22 thoughts on “Creativity and the Cyber-Life

  1. Based on that last one I guess I’m living quite well. :-)

    Saw a good bumper sticker on a California van in Canada a couple of summers ago. It looked like an odometer, but with letters. They spelled IRAQ – with the Q turning over into an N.

    Now to wander off to more distractions…

    Ian!

    What a treat to have you stop by. And yes, indeed ~ from what I’ve gathered over the past couple of years, you’re living as well as any of us ;-)

    Clever, that alphabetic odometer. Now I’m wondering whether they have bumper stickers in Germany other than the flags, shields and “Proud to be (Choose one: Italian/Czech/Polish/etc.) German”. I did find one that said, “I’d Rather be Driving the Autobahn”. I’m pretty sure you’d not affix the sticker, but I’ll bet you appreciate the sentiment.

    Linda

  2. Can you ‘see’ me grinning? I shall take this as a metaphorical “kick in the rear” and stop procrastinating. I gave myself a shake last week, and began another story, but then got side-tracked, allowed another idea to formulate in my little brain and began a second! I found it’s not sensible attempting to write two at the same time – the confusion resulted in no forward momentum!

    “A need for a certain discipline” – now where have I heard that before? LOL

    As to bumper stickers, this is one of my favourites ~ “If you can read this, thank a teacher!”

    Sandi,

    Ah, yes. The old “consider yourself kicked” discussion! Hard to believe it was nine months ago we were talking about the New Year, resolutions and such. I suppose it’s a fact that this entry got its beginning then, for one of my resolutions was “less blogging, more writing”. And in that context, of course, “blogging” was just shorthand for the whole complex of activities we engage in: reading, commenting, researching, link-hopping and so on.

    I experience the same thing. It’s impossible for me to work on two pieces at once. But, I hate losing ideas, so I keep a draft file which I scan from time to time, and they keep percolating in my subconscious. It’s really quite helpful, because I tend to “find” things that belong in one entry or another and can just tuck them in the file until time to do something with it.

    I would think your real difficulty would be balancing photography and writing, though, including your work with Flickr. Your blessing is your curse – being multi-talented. Photography, illustration, writing – pretty hard to choose, I would imagine.

    But choose we do – that’s part of the “discipline”! And don’t you know – I can thank a teacher for that, too!

    Linda

  3. Back in the day
    As the old folks now say
    there were stickers for bumpers galore.

    Acerbic and wry,
    good for catching the eye,
    they helped truth get a foot in the door.

    BURMA SHAVE!

    oldsalt,

    That’s IT! When I wrote that, there was something about the rhythm that seemed so familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It does have that Burma Shave “flavor”, doesn’t it?

    I loved those jingles. The signs were all over the Iowa roads, and every trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s I’d amuse myself by reading them aloud. Apparently the guy who devised them was more of a marketing genius than we realized, for them to be so deeply embedded in our psyches!

    I discovered the Burma Shave archive , where they claim to have all of the official jingles, sorted by year. And if you’re really, truly a fan of the genre, you can even get a Burma Shave bumper sticker! ;-)

    Linda

  4. I can honestly say that I have mastered the art of distraction.

    While reading your essay my mind wandered to the Roman poet Virgil and the expression that comes from his poem Georgics:
    Tempus fugit. Of course I had to do a quick google search to find the original expression.

    Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus, singula dum capti circumvectamur amore.

    This is the translation that I found in Wikipedia: “But meanwhile it flees: time flees irretrievably, while we wander around, prisoners of our love of detail”.

    I am a prisoner of distraction and loving it.

    Maria,

    I thought perhaps someone would make that connection. I’m hardly surprised it was you.

    But did you notice my little joke? If you scroll across the image of the clock with the dragonfly wings, you’ll see I’ve added a title there myself: “Tempus fidgits“. That was one of the sayings my crazy great-Aunt Rilla was famous for. She wasn’t meaning to be one whit funny, she just had a way with words. “Fig Newton of your imagination…” “The House of the Seven Grables…” “Going bersmerk…” When I finally reached 8th grade Latin and tried to convince my teacher the book had it wrong, it took us a few days to sort it all out.

    But back to Virgil. I don’t remember hearing those famous words in context, and a wonderful context it is, particularly in terms of this discussion. “Prisoners of our love of detail…” is such an extraordinary phrase. Isn’t it interesting that lack of attention to detail is precisely what can make a painting, a photograph, a piece of writing, flat and uninteresting?

    So, I suppose the point would be to choose our distractions carefully. They’re going to shape us, and what we produce!

    Linda

  5. I still see the occasional bumper sticker, most especially around election time. I have two little stickers on my car – a little SB for Seal Beach, and a Keep Tahoe Blue sticker. They aren’t on my bumper, however, they are on the back windows of my back seat – on the sides. Ian and Evan identify which side of the car they want to sit on by what the sticker says. They can read them both!

    I’ve seen the Iraq-Iran bumper sticker more than a few times. What I see now is a lot of stickers on back windows- noting how many are in the family (by two large flip/flops and then little flip/flops to represent the kids), and even pets! But I don’t see a lot of bumper stickers anymore either.

    One that does stand out in my mind from the 60s-70s is Make Love, Not War (and I’ve seen it again), and then, in California, with the constant water shortage – Save Water, Drink Wine – no doubt put out by a wine maker!

    I find that blogs and WU suck my time far more than Facebook does. That’s why I prefer it most of the time. A quick scan of my page and within 15-20 minutes I can be caught up with all that I want to know. I like the time it has freed up for me!

    Karen,

    I’d forgotten those water-stickers. Of course there was “Save Water – Shower with Someone”, and a personal favorite, “Don’t Turn Water into a Whine”. And now that you mention it, there was that little border war up north in Cali that had lots of folks roaming around demanding, “Don’t Californicate Oregon!”

    You do realize the next time you turn around those boys are going to be wanting their own sets of bumpers to put stickers on – they won’t be content just to read yours any more!

    Your comment about keeping in touch is yet another reminder that finding the tools that work for us is really the issue. A blog is different from Facebook, and both are different from Twitter. I couldn’t write what I do on Twitter or Facebook, but a blog doesn’t work very well for just keeping in touch. The trick is to find what meets our needs, and then use it in a disciplined way. I suppose it’s much the same issue it was back in 1960, fifty years ago, when the single most commonly heard phrase in our house was, “LINDA! Get off that phone!” ;-)

    Linda

  6. Bumper stickers and time management. A whole philosophy in a single sentence. My two favorites were Uppity Women Unite! and Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty.

    Time managment is really a tough one. It seemed years ago I had so much time. My weeks were packed with activites: gym, karate, meetings, school, TV, relationships, work. Yet I still had free time and was frequently bored. I have no idea how I would do all that now.

    I’ve committed to doing writing and have filled an entire notebook this month. The internet has been both my muse and distraction.
    A credit to your talents – I still budget time for your blog. I guess as we age time becomes the new currency of value to spend wisely or waste.

    Someone once asked, “What would you do if you won the lottery. What would you buy?” For me I would buy forty more hours a week to live as I wish.

    It’s too big for a bumper sticker, yet it is my core value. Nap, play, laugh, love, create and take another nap. I should be Roxy.

    GG,

    I think you were around for that running discussion I had with JDinWPA. She always claimed there wasn’t nearly enough time to do everything she wanted. I argued we have all the time there is. None of us has more than a 24 hour day, it’s simply a question of what we’re going to do with it. We have to decide for ourselves what’s important enough to deserve our attention and energies.

    More and more often I find myself thinking, “OK. I have perhaps 20 good years left. What am I going to do with them?” It’s a little unnerving – 20 years is nothing. But, going through life in a stupor, pretending it isn’t going to end, won’t buy us a single day. Annie Dillard said it perfectly in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our life.” And we might as well spend them – we can’t take them with us!

    I still think from time to time about the fellow you told me about who was night watchman at the museum. His transition from guarding paintings to creating paintings was remarkable, and a good reminder that it’s never too late to re-evaluate and make some changes.

    What’s been really great is to have you, Numberwise, PeaceRiver and some of the others who were here for the blogwarming still around and reading. It has been a bit of a long, strange trip – but it’s sure been fun!

    Linda

  7. Thanks for the link to Graham’s essay – an amazingly fruitful byway to wander down. In exchange for the loss of an extra few minutes of blog time, I’ll have not only a new set of ideas to think on, but also some hard to find validation of the need to say no.

    I’ve only recently come back to using the ‘net for anything but news and already I am struggling to find ways to ‘manage’ time. And yet, without this resource, I surely would not be reading either your essays or Graham’s.

    I think that for me, the massive overload of communication methods has forced a retreat into what my children refer to as ‘retro-Mom’, letter writing vs Facebook, phone calls vs texting, and a desperately felt need for conversation vs Twitter. I do (must) accommodate some of the new because I have young adult children, but on the whole I choose a slower pace. Living in the now requires all my senses, including placing a higher value on being able to appreciate and interact with bumper stickers more than on how fast my thumbs can press tiny cell phone keys.

    Reading back over this, I’m not sure I clearly conveyed my point, but my stop blogging timer has just gone off, and I needs must obey that self set discipline or I’ll have no time to walk and enjoy the early morning air.

    Lee,

    You make your point perfectly. Even as I was reading, I was thinking how letters are real in a way emails, FB postings and tweets are not. They have weight and substance, the familiarity of a beloved hand, a bit of fragrance and the ability to endure. They can be tied with ribbon and kept in a box where they lie in wait, ready to be taken out, read and re-read at leisure. In fact, they are “little books”, with all the advantages of “real” books over e-readers!

    And you’re so right – it is hard to find validation for “nay-saying”. Who knew, back in the day, that another day would come when being “counter-cultural” would imply a taste for solitude, a slower pace of life and an insistence on quality over quantity?

    As for Graham, here’s another little, quite true and utterly astonishing story about the man. When I first found his essays, I was entranced. I read them all, even the ones I couldn’t understand because they had to do with his work with LISP, ARC and other programming subjects completely beyond me. But I knew from the beginning I had to share “Disconnecting Distraction” somehow, and thought I might want to do more than simply link to the essay.

    So, I sent him an email, asking permission to excerpt the essay. I didn’t know quite what to expect, but I certainly didn’t expect what I received within 24 hours – a personal email from Mr. Graham, giving me permission to use the essay and wishing me good luck with my work. In some way I can’t quite identify, it shaped my approach to my blog. It certainly taught me something about the importance of appreciation and gracious interaction – even with perfect strangers over the net.

    Linda

  8. Terrific! The Burma Shave archives. The perfect excuse to do something other than getting out the weed whacker and attacking some of the jungle out back. I’ve been promising myself I’d do that for the past couple of weeks. But I’m a big believer in the maxim: Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can ignore indefinitely.

    I have spent decades honing the fine craft of procrastination and was recently diagnosed as having ADOLAB. That’s Attention Deficit OH LOOK, a bunny!

    I remember my first internet experience with links. It instantly took me back to the days when I was impaling myself upon a free lance and spending days at the library flicking through those wonderful index cards living in those big oak cabinets. As they flew under my fingers seeking some specific fact something would catch my eye and I’d be off to another of those long drawers to chase some other thread having nothing to do with my original search. Now the electronic medium has made that so much easier. Isn’t technology great?

    Oldsalt,

    I started to reply to you last night, but got distracted by ADOLAB, and…. Well….

    I do love your maxim. My ability to ignore certain things is truly breathtaking. Dust, for example. I’m no fan of clutter, but I’m apparently incapable of seeing dust. Your jungle, being a literal jungle, might eventually demand some attention, rather than just lying there.

    I don’t care what any of these modern sorts say – there was nothing like the experience of spending days in the library, working through the card catalogue and reading in the stacks. I’ll absolutely agree that the electronic medium has made it easier, not to mention faster. But there still are things that can’t be found online, especially in the realm of historical and geneological records.

    I got a new library card last year – hadn’t had one for about a decade, I’m sorry to say, even though I kept intending to make the move. Anyway, when I walked into our library, looked around and didn’t see anything but computers, I must have had quite a look on my face. One of the desk attendants saw it and asked if she could help me. I blurted out, “Where’s the card catalogue?” You should have seen the look on her face!

    Linda

  9. That certainly is a timely bumper sticker.

    You know I’ve been ‘talking’ about solitude, like last year’s post ‘No Texting for Lent and the End of Solitude”… and several other ones after that. And you’re right to mention texting, Twitter, chat and forums, social networking… they can surely be quite a distraction. But for me, I don’t Tweet, not on FB, and seldom text or chat. The major obstacle for me to actually writing is… yes, Blogging!

    I found blogging has taken up so much of my time that I haven’t much left to do some ‘real’ writing. The screenplay remains half done, the same as a year ago. And you must know, link after link, one can get lost in the Blogosphere and be happy with that. Unless they include blogging as a legit occupation one day, I think I’ll still see it as some kind of ‘guilty pleasure’.

    BTW, considering what you said in your first few paragraphs, I’m much indebted indeed. :)

    Arti,

    I thought about you when a local mega-church held a “cyber-fast” day recently. The pastor asked the congregants to refrain from all of it – texting, tweeting, facebooking, etc – for 24 hours, simply as a way of highlighting how much such activities have become a part of life. From the media response, you would have thought he’d counseled everyone to chop of their dominant hand. It was on every news broadcast for three or four days – just amazing, and certainly a proving of the good reverend’s point.

    I’m grinning because pasted on my desk, just over there on the left where I can see it, is a sticky note with my three New Year’s resolutions. Number One? “Less Blogging, More Writing”. In my case, that means less time just chit-chatting, especially since the other site I visit regularly is more a chat room than a blog site and since the “real” writing I do ends up here for now.

    But your point still applies. Somehow, even when I only was designing my WordPress page and hadn’t yet published a thing, I’d already made a distinction: I didn’t want to “blog”. I wanted to use a blog platform for writing. It may be a fine distinction, but a distinction it is, and it’s meant that some of the pieces I’ve published here have been able to move more of less directly to publication in magazines.

    Maybe, in the end, we’re the ones who will transform blogging into a legit occupation. As I like to tell folks who suggest I ought to “really publish” one day, that button I hit to send my latest flying off into cyber-space is designated by the word “publish”.

    And don’t forget the words of the Teacher. To everything there is a season, and a time for everything under the sun – a time to say “the heck with traffiic” and stay off the roads, and a time to say “I’m hitting those freeways, no matter what!” ;-)

    Linda

  10. Linda,

    New byway regarding the bumper stickers. Perhaps they evolved from the rally emblems that were often attached to the early motorcars? I may have to make time to follow that path later today.

    Note to Karen – the SB stickers and (around here) OBX stickers I believe evolved from early versions of ‘local’ parking permit stickers. Now they seem to be the equivalent of “I visited the …….” bumper stickers. Almost as if we post air and rail travelogues on our vehicles instead of on our luggage.

    Lee,

    I had a vague memory of those oval stickers being European in origin, and it seems that’s so. Initially, they were born of a UN mandate and were meant to indicate a vehicle’s point of origin. There’s a bit about it here. Eventually they jumped the Atlantic, and the American merchandisers got ahold of them. Now, they serve as (ahem) a “bold and elegant means to express one’s preference” for about anything. One of my favorites is the black and white oval that simply says, “WOOF”.

    This is the sort of thing that’s fun to play with while I work. If I were to have one of those ovals, what would it say? I’ve already imagined one for you that proudly declares, RETRO.

    Linda

  11. Yikes, I feel betwixt and between commenting here (yet I must!) because I fully confess to getting caught up in the blogworld, reading and commenting. And to having my head turned by email and IM and e-news.

    Writing a blog is a separate thing. It IS writing, so I am safe there. It is focused, though sometimes I do a shoddy job of it and experience significant writer’s remorse. Anyway, I have the constant need to focus and yet for the kinds of writing I do, it’s important to be connected as well. There’s the rub. Aarrrgggh, some days finding a happy medium or balance is difficult, sometimes impossible. (It’s all about location. You cannot write in our living room. Too much always going on in there.)

    I agree with you so wholeheartedly on so many things here and feel rushed to join you in a “me, too! me, too!” and yet that is even more proof of the overall distraction (albeit an intelligent and compelling one) that the world offers when I sit down to write. I absolutely must read you and Jeanie and Jeannine and Becca and so many others who have become “virtually” important and dear.

    But then, have there not always been distractions of one sort or another? Before computers, games of all sorts. TV, of course. Or, sports, ones in which one actually participated (croquet, tennis, etc.) I’m not offering great examples here, but we know there have always been distractions.

    And good on ya’ for getting off Facebook. I have to laugh at the Twitter thing, but at least we can all pick and choose what works for us.

    But yes, for writers, artists, poets, dancers, etc., there’s nothing for it but to hush up and actually get down (or up) to practicing one’s art.

    Oh, wait – true confession. I do love books about writing, it’s something akin to those who love self-help books, or knitting books or one-minute manager stuff.

    But the writing? Yup, there’s the rub. There’s the thing.

    Oh,

    It’s absolutely true – there always have been competitors for time and attention. It seems to me that whether they become distractions depends on our response. There’s not a thing wrong with having coffee with neighbors, or chit-chatting online, or watching tv or planting a garden or playing tennis – unless and until those things begin to prevent us from doing other things we also want – or need – to do.

    For that matter, there’s not a thing wrong with books about writing. I have a few that I love, especially Dillard’s “The Writing Life”, where I found my own rather strange method of writing perfectly described. But no one ever will convince me we learn to write by any means other than writing, no matter how appealing the book or workshop or collegial group. There’s an absolutely stellar joke about writing in Lawrence Durrell’s “Alexandria Quartet” I’ll write about someday. I’ve never heard anyone else mention it, and I didn’t “get it” until last year, despite dozens of reads. It’s just Durrell’s more elegant way of saying, “Shut up and write”.

    As for that location thing – when I first started trying to write I longed for days at the hill country cabin or at the shore. They were perfect places for reading, writing and reflection because of the silence and the simplicity of life. One day I woke up and thought – why not create a similar environment for myself right here at home? It’s been a process, but it’s working amazingly well. One by one the distractions disappear – maybe some day there won’t be anything left but a Cheshire Cat grin hanging about around the computer ;-)

    Linda

  12. I’d never seen the Goethe quote, but it says — perfectly and in five words — what I’ve been trying to explain for years. If I expend energy talking about what I’m doing, I have less energy for the actual doing. In the case of writing, this seems to be especially true, because writing is an attempt to communicate ideas from one mind to another. If I accomplish the communication through speech, where’s the motivation to attempt the more difficult medium of writing?

    As far as all of the other distractions, technology saves us so much time, and then snatches it right back. But as you’re demonstrating in your own life, much of that comes down to decisions. (I can hear some of your acquaintances from here: “No television? Really?”)

    bronxboy,

    I went through three titles for this piece and one was “Goethe’s Five-Word Writing Workshop”. It could serve that purpose wonderfully well. Just in this comment section enough issues have been raised to fill a week-long session.

    I do think with some kinds of writing the gulf between “talk” and “creation” is even wider. Expository writing certainly is the communication of ideas, but other writing is meant to create worlds where the reader can dwell for a time. I’m wondering if the old and valuable distinction between facts and truth doesn’t come into play here. Conveying the facts about something is one thing – telling the truth of something is quite another. I always remember Faulkner’s wonderful observation: “Facts and truth really don’t have much to do with each other”. It’s a fact you won’t find Yoknapatawpha County on Google Earth, but that doesn’t mean what happened there isn’t true. It just takes a different kind of telling.

    You think the missing tv’s a scandal and an offense? Try telling someone you’re skipping the dinner party because you’d rather stay home and write. :-)

    Linda

  13. I just read your blog for the umpteenth time, along with the wonderful comments and your responses. Each time I read, I end up going off in a different direction – Graham, Burma Shave, bumper stickers. I also find that I think about what you’ve written (or what I’ve thought in response) from different perspectives, so it’s almost like a new blog entry each time!

    Wasn’t it Nanette who referred to computers as “persnickety timesuckers”? Tell me about it!

    NumberWise,

    Good Grief! How in the world could I have forgotten that? And the exact phrase is “infernal persnickety timesuckers”. I told the story of it in an early post – Purity of Prose is to Write One Thing. And yes, it was Nanette. I need to dig that out of the old snippets envelope and re-post it for a while! Well, and I need to remind her of it, too.

    Isn’t it fun to see how the comments differ from one another? When I see such variety, I always think of my English lit teacher, who demanded we tell her what each poem or story “meant”. Strange that if our understanding didn’t match hers, it was “wrong”.

    I’d rather approach a poem or story like a Rorschach than that way. Maybe in the end that’s what writing is – just a bunch of folks giving life a good looking-over and saying, “This is how I see it, and this is what I think it means”.

    Linda

  14. Hi Linda,
    I finally made it here to read your new story and I love it. Bumper stickers. I love reading them and used to put them on my vehicle but my husband is a “car person” and he thinks it is a “sin” to put a bumper sticker on a vehicle, hence I am not allowed to “trash up” our vehicles with bumper stickers anymore. Plus he thinks if you express an opinion that someone disagrees with they will scratch up your vehicle in protest..and here in SE Fla it is probably true.

    Anyway, what a great read and so fitting. Yes, I can get a cup of coffee on my day off and go to the computer to “check the weather” then “check my blog quickly”, then see a few friends’ blogs to stop by.. next thing I know it is 3 hours later and I have not gotten anything done. Someone above said FB does not take the time WU does, that goes for me also. I can go thru FB fairly quickly when I get a chance but my friends on WU I love to really read!

    And I must try to find more time to paint…and I am getting better and better but not there yet… still get distracted easily. I try to paint a little on Sundays and I do get in about 2 1/2 hrs of “paint time” when I go to class on Monday evening… But I must learn to find more time. Well, I have rambled on once again.

    I loved your story!!!
    Patti

    Patti,

    Of course, you have a lot of distractions that aren’t really “distractions” at all – the grandkids, especially. Family time is so important, and it does take away from other things. But so does work, and community involvement like the March of Dimes, and on and on. When I count up my work hours and the time it takes to care for mom – and a little sleep, just for the fun of it! – it doesn’t leave many discretionary hours. I’d love to do more reading, too, but I’d probably have to substitute that for time spent with the cat, and I’m not sure I have the courage to do that. I’ve already given up dusting on a regular basis. ;-)

    Since I’ve never painted, I don’t know how much of a hassle it is to “get ready to paint”. All I have to do is sit down at the computer in order to write, so it’s easy to tuck in an hour here or there. If you have to get things out and clean things up every time, that’s a different situation. But I know that getting in the habit of working every day has really helped me. Even if I have a whole day to devote to writing, I just can’t stay focused that long.

    Just think – in another month we won’t have to worry about hurricanes. That should give us a little extra time for ourselves!

    Linda

  15. Great post and great comments – you really do get the best comments Linda, they’re always interesting.

    Even last year, I used to have more time, I don’t know what’s happening but the days and weeks are shrinking. When Gavin had the job in Abu Dhabi, and the money was paid in every month, I could totally indulge myself. Now, we have to scrabble for every buck, and I’m always busy. Maybe rich people have more time? That’s the real luxury.

    Jeannine,

    I get great comments because I have great readers! Nothing more to say about that!

    I know exactly what you’re talking about, re: time shrinkage. And it’s not just a matter of being poorly organized or frittering away the hours. I’m far more organized than I was 20 years ago, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. I suppose part of it is that there’s so much more I want to do now – and I feel my allotted time slipping away – just a bit.

    Sometimes I wonder if feeling short-changed in the time department isn’t related to our increasing sensitivity to the mystery of the world as we age. I can remember being “bored” in my youth – I still hear people talk about being bored. Today, I just can’t imagine such a thing. Annie Dillard gets it right, I think:

    There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage. I won’t have it.

    The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.

    Of course, there’s a time for raising hay or tomatoes, especially if you can make a good profit on them. ;-) But do the rich have more time? No, certainly not. They often have the freedom to use their time differently, but from what I’ve seen, they don’t always enjoy their lives any more than the rest of us.

    Linda

  16. Writers write…thank you for the reminder. Frequently, I find myself going in circles and doing anything to avoid actually writing. I can only use that line “It’s research” so many times before even I know I’m procrastinating without just cause.

    Lovely blog. Thank you for sharing.

    Kate,

    Speaking of distraction – your comment sent me off last night on a search for a Leon Hale column I should have bookmarked when I first read it. Leon’s a columnist/blogger for the Houston Chronicle, and has been for at least 25 years. Maybe more. He once wrote an absolute classic on trying to write a column, a perfect description of a writer going in circles while knowing the deadline looms.

    Unfortunately, the search function for his blog’s been disabled temporarily. If I can find it, I’ll save it and get it to you. He talks in it about the old “I’m really doing research” line we all use – and does it in a way that’s screamingly funny!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, and for leaving a comment. You’re welcome any time!

    Linda

  17. Interesting read as alway, and timely in that I keep staring at a blank page and wandering off to do something else. Meanwhile, as you well know, that page awaits, patiently and unhesitant, calling to me with that still, small voice. So write I must.

    But first, a pot of coffee, the lawn to mow, things to unpack after our trip, and most of all, photos to process. You’ll be proud to know I’ve skimmed Facebook and passed on, giving it at best about 45 seconds. Life is too short to squander with trivialities.

    Tom,

    See my comment to Kate, above, about Leon Hale. If I can find that column I’ll pass it on to you, as well – it’s such pleasure to find someone else describing one of life’s absolute realities so beautifully.

    I did have to smile to see you including photo processing in your list with the coffee and lawn. What might be a distraction from writing is also “the heart of the matter” for you. Every picture tells a story, as they say, and that processing is part of helping your photos tell their story. As far as your fans are concerned, every moment spent in photo-distraction is all to the good.

    As for FB… I got an interesting email from a friendly acquaintance the other day, fussing because she couldn’t find me there. When I explained to her she couldn’t find me because I wasn’t there, she was nearly apoplectic. “Good grief!” says she. “How can you exist?” It’s a good question, which I’ll thing about, some day.

    Linda

  18. Well, let me just say that this is kicking in lots of feelings, emotions, contradictions. It’s Sunday — and yes, I know exactly what you mean about the Internet eating your lunch, because when I fall in, it’s hard to get out. I don’t even read THAT many blogs that change daily. Last time I looked at anyone was last Monday till today. (That will probably all change when I get off dial-up at home.)

    Ah, and why DON’T you get high-speed, Jeanie? Might help you with working at home (no doubt) and make it so you don’t have to stay after work to blog (absolutely).

    But I feel it is the time sink — Now when I come home, it takes such awhile to load up blogs, I can only checkone, two, maybe three or four if I have a lot of time. And I can write without it, so long as I upload photos at home. And I fear falling into that trap when there is so much at home to deal with.

    The art — so easy to walk away from when it’s dark in the studio, when there are other things to do. The reading — well, let’s just say that I read as often as I can, but it’s never enough, especially after summer is over and those weekends become more involved. Oh, yes, those little things like the yard and the house.

    I often think I have Daily Life ADD. I used to think it was Creative ADD — knitting one day, collage the next. But I find I houseclean that way — start in the kitchen, carry things to the bedroom, which has stuff on the dresser that needs to be cleaned off and put away, and golly! Those drawers are getting full. Better throw some stuff into the pile for goodwill. And NOTHING gets done. My weekend list is cut down bushes in the yard, get the basement ready for some demolition work (reinstallation of a sump pump trough — and you don’t want to know about yesterday and the day before tossing stuff that got wet…), finish tags for a swap, start working hard on art for a November show, do my walk/run for at least 45 minutes… that’s just today.

    And so what am I doing? Reading your blog and writing a long and rambling comment, which may be the only writing I get in all day!

    Sometimes a post hits a chord, and I think the one this did is to turn off my ‘puter and do at least one of those things in full NOW!

    jeanie,

    As the old saying goes, I’m laughing with you and not at you. Daily Life ADD is a terrible problem for me, made more complicated by the way weather plays into my work schedule. When the weather’s clear and settled and I can simply get up, go to work and then come home at the end of the day, it’s not so bad. But when there’s rain roaming around, for example, and I have to bounce in and out of the house, or run errands, or whatever, it becomes complicated and not very productive.

    Focus is an issue, of course. It’s so hard to walk past that dresser top and drawers without getting sucked in. As crazy as it sounds, I once heard an organizational guru tell a woman with a truly disastrous house that the trick was to do one square yard at a time. Literally. She was to mark off a section of room 36″x36″, and deal with whatever was there. She couldn’t do anything else until that piece of her home was cleared up. Even with something like vacuuming, she wasn’t to leave those boundaries. Focus was the point of course, and eventually it began to work for her.

    And aren’t there always the emergencies? Don’t I remember some flooding a few months back, as well? I suppose that could explain those terrible words: “reinstallation” and “sump pump”. I lived in the land of basements long enough to quiver when I hear something like that.

    I do know that for me, part of the solution is simply not attempting so much. I’m part of the generation of women who were enticed by the promise of “You can have it all”, but we’re also the generation that had to learn, “You can have it all, but you can’t have it all at the same time”. My discretionary hours are so few I’m having to really struggle to find new and creative ways just to fit in the things I truly want to do – not to mention the things I think I’d like to do!

    So on we go. I hope you got your prep work done yesterday, and had a relaxing evening. I’ll not be seeing you on Facebook any longer, but I will be coming by to see Gypsy and Chopsticks and String. Some things just have to fit in!

    Linda

  19. I can sure relate to reading more than doing, as I am right now this minute, not painting, but surfing, reading, clicking and just plain not going anywhere fast. I guess it’s my down time.

    You are my first suscribe to see how this works. I wish word press had google friend follower.

    peace n abundance,
    CheyAnne
    http://cheyannesexton.etsy.com

    Hi, CheyAnne,

    How nice of you to stop by! I was thinking of you the other day, wondering if you’re seeing the change of seasons yet – meaning cooler temperatures. That’s what I’m most interested in right now!

    Mom and I were talking last night about what people used to do to “waste time” before there was an internet. I’d forgotten about the little ritual called “having coffee”. It’s just what women did, back in the day. The kids would go to school, the husbands would go to work, and neighbors would go from one house to another to chat, drink coffee and swap recipes or whatever. I guess we do much the same thing, except we have to make our own coffee! Her point was that distractions always have been there to encourage “not going anywhere fast”, but because the internet’s just “there”, it’s much more insidious.

    Thanks for subscribing! I hope the system works well. It’s been hard for me to devise a really convenient system for myself.

    Linda

  20. I arrived home (and checked your blog) last night from eight days away from the internet. To be truthful I did check email once and looked up how to kill an octopus in those eight.

    We were visiting a friend who keeps a Canadian Coast Guard lighthouse on the “Inside Passage” so we were regularly photographed from both Alaskan and B.C. ferries. I “spent a long time watching” the “boats go by” and when there was no traffic I went on watching.
    Yes, I am an addictive person (there were two laptops available). I figured I could get back here and get my fix soon enough.

    Meantime the silence of a calm channel with an Humpback breathing a mile away occasionally and a couple of Bald Eagles muttering away above was punctuated with Raven, Gull and Crow language.

    I thought about many things, now and then: what I would submit to your blog. Some great lines were there – trust me. Best Bumper sticker I saw was on the passenger’s dash board: “Gas, Grass or Ass. Nobody Rides for Free!”

    Ken,

    I’m just now getting caught up with replying to a few comments, and I’ve been anxious to get here – you’ve obviously had a wonderful time, and I’m just the teensiest bit envious. I’ve always thought lighthouse keeper would be a wonderful occupation. People say, “But you’d be so isolated!” And I respond, “Your point is…?”

    And you drove me back to Cohen again – unless I’m imagining things, those phrases about watching and boats are from his “Suzanne”. Do you know that my number one post for visits is the one I wrote about the real Suzanne? I get hits on it every, single day. Just amazing.

    I love that bumper sticker. Just love it. That’s pure Austin, for sure. I’d not mind one bit sticking it on the economic engine of this country, but that’s another issue entirely ;-)

    Glad your trip was so good – thanks for stopping by.

    Linda

  21. My blog list has grown and I can’t find the time to visit all of them. I let Facebook go. I just couldn’t do it. It isn’t for me.

    We enjoyed our recent trip to the Outer Banks so much. The walks were restorative. I’m learning that allowing the mind to be still is a very good thing.

    Oh, and it is funny how bumper stickers and vanity plates are popular in some locations and not so much in others.
    Bella

    Bella,

    I don’t know how it is for you, but I’ve discovered the problem with blog-reading isn’t just the blogs themselves, but what they lead to. I wish I was enough of a cartoonist to draw the Inveterate Link-Hopper. I think it’s like a leaf-hopper, only bigger. And it’s an omnivore.

    I will bet you a plate of good scallops right now that given a bit of time FB is going to go the way of MySpace. I know, I know – there are forums and symposia and executive panels all entranced with it, but one of these days folks are going to discover the only people making money because of it are the advertisers and the scammers. Then: POOF!

    It’ll be interesting to see what shows up next. ;-)

    Linda

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