It’s the first day of autumn, and we are blessed with overcast and a slight drizzle. The rushing breeze is trying to convince leaves to drop from their branches. I left my job early today due to sickness, so I am spending the rest of the day drinking tea, eating toast, reading, and writing. On Thursday, I took a trip to Twice Sold Tales and picked up a handful of books, including Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write. It has been such a joy to read. By the time I devoured the first chapter, I tasted nothing but inspiration. I adopted a new Moleskin for writing, and welcomed a paperback dictionary back into my life. One of my favorite apps for my phone is the Merriam-Webster app, but I find flipping pages to be more enjoyable than typing an unknown word into the search bar. Sure, it adds a couple extra pounds to my pack, but I feel the search for the meaning of a word is more gratifying when you have to do a bit of digging. Enough with the instant gratification.
As a writer with an online presence, I am constantly struggling. How can I inspire people to get off the Internet without getting on the Internet? The less time I spend socializing online, the less people I am able to reach out to. It’s a rusty, double-edged sword, and I am still learning how to juggle. Trying to find a balance. At any rate, now that your attention is here, on this blog, my wish is for you to put these words in your pocket, and turn your back on the Internet this week. Come back next week for another rendition of “Seven Ways,” but take the next seven days to distance yourself from electronic devices.
- Get involved in The Paper Doll Army. The PDA should not be news to you. Since I began this project, I write an average of 3-5 letters a day. It has become a preferred method of correspondence. The Paper Doll Army is an interactive letter-writing project. Troops order ration packs, complete the task, and earn a merit badge. Mission 001 takes place at a local coffee shop. Mission 002 at a used book shop. Take a closer took here.
- Interact with your flatmates. If you live at home, that may mean socializing with your (gasp) parents. If you’re a bachelor, but have furry friends, spend some quality time with them. Some nights when I’m writing at my computer, I look up from my work and see my two house mates with their eyes glued to glowing screens. At this point, I say, “Would you like to play some rummy?” They generally don’t deny me a few rounds, so we sip cider and listen to music and interact with one another. Suggest a game night. Do a puzzle or crosswords together. Promote interaction.
- Start a project. Begin writing a short story. Pull out a blank canvas. Purchase a disposable camera and challenge yourself to a photo scavenger hunt. Let your creative side come out to play without the distractions of the Internet.
- Reach for a book instead of your phone. If you absolutely, positively need a distraction whilst waiting for the bus or walking down the sidewalk, read. I will always and forever suggest Catherynne M. Valente. You can visit my (very unkempt) reading recommendation list here.
- Leave the house. You don’t need a destination, just go. Take a drive. Make your way to a local coffee shop. Visit a book store. Talk to strangers. Write about your experiences.
- Take a walk. “Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” / Henry David Thoreau.
- Read/watch this and this for the first, second or fifteenth time. And I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Louis C.K. hates cell phones.
There you have it. A few weeks (months?) behind, but we’re working it out. Please, power your electronics down and go play dominoes or something. Bon débarras!
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