I thought about starting this post with an apology for being quiet around here, but the truth is that things have been loud outside of my computer and I’m not sorry. As a matter of fact, I think I’ve told Meggie to please be quiet about ten times today. Like many of you, I love January because of the bright, clean newness of it. My calendar is clear and tidy, my year lies ahead like an open road and even the cold air feels pure when I breathe it in. Sadly, our noisy and lovable new sister flies away this Saturday. Back to the orphanage and the boarding school with all of the miles and oceans and silence between us. Back to freezing temperatures and only thirty minutes of sunlight a day. Back to loneliness. We’ll miss her very much.
My heart has been brimming with plans for a wonderful twenty-fourteen, but I am putting most of those things off until after the eleventh. Once Meggie is gone, we’ll need to busy ourselves with all the things we didn’t get done while she was here and prepare for her permanent placement here. I’m really hoping she’s home by the time we usually take our trip to Galveston Island. Still, despite my assurance that the first eleven days of January should be spent mostly cuddling with Meggie and listening to her adorable accent, I am feeling antsy and behind. I’m still working on reading books I started last year while my big reading list for this year sits idle. I’m still not sure which children’s book I should be working on or who is going to illustrate them. Should I be signing up for any conferences this year? Planning to go and visit any friends? Applying for jobs?
There I go again, cluttering up my calendar and throwing all sorts of obstacles on that open road. I’m trying to remember to breathe and be present and most of all, not to worry. There are a billion good things I could try to do this year, but I’m only capable of really doing one thing at a time. I know I’ll end up panicked and unhappy if I try to do too much, especially too many new things.
I did apply for one job last week and I did start collecting illustration lessons and inspiration on Pinterest and I did email a local artist about possibly teaching a beginners water color class. I did find out when the next welcome class for Bible Study Fellowship is held and I did put that on my calendar, but for now, that’s quite enough.
If I told you that I’ve been thinking a lot about how loud and fast the world has become, I know I’d sound like a broken record. I am honestly seeing people grow up for the first time and it kind of gives me the chills. I just watched some old videos of when Willin and Jubilee were toddlers. The thing is, I didn’t realize they were toddlers so much at the time. They were just Willin and Jubilee, my brother and sister. And now I hardly recognize them, hardly remember their accents or what their skin felt like. They’re tall, lanky things now who rarely need my help with anything and I wonder if time will have picked up even more speed when the next ten years have passed.
I spend a lot of time on the internet (hello, here I am!) and I’ve been convicted lately for the billionth time that it’s really too much. And yet I have trouble knowing how to separate myself from it. I log into Facebook and a visual of a strainer pops into my head. If only I could log in and receive all the benefits of social media (inspiration, education, interaction, friendships, professional connections, entertainment,) without drinking in all of the negative effects (conflict, controversy, anger, distraction, mental pollution, jealousy, waste.) I mean, I suppose I wish I could take this strainer with me throughout all of my life, but it feels like the internet is a concentrated version of the rest of the world.
In “real life” I live in an upstairs room in a big old house on six acres of Texas land. I surround myself with people I love, things I enjoy and the work set before me. I’m guessing I’ve spent 90% of my time at home over the Christmas break and will spend at least 75% of my time here during this next semester (depending, of course, on whether or not I get a job.) On the internet, however, this blog is my upstairs bedroom. Facebook is like a mall/battleground/locker room/vegas with little alcoves cut out where friends are huddled with their coffee and tea and kind words and winky faces that tell me they’re being sarcastic/speaking my language. When I log out, I’m both full and empty. Sometimes I actually slam my laptop shut and make myself take deep breaths. And then I’m back. Five minutes later.
It’s like a bag of chips. You eat until you’re full. And then you finish the bag because, “Wait-what just happened?!” And it was tasty, but now you feel like a cow about to give birth and you’re a little bit furious with yourself.
Putting the junk food metaphor aside, I don’t want to give up the internet. It is probably my favorite tool in the world. At risk of sounding really sad and creepy, I have a lot of friends on Facebook who I only know online, only communicate with on social media and feel like I am actually close to. Through this blog and the other blogs I contribute to, through conferences and writer’s groups, the internet has revolutionized the life of this solitary scribbler. I don’t want to throw all that away because I have an addiction problem and trouble saying no to futile internet arguments. As a matter of fact, I can’t imagine cutting off some of those relationships forever. That’s just not happening.
So what do I do? How do I apply a strainer to the internet? All I know is it’s probably going to break every rule for modern-day authors. I’m not going to be the most popular person on Twitter or have a post go viral any time soon. As a matter of fact, I might become a total flop. “Remember that girl with the fake name? What was it, Waverly? I really thought she was going places. #whatevs.”
But, I’m becoming more okay with being a “flop” in the eyes of the world. The more I learn about traditional publishing, the less appealing it becomes. I have not the means or desire to be Beth Moore. The idea of millions of people reading my Tweets makes me feel nauseated. Deadlines have the potential to send me to the psychiatric hospital down the road (and I’m only slightly kidding.)
Woah. What is the post even about? I’m not sure, but I hope you enjoyed rambling along with me. I want to write another post soon giving a real-deal update on my family and then another post about how Jesus handled fans and friends. And then eight million more posts because I really love blogging. See you on Twitter! But maybe less than usual? Email me for my snail mail addy. :)