Patton Oswalt is taking a self-imposed ‘summer’, in a recent post on his Facebook page (which I’ve copied in its entirety below) Oswalt discusses something I have been struggling with myself; the need to find a balance between ‘real life’ and social media. When I started this blog over a year ago I was so excited and became very entrenched in all things social media, I was constantly on twitter etc. to the point where I may have lost sight of my real life and what was truly important.
At the beginning of this year I reached a turning point where I no longer felt the same enjoyment I once did for my social media life. I no longer check twitter constantly, have very rarely tweeted in fact, compared to my activity of a year ago. In the same way Oswalt has chosen to have his ‘summer’ I suppose I’m choosing to be less present virtually and more active in reality.
The novelty and gloss of social media has now worn off and I’m sure I’m not the first person to be unsettled by the very self-involved/self-important reality of most social media interactions. This is not to say I’m completely walking away from my ‘web life’, I’m so very grateful for the opportunities it has given me. Without this blog I would never have turned some of my twitter followers into very real friends. Admittedly I still get a thrill seeing the little ‘follows you’ icon beside some followers names and really the experiences I’ve had this past year have been truly surreal. But the fact remains that a lot of the time lately I’ve met this blog with dread, and have picked up some very bad habits. At one point I was staying up late or would check twitter in the middle of the night, case in point I started writing this post at 2AM!
I shouldn’t feel stressed when my followers go down, or worry that this blog isn’t getting enough views, this was meant to be an outlet for my enjoyment, and a place where hopefully people found entertainment. So I’m finding a way to still love it but on my terms.
Patton Oswalt writes:
“Summer is upon us, and I’ve got a bad case of The Spurts.
I’ve gone down an internet/Twitter/Facebook rabbit hole and I need to engineer a summer spent in nothing but humid, skin-to-air reality for myself. If I don’t, I feel like my psyche is going to suffer permanent slippage.
I’m going to try to keep this short. And this isn’t going to be a diatribe against the Internet or the information age or Twitter or anything like that. It’s going to be a gentle, winking diatribe against myself, and my ego and its appetites.
I was reading some — not all — but some of Camus’ THE REBEL. At an airport, waiting for a flight. And this line hits me like a ton of bricks:
“Tyrants conduct monologues above a million solitudes.”
I’ve become my own tyrant — Tweeting, and then responding to my own responses, and then fighting people who disagree with me. Constantly feeling like I have to have an instant take on things, instead of taking a breath, and getting as much information as I can about the world. Or simply listening to the people around me, and watching the world and picking up its hidden rhythms, which crouch underneath the micro and the macro. But I’ve lost sight of them. And it’s because of this — there’s a portal to a shadow planet in my right hand, the size of a deck of cards, and I can’t keep myself from peeling off one card after another, looking for a rare ace of sensation.
The Spurts: I’ve aggressively re-wired my own brain to live and die in a 140 character jungle. I’ve let my syntax become nothing more than a carnival barker’s ramp-up to a click-able link where I’m trying to sell something, or promote something, or share something I had no hand in making.
So — I’m engineering a summer. From today, June 1st, until Tuesday, September 2nd. Radio silent. No Twitter, no Facebook. There’ll be a few announcements here and on my Twitter feed — mostly for shows and some movies I’m about to appear in — but I scheduled these to drop weeks and months from now, without me having to do them on the day. The chairs are up on the tables, the floor’s been swept, and I’m locking up my tiny, personal online nightclub until the leaves turn brown. If Chili John’s in Burbank can thrive while still closing for the summer, I ought to do just fine.
I want to de-atrophy the muscles I once had. The ones I used to charge through books, sprint through films, amble pleasantly through a new music album or a human conversation. I’ve lost them — willingly, mind you. My fault. Got addicted to the empty endorphins of being online.
So I need to dry out, and remind myself of the deeper tides I used to be able to swim in — in pages, and celluloid, and sounds, and people.
Another writer I read some of, before nervously refreshing my Twitter “@” mentions or updating my e-mail Inbox, was Garret Keizer. An essay in Harper’s from 2010. Luckily, Keizer writes the kind of sentences that, even in the all-night casino floor of a world we live in now, can punch through the din like God’s gun. The line that stuck with me was this:
“For fear of becoming dinosaurs we are turned into sheep.”
I don’t want to be either. But whatever options are left? They’re on the other side of the silence bath I’m about to take.
Have a good, safe, fun summer. It’s upon us. Stay cool when it comes down.”
Writing can be both cathartic and daunting, over the past few months I’ve felt an increasing pressure to create interesting content for this page and continually felt that I was failing at providing. Sadly this has led to far less posts and procrastination. Last month this blog had it’s first anniversary, a milestone that I met with both pride and melancholy, looking back I’ve accomplished so much more than I had imagined for this blog. I’ve made friends, had amazing adventures, and it’s allowed me to enter back into the world of the living. I spent much of my adult years sitting on the sidelines of my own life, never willing to fully take the risk of being present, thanks to my blog and the wonderful experiences it’s brought to me it’s opened me up to an entire world I hadn’t thought existed.
So here’s to another year of madness, and movement, of making new friends and falling more in love with life. Happy Anniversary to my blog and thanks to everyone who’s made it memorable.
‘Tis the season of giving and here are some great gift suggestions if you’re looking for unique gift ideas. This year consider giving the gift of ‘Indie’ or independently made, I’m suggesting that in lieu of the more well-known or more sought after gifts there are some really great gems to be had if you know where to look.
My favorite site for all things independently made is Etsy, which has everything from clothes, crafts and so much more. One of my favorite Etsy store is Chattergold Studios, which features the beautiful photography from Seattle-based photographer Tricia.
Do you know a bookworm? Give the give of these amazing books from so authors I’ve been lucky enough to discover this year. My Heart is an Autumn Garage by Anne Theriault(The Belle Jar) is a heart-breakingly honest account of her battle with depression including her experience with hospitalization. S C Rhyne’s debut The Reporter and The Girl MINUS the Super Man! is (in the author’s own words) not a love story but tales the semi-autobiographical story of an interracial relationship in or modern dating world.
Is it a coincidence that Santa and Satan share all the same letters? Not if you want to give the gift of the Hellbound Trilogy by Tim Hawken including: Hellbound, I Am Satan and the just released finale Deicide.
Angela Kulig’s newest bookPigments of my Imagination(POMI) is a wonderful tale of romance, mixed with adventure and mystery. Savannah Stewart is an up-and-coming author who’s novel Moments of Reckoning should not be missed.
Diana Emuge‘s Seamless is the fictional tale of a women’s struggle against many issues especially within herself.
Not just for actors Anthony Meindl‘s book’s At Left Brain Turn Right and Alphabet Soup for Grown-Ups are informative, enlightening and best of all entertaining!
For the lighter side of things considering giving the gift of laughter courtesy of the hilarious guys from Superego their podcast is gift enough but you can also check out their album Mount Us More by The Journeymen(a fictional band they created).
Give the gift of independent film, consider donating to one of the many great films with crowdfund campaigns, including my personal favorite Thunder Road. There are still incentives available and what movie lover wouldn’t like the opportunity to go to a private screening of the film with the actors in attendance?
For the philanthropic, why not give the gift of a donation to charity or even just offer your time and volunteer? personal favorite of mine is the newly formed Pedal Against PTSD who aim to help suffers of PTSD through cycling as well as raise overall awareness of PTSD to the general public, and you can donate here. The Young family of Hamilton Ontario, has truly found the meaning of the season and are hosting a Boxing day party and have committed to providing a hearty meal and gifts for 50 people who would otherwise be alone on Christmas or unable to provide those things for themselves, anyone interested in helping can donate to them through PayPal firstname.lastname@example.org, your donations will go towards the food and gifts for these families.
I love having my picture taken, the problem is I inevitably hate how I look in pictures. Keeping that in mind I decided to bravely book a session with the Toronto photography studio Kissed by Light, I was immediately impressed by their professionalism and prompt communications. The owner and photographer, Lora Vertue was readily available to answer all my questions and easily put me at ease. I decided to opt for their full service package which included the use of their own stylist Nelly Tsyrlin and makeup artist Irene Sy.
I’ve always secretly wanted to be the star in a fashion photo shoot, and this was my opportunity to play pretend at being a model. Working with Nelly we came up with the concept for the shoot, Nelly was great at suggesting ideas and looks that really connected to the vision of the shoot. I wanted something classy but not overly fussy. We decided on looks inspired by the 1920’s and flapper style.
When I arrived for the shoot I met with Irene the makeup artist and she set to work on making me camera ready. Trust me when I say I don’t look like that everyday, Irene worked her magic to transform me into a 1920’s vision, I couldn’t stop looking at her work and wondering who was the reflection in the mirror.
While their specialty is boudoir shoots, we incorporated some fashion shots as well. Anyone who thinks modelling is easy think again, by the end of the shoot I was sore and tired but excited to see the results. Lora was great and not only creating a comfortable environment but also in giving me directions that were clear and easy for me to follow which helped her get the shots she needed.
After the shoot I returned to the studio to look over the edited shots and choose the ones I wanted to be made into a commemorative photo-book. This was one of the hardest parts! Lora had captured so many amazing images, I was in awe, I barely recognized myself. After much debate I chose my images and excitedly waited for finished products.
I had so much fun with Kissed By Light I would definitely do it again. If you get the opportunity to have a photo shoot like this don’t hesitate. And just in time for the holidays they are offering specials on their packages. For more on Kissed By Light check out their Blog, Facebook page.
Special thanks to Ameri-Anna Ozigis for all the wonderful behind-the-scenes footage.