December 30, 2016

Year Off

I have spent the entirety of 2016 posting an extended piece of writing here on Facebook. That’s 366 long(ish) posts! The response from you, dear reader, has been inspiring to say the least. Many of you have sent me private messages telling me how much you appreciate the various ideas I shared. As a writer, it has been great to build such a consistent habit and a regular responsive audience. I appreciate your connection and engagement very much.

Even before this latest daily writing project, I have been living my life pretty openly on the internet for years. Posting every thought, every photo, every idea. For the most part it has been great. Social media has afforded me many opportunities, countless friendships and access to people and ideas that are invaluable.

Although I have I loved and still appreciate social media for nearly a decade, there are aspects of it that I am tired of. Checking in and interacting on feeds can feel like a burden at times. Years ago when blogs were new and the idea of everyone having a voice on the internet felt like such a democratic revelation, but now I can’t imagine anything more grotesque than a comment section on any website. The latest election cycle has made me think about how I access news, ideas and how I engage with people- both strangers and friends.

I have been thinking deeply about echo chambers, trolls and the constant burden of keeping up and sharing.

  • Am I really connecting with people and ideas on the level that I want? 
  • Is my constant need for approval and validation really helping my writing? 
  • Am I writing for you or for me or for the sake of cracking open an idea? 
  • What do I gain from social media?
  • What do I offer? 

As a result of all this thinking, I have decided to spend 2017 offline. It will called The Year Off.

On January 2nd I will be closing this Facebook account and putting my Twitter account on private lock down hibernation. I will not use either until January 1st 2018.

I want to use my time to live more deliberately. I want to create art more deliberately. I want to journal again and draw and glue things on paper and cook and mediate and learn songs and work on several projects that have been in limbo- I have a memoir stuck at 30k+ words. I have a YA novel mired in a state of abandonment. I will continue to write daily, but this time the writing will be written in private and left to stew. I hope to publish something at the start of 2018. I will use some of the writing from this past year- Year On with the writing I will do in Year Off. I want to explore how I will change and grow as a writer and an artist offline.

I will miss you all and want to engage with you more deliberately as well. So I have created a spreadsheet to stay in touch. I hope to write you emails and letters and create art for you, so if you want to stay connected please add your name to the list. I promise not to share your info with anyone. I have create several degrees of connection for you: email, texts/phone calls, and/or hand written letters and packages. I would love to hear from you too, should you want to share photos or lifetime news events. or maybe you just want to share something small. I hope to build more personal relationships. I want to see how we interact beyond teh scroll and like. I appreciate and love your photos, and insights into your lives, but I want to see what it feels like to be more autistically connected. I hope you come join me in life beyond the feed.

I am very excited about this project. For those of you paying attention to the daily lyrics from The Wall, you will see that I have been feeling a bit trapped by these public spaces. It has felt like living behind a wall and I am ready to crawl out and see what I can rebuild.

In terms of political action, I want to move beyond simply reacting to daily news and find better ways to engage with the process in a more productive way. I will not randomly read Trump’s bullshit, and wine and whine and complain. I hope to find a balanced range of news sources to watch. I hope to build a sustainable course of political action, which may include joining an in-person democratic abroad group here in Singapore. I want to explore sustainable consistent political action. Trump resistance for me has to be more than posting his latest gaff.

I will continue to use Flickr as a way to share photo of our day lives. I know my family love to see the girls growing up, so if you are interesting in staying in touch via photos head over to Flickr. They have a great mobile app as well. I will occasionally update random projects and thoughts to Youtube, so maybe a subscription would be a good idea, but I will not publish any blog posts on either of my blogs. None of my writing for this year will be pubic. Who knows? I might be able to create material that might suit a book of some kind.

It feels like we are breaking up and I am giving you the it’s not you it’s me speech, but really I so value your input into my life and I hope that you will fill in the form so that I can engage with you in a more personal and authentic way.

Have a great new year everyone! I for one am so looking forward to the coming changes.

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