I saw this image on facebook the other day and laughed:
I realized, some hours later, it was the first time in a very long time that anything on social media had made me laugh.
That’s a problem.
I wrote a post way back in 2009, when I first started using twitter, titled Creativity, Laughter and the Element of Surprise. It was about how unexpectedly and delightfully fun twitter was and how important the fun of play is to my creativity. In it, I wrote:
“So for now at least, Twitter has become my place to play. I’d forgotten how much I need that, how imperative playfulness is to imagination.”
Twitter stopped being fun or playful a long time ago. It has morphed into a place where information is shared– and that’s a good and helpful thing, as much of that information is about writing and publishing. But increasingly, it consists of information and opinion about world events and politics and civics. My feed is currently a stream of unrelenting rage and despair. For good reason.
Facebook isn’t quite as depressing and people do still post entertaining tidbits, but it has become something I almost dread, never knowing when I’ll read something that simply enrages me. Again, for good reason.
The thing is, feeling this rage is neither helpful nor productive. For me. It doesn’t change anything for the better. I’m already doing all I can, in my own small ways, to improve the world. Getting angrier and feeling more helpless every day doesn’t change that.
In fact, the constant onslaught of rage and despair is, slowly but surely, destroying my imagination and my creativity. Destroying me.
Am I being too sensitive? Probably. But I consider that sensitivity an asset. It’s certainly not something I can turn off and on at will.
I’ve tried cutting back, limiting my time on social media to small bites. It has been less than effective. So I’m stepping back, making a clean break. Taking a hiatus, if you will, for the month of July. Maybe August as well.
I need to focus exclusively on my offline life for a while. And on my writing. Because stories are one small way I can contribute, to provide a brief respite when those who struggle mightily take a much needed break to escape into fiction. Perhaps one of the stories that entertain will be mine. But that won’t happen if I’m too outraged to write, as I have been recently.
I’ll leave you on a positive note, with a few daughter-approved pictures of A Most Adorable Granddaughter.
Take care of yourselves while I’m away. Be strong and brave and thoughtful. Be kind if you are able, especially to yourself. And laugh, without reservation, every chance you get.