Monday, September 1, 2014

Spillwrite In Preparation For Taking A Month Offline

I don't know how much (or rather how little) time I have spent disconnected from the internet since I first got connected back in 1997. There have been a few times when we had a computer in the shop or something, but I doubt I've been offline for six months total in those seventeen years. I want to see if I am a lot more focused in the actual world if I spend less time in the virtual world (and I don't even think I spend an excessive amount of time online). I am wondering if my very brain is more fragmented because I know I always have the option to just "pop onto the internetz". In September I am going to work on growing some new neural pathways or restoring old ones by being mostly offline for the month. I'll chat with you on my phone if you miss me, but apart from adding content to my Art Journaling FB page, I won't be hanging out anywhere online; I won't be getting involved in discussions about whether Christians can (or rather may) smoke marijuana or be soldiers or whether there would be a creative renaissance if there were separation of School and State. I don't think that the internet is the ultimate cause of my focus problems, though - it just exacerbates and/or highlights the already colander-like state of my brain that has developed over the years of childrearing, which itself is exacerbated by my overly active and neurotic psychological makeup.

There are a few important things I have left undone in the past year which have been weighing on me, and so getting them out of the way will make my stylish yet affordable I'm A Failure backpack that much lighter. I am going to attempt to do a 30 Days Art Journal AND a Thirty Days Zine - the zine will necessitate using my desktop publishing program with a few short jaunts online for images. Those are both more tactile and truly recreational and, dare I say, "centering" activities for me, and I need to get myself re-centered and integrated or defragmented or whatever. I have been struggling with a lot of depression and discouragement lately, and I just can't find the hope springs eternal thing that used to reside under just a thin layer of cynicism. I would say that I am having an actual crisis of faith, which has only happened once before in all my years of being a Christian - and the first one was much milder. I don't expect I will ever be an apostate, but sometimes I'm concerned I might have a little bit of heretic in me. I am still working through a bunch of stuff related to my time in the Biblical Womanhood camp, because externally I still live the exact same life. In some ways I miss and want to restore a lot of what I was during that time, but simultaneously,  I often feel like I am experiencing the kind of malaise that was described in The Feminine Mystique. 

I know that mentally, I am trying to "have it all" in the 70s feminist sort of way - although I don't actually leave the homestead for a job, my desire is pulled between wanting to be a super focused and dedicated mother and wanting to spend hours writing or painting in my art studio every day, untethered to motherly responsibilities. That pretty much means that both art and mothering are shortchanged, which ramps up the volume on one of the long- running monologues in my head, the one that nags at me about my seeming lack of "productivity" in those areas (when in fact I have been quite productive in those areas over the years). So, the voice is a liar, and I think that, ironically, getting it to shut up will entail letting go of the need to be productive while also practicing focus in order to accomplish things.

I have a few different ways I want to try to focus during September...setting a timer for 20 or 30 minutes so I know a task will not last forever...thinking of myself as "at-work" in mother/homemaker mode from maybe 12-5...even (gasp) STOPPING and doing NOTHING when I am feeling overwhelmed...and most importantly keeping at the forefront of my mind the idea of Make Positive Effort For The Good. That allows for spontaneity in my life (which I need because I am easily bored and get rebellious if I feel constricted by a schedule) while still giving me some kind of guideline to follow when I am at a loss as to where my focus should be at any given time, and which encompasses even teeny tiny steps.

Anyway, you will see me online if you are in my Art Journaling/Bookbinding FB group, and you can send me FB messages if you want to get in touch with me this month, and you can get the Thirty Day Zine in October if you are interested to hear my inner ramblings about this experiment.

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