Back in the Bliss

photo: rus vanwestervelt, 23 october 2011, river chase farm, aldie, va

Well, I did it again, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Not only did I leave Facebook and Twitter, I stopped my usual rounds of catching up on the latest football news, rankings, and predictions on the local news sites, not to mention ESPN, SI, Foxsports, and other national sports sites.

Finally, I feel like I can breathe again.

Not that I don’t miss chatting with my closer friends on Facebook, I do. But I imagine that, in the coming days and weeks (and it’s already started to happen with some friends), I will be finding other ways to catch up with them.

You know. In person. Face to face. Real time.

I don’t knock the social networks. They serve a purpose that can be both fun and meaningful for all kinds of relationships. But I know that, for me to be fully present for my family and still focus on my writing and photography, something had to give.

Already, I am writing more (I am here as well, which says a lot), my focus is better when spending time with others, and I am not glued to my phone or my computer.

None of these are any surprise to me. This is my third or fourth separation from Facebook, and each time I experience the same bliss.

Why even go back, then? Why return to the social-media time suckers that compromise the very things that bring me the greatest joy and allow me to live a most-balanced life?

I have no idea.

Maybe this time I won’t. I know that my book sales might suffer, and I might not have as many people see some of the photos that I have taken. As well, I know such a move goes against every marketing strategy that’s been devised in the last three years for artists who are trying to launch some kind of name for him or herself.

But my time with my family is too valuable to sacrifice for social networking and trying to “make it” as a writer and artist. I write and I take photos because it is in me; it is a part of who I am, and I cannot stop it any faster than I can stop breathing (thanks, Lacey, for that so many years ago). What is NOT a part of me is the whole selling of my work and playing some kind of game that gets me running with the creative consultants and gurus of the craft. Not when it comes at the cost of sacrificing time with my wife and children.

God bless the social gurus and network marketers. We need them, and they help so many undo the myriad blocks that have kept thousands and thousands from living a more creative, inspired life. I have family members and friends who are burning incredible new virtual paths in the connections they are making. These people are changing lives, and we are better off for their tireless energy and spirit.

Me, though? I need to do that networking at a distance. I will let my words and my images speak for me, and I will never turn down an invitation to converse about the things we love. But I cannot sell you me using social media as a device to further my passions. I just can’t.

So, you’ll see me around here more frequently. I’m still writing for Write Anything, I’m still working hard with my creative partner Cara Moulds at Cool Blue Souls on our daily Smash365 prompts and book reading club, and I’m wrapping up my book Cold Rock for release before the end of the year. I am looking for new venues for my photography, and I have a full line of competitions and deadlines for shorter writing submissions that I’m sending out on a biweekly basis. All of this is possible with the focus that is returning, thanks to my break-up with social media.

I’ll see you here and other places online and in print as well, but most importantly, I’d like to see you in person. Let’s hold on to the very things we should never stop cherishing: the embracing of life’s fragility, hand in hand, as we go along our way.




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