#bloginstead Day 1: What is interesting so far?

I was up early (child, dog, job), and that first groggy waking moment had a crisp edge of curiousity on it because TODAY is Day 1 of our #bloginstead challenge. I have the WordPress app, so I peeked at the notifications after breakfast. Sure enough – there you were! I saw posts from friends, and friends commenting on posts from friends. I love this!

Relief

Leaping off a social norm is always interesting, and I expect many moments of insight during #bloginstead. The first? It’s striking that the primary expressed emotion among the group is RELIEF. Blogging is slower than Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, and it’s deeper. And at least for now, it’s beautifully free of the death spiral of insanity we see daily online. I know not every blogger is sane, but the group intentionally communing for #bloginstead? All quite sane. Lovely. Articulate. Interesting.

Mechanics

The second thing that struck me was my own awkwardness at getting around to see all of the participating blogs. It’s been a while since I did this, and the participants are on several different platforms. Makes me realize how I’ve adapted to the one-finger scroll on social. That awkward feeling is just the brain stretch of releasing one habit and looking to build another. No problem.

Food for Thoughts

Yes, that was a typo at first – “thoughts” – but then I left it because it fits. Already, just a few hours into #bloginstead, the experience itself and the posts and comments have spurred a host of ideas, questions, introspections, speculations. Perhaps that’s the natural result of any step outside routine. Or it could be that this platform – which was intended to help you WRITE – is naturally more conducive to THOUGHT than the frenetic anxiety scroll in which we usually indulge. It’s too soon to draw conclusions, so I’m planning to enjoy the wondering.

Welcome to #bloginstead!

Remember that scene in Mary Poppins (the ORIGINAL Mary Poppins) where the horses leap off the merry-go-round and ride away cross country?

That’s what we’re doing here. I’m collecting as many friends with blogs as will come off the merry-go-round with me, and we’re all going to communicate via our blogs INSTEAD of via Facebook for 3 days.

For 3 days, we’ll post on our blogs the way we’d post on social – informal, chatty, what’s up at the moment, stream of consciousness, whatever it is that constitutes a conversation for you at the time. Everyone in the group will follow everyone in the group, and we’ll visit by reading and commenting on each other’s posts. Anyone who doesn’t have a blog but wants to join in commenting is very welcome. After 3 days, we decide what, if anything, we’ve discovered.

#bloginstead #3daysinthewilds

Want to join in? Follow this blog. I’ll be posting a list of participating blogs later today, with links where you can go to follow them.

UPDATE: We got to the end of the 3 days, and nobody wants to stop. So nobody is stopping. Want to join? Here’s a list of people to follow to get started, and please let me know if you’d like to be added to the list.

Sympathy Shaming

Black and white photo of white hands with black sand on them

Warning: I am getting up on my tree stump for a minute to voice an opinion.

People – you aren’t actually helping anyone when you try to shame others on the internet for not showing enough concern over a death or disaster. Any death or disaster. “You prayed for X but not for Y” is not helpful. Do you know why? Perhaps you haven’t seen the articles that are starting to appear about how that kind of behavior punishes expressions of sympathy and is beginning to foster corporate numbness among us. If you try to show kindness on the internet, someone will tell you that it isn’t enough. You should have shown kindness in dozens of other instances too. Burn out happens quickly – with the disaster and with the criticizers who want to control your response to it. Continue reading

Fiction Is Like Carrot Soup

Carrots

“So, is this autobiographical?”

“I think this character is my aunt.”

“Was it that boy you dated senior year?”

Each time I write a book, its publication brings on a flurry of questions. The questions happen because the books are fictional, and I’m beginning to think there’s something about fiction that doesn’t make sense to us as human beings.
Continue reading

Losing My Voice

Tangle of computer cords

Facebook locked me out of my account this week. And let me in. And locked me out. I built a second account, and Facebook locked that too. It said it was an impersonation. No, it was me. Well, then I must be impersonating myself. Is that even a thing?

This went on for several days, some times hour by hour. Before long, Facebook and I had thoroughly confused each other. Fortunately, it ended well. Nobody was impersonating anyone. The malware at the root of this evil is gone. The account is unlocked.

And then, I caught a cold and lost my voice. Continue reading