins.
There are a lot of streams coming together here — baking, literature, film, social media, toaster ovens — but a confluence like this often results in a creative breakthrough. So along with my gastric fluids flowing, so are my creative juices. Thanks, Happy Hobbits, for giving me some insights on my process along with a good recipe.
If you would like to see their video, here it is:
The Daily Post asked a probing question this morning: “To what extent is your blog a place for your own self-expression and creativity vs. a site designed to attract readers? How do you balance that? If sticking to certain topics and types of posts meant your readership would triple, would you do it?”
I have read a number of experts on blogging say that one must narrow one’s blog to a specific subject or topic in order to draw in more readers. I suppose if one monetized their blog and their writing was purely a money making endeavor, I would say go for it. (And that is not a judgment — who doesn’t want to be compensated for their work. And writing IS work). However, for the person who just can’t seem to settle on one avenue of interest that would not be possible.
I am such a person. Just look at topics under my “Categories” section: writing, photography, history, nature, art, poetry and so on. In the past I tried to have a blog for each medium of expression or topic of interest. That didn’t work so well. Sometimes my work can be art and writing at the same time. Poetry and prose come together in one piece. My photography becomes a painting. My observations of nature and history become a short story.
The blog experts would say that I need to “settle down” and that such a diversity of interest serves only to water down my creative products. “If you could just focus on one medium and become a master of it,”….. well, I guess that would make me “successful”.
Let me just drop some names here: Leonardo DaVinci, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Hildegard Von Bingen…you get the idea. Do you see a common denominator among them? Yeah, me too.
So in answer to the question above, it would be an emphatic “no.” I will just keep on making art, spinning stories, and casting poetry all in one personal space.
ljg (c) 2013
With great enthusiasm I respond to today’s prompt from the Daily Post: “Tell us about another blogger who has influenced your own online journey.”
Without reservation I say that Heather Blakey through her work at the Soul Food Cafe launched me on the road to daily writing and navigating the realm of the blogosphere.
Prior to 2006 I was plugging away at writing on my own static website. No one in my world knew diddly-squat about these things called “blogs” and certainly no one was reading my website. Then one day I fell into Heather’s magic Chocolate Box and started writing. One turn in her labyrinth led to another and then another and I ended up blogging on a regular basis with a delightful group of women (and a few men).
I have moved on to my own work here at the Perch, but I still keep in contact with many of my SFC buddies. Many of them are actively engaged in their own writing projects. I urge you to take a click on the links in my Blogroll on the left and see the handiwork of these wildly creative individuals.
I was, and still am.