Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Long Vs. Short Form

It's hard to believe I have been away from my blog for nearly a year. I was surprised to learn that before January of this year I hadn't written a post for two years. In fact, since 2008 my postings became increasing sporadic.

I created a Facebook profile in 2009. Conversely, my postings there became very frequent: sometimes 4 or 5 status updates in a 24 hour period. I haunt my news feed looking through others' activities and updates. I post news articles, photos, you name it, and voraciously consume those posted by others. I confess, I have even tailored postings with likes and comments in mind.

This blog is as close to a journal that I have ever come. It allowed, and allows, me to flex my expository muscle, to reflect, and explore without regard to audience. I am able to delve deeply into whatever is on my mind, and in so doing purge, or at least expose some demons. I have a long list of blogs written by some seriously talented people. They were, and are, a source of inspiration. Their writings let me know that I am not alone in my search for answers and meaning. I see the same love of writing and clarity of thought I struggle to achieve. Some have gone fallow. Others continue on, as rich as ever. When I abandoned my writing, I also abandoned my reading.

Brevity is the hallmark of Facebook, Twitter, and similar platforms. Social networking sites are excellent vehicles for disseminating information quickly to a wide audience, whether it's family updates or world events: witness the Arab Spring and Hurricane Sandy coverage. Information traveled far and wide in words and pictures. In such situations, this is a good thing. It brings much needed awareness to the plight of the day. However, as a means of significant personal expression, there is nothing that can be fully explored in 140 characters.

I have read my recent Facebook posts. My grammar and usage have gotten sloppy, and it is not possible to edit posts. I can edit my comments on other people's posts, but not my actual posts. My blog posts are constructed differently: I write, read, edit, revise, edit, revise, then post. It is not an instantaneous process. It is deliberative. And, if, months later, I find an error, I can correct it.

The introduction of these short-form platforms has influenced not only how we, or at least I, write, but how we consume information. More snippets, headlines, and soundbites. Less in-depth analysis. Less critical thinking. While we decry ADD in kids, we cater to it in adults. We bounce from thought to thought, story to story, without actually assimilating the information, discerning its veracity, and assessing what it actually means to us as individuals, or citizens, for that matter.

Let's be clear: I don't want to abandon my social network. I do want to take a more balanced approach to my online options, both in terms of input and output. Actually, I want to take a more balanced approach to my LIFE, but that is another post...


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On Needing a Good Cry

I need a good cry. And it seems that the universe is conspiring to ensure it happens.

Seriously. Here is my case:

• I have had a keen sense lately that I have lost my way, or at least my sense of equilibrium
• My husband of 21 years was drunk when I arrived home from work last night at 7pm
• A Facebook friend posted THIS story from CNN on her wall
• My 15 year-old named me his model of faith for the essay portion of his religion midterm exam
• I came across this Huffington Post article on child rearing and nostalgia in my email
• I accidentally found out that the father of a new friend of mine most likely went to high school with my mother (you know, the presumably living parent I have not seen or spoken to for over 10 years now. I mean how cool would it be to call her up and say, hey, guess WHAT?!?!?!)
• Let's not even mention the 20 pounds I've gained, or the last song that played on my iPod.
I'm not menstrual, or even premenstrual. I am just plain sad. And tired. And lost. And forty-fucking-five, wondering what the hell to do about it that won't involve more pain, injury, collateral damage, or isolation.

I've read through previous posts. I am not prone necessarily to self pity, and certainly not martyrdom. But I am prone to these bouts of restlessness, and they generally fade. Maybe I just need to wait it out. But I don't think so. Something feels broken. It is the slow walk home from the train. The realization that going to the gym at night and getting home at 9 or later might not be so bad after all. I always looked forward to going home. Less and less now is that the case, unless the house is either empty or my son is the only one there.

Oh, and I learned a new word: Kairos. Author Glennon Melton defines kairos as God's time. It's time outside of time. It's metaphysical time. It's those magical moments in which time stands still. In Greek mythology, Kairos, the youngest child of Zeus, was the god of opportunity. In rhetoric it is the opportune time and/or place, the right or appropriate time to say or do the right or appropriate thing. I think I like God's time best. As opposed to Chronos, ordinary time. Even in these muddled times, I have moments of Kairos. They will have to do for now.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In Your Eyes....

Love I get so lost, sometimes
days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
when I want to run away
I drive off in my car
but whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are

all my instincts, they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

in your eyes
the light the heat
in your eyes
I am complete
in your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
in your eyes
the resolution of all the fruitless searches

—Peter Gabriel
(photo: a restless flycatcher in flight)

I have always loved this song. Of course, the image of John Cusack holding up a boombox playing this song to Ione Skye's bedroom window to win her over is forever etched into the minds of those of us of a certain age (can this movie really be 23 years old already?). Such longing. Such vulnerability. Such certainty of his young, idealistic love.

Yet when you actually read the lyrics, the singer is a lost man. He is nowhere near as complete as he is seen to be. He is restless, searching. He seems self aware, but unfulfilled. In your eyes, I am complete...oh, I want to be that complete. It is clear he loves his woman. That she is home to him.

I understand how he feels. The need for a secure home base. The feeling that while one may be flying, it seems to be right into the sides of the jar in which one feels trapped. Do I return "home" because of the security, and truth of the actual home? Or is by default? In defeat? In acknowledgement of the failure to break out of the jar?

I recognize that one cannot be made complete by any external factor, whether it be material gain, a job, a lover, a child, or a pet. That has to come from within. Yet I search and I search and I search. All of my life, there has been this undercurrent of restlessness. Emotional wanderlust. I crave, and have created, a home. A place to which I return (and thus far have been welcomed), no matter what. I would like to think there was no tether. However, that isn't true. I am a quite literally a kite on a string. The string is long, but ever present. And I tug on that string all too often.

I have no idea what I am looking for. Maybe affirmation that I can still hang. That I am not getting old. That I am still beautiful. That I am desirable. To cover up fear. To have someplace to hide for a while. To prove I can fly, albeit into a wall. So, after I've (mis)behaved ridiculously, I come home. I look like hell, I skirt the truth about where I was or what I was doing, I apologize, and am forgiven. So far.


Post script:  Actually, I stopped skirting the truth right after this point in January. That came with its own price tag.