GIVEN: I like to sit on the floor to work. I like to spread out my crap, lay down if want. Can't do that at a table.
I fancy myself something of a writer. I'm not entirely sure why. I know I feel I communicate better when I write than when I talk. I've never had anything published other than blog posts...never even finished much. Which is why the goal I set for the summer, to finish putting to paper one of my tales is rather outlandish.
So the picture above is what frustration looks like. I write best in notebooks...for the first draft at least. One paper, there's something elementary. But the last few days, the words haven't been coming. So I'd wake up and stare at the mess, and try to ignore it. This shouldn't be this difficult, I thought. Then a little voice said...
It wasn't meant as a taunt, but a challenge to my growing pity party. Why shouldn't this be difficult, this writing a book? It made me stop...think, change my outlook. This has been the way of things this summer.
I'm back, after a short jaunt to NY/NJ to visit my cousin for her birthday. We went to Six Flags, which was fun after it stopped raining. Somewhere between riding the Runaway Mine Train and Bizarro...I lost my cell phone.
Immediately upon realizing it was lost I fell into a sort of depression. My cousin and her friends consoled me with mournful looks and stories of how they'd lost/destroyed phones in the past. The mood of our little party changed. I called my parents to let them know to call my cousin and not me...my efforts to cut off a freak-out on their part. I filed a missing property report.
Since then I've had at least two dreams involving losing other possessions or earning enough money to buy a new phone. (I'm in the middle of a contract and the warranty expired. It's either full price or cheap replacement). I called the lost & found department at the park, left a message with my name and number and even managed to find the info with my phone's serial number on it. I hoped and prayed.
I don't like this. This 'missing-an-arm' feeling I have without my phone. For the record, I didn't call very many people. It's just how I am...I don't call, I text/email/write. I'm not a salesperson, I have no office to carry with me. I would have said a week ago that I could live without it. I'm living, but I'm grieving its loss in a way that is probably unhealthy. That annoys me.
When did it change? When did I change? When did I become a drone of society, addicted to technology? I've long been aware that I have a fascination with the Internet. But I justified it by believing that I used it for work (Etsy, eBay). When did I get dependent on a cell phone that I don't even use that much? I can come up with a list of reasons why I need a new one. First, because we only have one car and four drivers in my family so living takes a lot of coordination. But people lived for centuries before this without a cell phone. To do so now is to be behind the times.
I don't miss the stress of making sure I had it with me, or making sure I checked it periodically because when I'm home I don't keep it on me. I don't miss worrying if it was charged, wondering if it was taking pictures of the inside of my purse. I don't miss the problems it would cause when a text didn't go through, or someone didn't answer, or I forgot their number or couldn't understand a voicemail...or the Hispanic family that called looking for 'Luisa'. (I guess she had the number before me).
So it is a give and take, I suppose. I will get a new one. Pay phones are decreasing in availability. Stores don't like to let customers use their phones, nor do strangers. Carrier pigeons and flares are out of style and/or hazardous.
But I will also continue to wonder about how I'm influenced by what 'they' decide I need. I will be more careful. I will try to weigh the pros/cons before diving into the next cool thing. And I will strive to get more grounded, to *gulp* unplug to recharge, to reconnect with the real world, the tangible world, to get my head (and heart) out of the electronic (tag)clouds.
Photo credit: me! -cell phone I lost
I had set up this summer to find ways to finish projects started long ago. Then I got two colds in the space of one month. (summer colds are a different kind of evil) I've ended up finding out things about myself, instead...and then working on ways to change them, live with them, grow from them. It is diff.i.cult. I'm not sure I'm getting anywhere and I know I get on myself too much.
Change happens slowly. And though I rarely use ours, I'm a product of the microwave generation. I like things to happen quickly and fairly easily. The road to self-improvement is neither. I'm getting there...I'm trying. That's what counts.
Photo Credit: Podbean
By Its Cover is independent book review column. Selections are mostly made based on the book's cover. I'm testing the old saying in my quest to find new favorite authors and books.
This one I totally picked due its cover...and because it had a uber-minor mention of Connecticut. Enjoy!
Title: The Cheese Monkeys
Author: Chip Kidd
I think this book marks the first time that upon completion my reaction couldn't be clearly placed on the love/hate spectrum. I didn't clutch it lovingly to my chest as I would have Jane Eyre. I didn't want the hours back that I'd spent reading it like I did when I finished The Little Town that Stood Still (I still contend that something was lost in translation with that one). It was not a feeling of pride for having finished as with Dickens. It wasn't passing neutrality as with chick lit. I paused, turned the tome in my hands and thought.
It's a beautiful book, in the physical sense. Kidd, it turns out, is a well-known graphic designer turned novelist. So this story probably has some autobiographic touches. I want a copy just to look at the cover art and the arrangement of the droll, expected, skipped-over bits of the book (acknowledgements printed along the covers edge, the image-based titling). Normally writers are concerned with carefully piecing their plot points. Kidd took an extra step to tweak the layout of the age-old novel. The risk was worth it.
As for content, the enigmatically named book (he never does fully explain cheese monkeys but that's not point) tell the tale of a nameless protagonist during his first year at a state university. He's studying art, to the discomfiting chagrin of his parents and the disillusion humor of himself. Kidd made me laugh by page 10. He kept me turning the pages, sneaking away to find out what odd assignment or social snafu would happen next. I yielded my emotions to his words, cringed and cracked up on cue. He won.
It shows the extremes of art (and in that way...of life), from hare-brained conceptualism to harsh thought-driven design. Another critic called The Cheese Monkeys a 'coming-of-age story'. I'm not sure it goes far enough to be that to me. The main character does come into the story a 'wide-eyed' youth and by the end is a little...well, experienced. But the book and its collection of characters and their lessons did make me think, they evoked emotion, horrified, thrilled and shocked me...the way art should.