Monday, May 25, 2015

Six Month Digital Fast

Outside the rain falls. It's been falling pretty much since mid-April. This is unusual weather for Colorado, especially the Front Range. It's been raining and that's a good thing. People in Colorado become very moody if it's cloudy for two consecutive days. That's right, it's sunny here nearly everyday. But this spring has been wet. The rain has created two colors here: gray and green. These are very different colors than the blue and brown we're accustomed to seeing.

I've recently completed a large project. I had it in my mind last December that I was just going to write. I was just going to write in my 9.75” x 7.5” composition notebooks for a while. It was just that I wanted to write some short stories, maybe some poems, whatever, whatever I wanted to write at the time. In short, I was going to do what it took to do just that, me and the composition notebook.

I have young friend at work named Miranda. I like Miranda. Miranda is full of energy, she excited, she writes poetry. When we first met, several months ago, I had decided to leave much of my 'writer's daily grind' behind and just be free of it. I turned off my computer in December shortly after launching Umbrella Factory Magazine's 20th and up until now final issue. UFM decided to take a break because everyone on staff was, is, or about to be, at home rearing babies. We also decided to just put things on hold in the event we wanted to go back to it.

Then, I put everything on hold. I've spent no time on the social media sites this year. I have not checked my email. I have not frittered away hours drifted through the Internet. I put this blog on hold. And I've not even turned on the computer for months.

How fucking refreshing it is to turn off the digital world?

So, I went home to my notebooks. After filling a few of them with whatever I felt like, I made a mention to Miranda. I said, I'm just going to write first drafts. She's a student. She's young. She said, well, then you're not really writing. It was not a snarky reply by any means and I would never take it as such. She's still operating on the old platitudes that a writer writes and rewrites and rewrites. And this is very true. Here though, when I decided to turn off the computer and just write in my notebook, I have done more as a writer than most. Aside from my two published novels, the third one forthcoming, the film writer credits and the handful of short stories published over the years, what do I care? I don't need to do anything more than write in my notebook. I got nothing to prove. I have accomplished more as a writer than I ever dreamed that I would. All I have is a compulsion to write.

I have to admit, it's been a fine time. I have written drafts of a couple dozen stories that I think will make fine pieces when reworked. I have read some wonderful books. I have rethought my purpose as a writer. I've rethought my magazine and I've rethought my blog.

It's not really the sort of advice one might expect. Take a break. Sit under a tree and scribble on paper. Turn off the screens. Turn off the Internet. Turn off the world for a while. And it's astounding what you might find. Sometimes the best views and the best insights happen within when a quietness settles.

For any of you who have been looking at my blog, thank you for your patience. And for those of you who have just wandered by, welcome.

Thanks for reading. 

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