March 5, 2019

Why I'm Running Off to Become a Hermit

Okay, okay, so I'm not really running off to become a hermit, no matter how much I want to, but I am doing the modern-day, cyber equivalent. Let me explain.

Last week I got up early, opened my curtains for probably the first time in several months, and sat in the sun, typing up a blog post. A thought hit me: "Wow, it's so quiet!" It was warm enough that the heater was momentarily off; no music or videos were playing in the background, no one was talking. It was so peaceful, so non-distracting. I got a lot of writing done that morning, because I could actually focus on writing, rather than noise.

I'm not a fan of noise, at least not most of it. While I automatically tune out babies crying or birds chirping, I grit my teeth whenever someone is smacking their lips or listening to music too loudly through their headphones (both of which happen at the public library a lot more than you might think). I can't stand fans constantly buzzing in the summer, and though I'll put up with heaters in the winterso as not to dieI still prefer silence. Unlike many authors, I cannot write when there's music playing.

But nowadays, there is a lot more "noise" than just sound, if you know what I mean. I'm pretty good at keeping physical clutter out of my life, but I'm the worst at avoiding cyber clutter. I'll refresh my Tumblr feed over and over, hoping that someone will post something new. I'll scroll through Twitter in the vain attempt to find something I want to retweet (Why do I have a Twitter? We just don't know...). Usually, whenever I'm working on the computersetting up my Tumblr queue, editing photos, checking emailsI'll have some Youtube video on in the background, which leads to me to listen to other videos, and I've already told you how I can't write with noise, so... Basically, I'm a horrible time-waster who gets a lot less done than I'd like, and that is at least partially due to being constantly online. 

Along with this is a gnawing anxiety about not being involved enough. Sure, I'll reblog people's posts on Tumblr, but I don't interact with people much other than that. I don't make moodboards like everyone else, or post many excerpts and drabbles. I also don't insult my own writing and writing process as much as the average Tumblr user, so there's that, but even seeing the "my writing is trash" posts come across my dash ad nauseum makes me feel like the odd one out. Of course, there's also the fact that I can't post too much about my current WIPs because they barely exist, and they barely exist because I waste so much time on social media. It's a vicious cycle.

So that's why I've decided to run off and become a cyber-hermit...for forty days, at least. Forty-six if you count Sundays. Have I mentioned it's Ash Wednesday? For those of you who don't know, Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, which is a liturgical season of penance, fasting, and reflection. Essentially, it's a time to recenter and refocus, and lasts for forty days in imitation of Jesus' forty days in the desert. It's a lot more difficult to run off to the desert than it used to be, back when being eremitic (from whence comes our word "hermit") was all the rage, but I'm still going to do my best.

In order to save my aesthetic sensibilities, I'm going to work on my ascetic sensibilities (no, I did not write this whole post just for the sake of the pun, but I am still very proud of it nonetheless). I want to find that silence that makes writing so easy, so I'm going to put myself out there, physically. I'm going to open my curtains every morning, and go for walks, and look at the world around me instead of my computer screen. At the same time, I'm going to withdraw a bit from cyperspace; I'm not going to scroll through any of my social media feedsat alluntil Easter. I'll still check my notifications and respond to comments and messages on Sundays (which aren't technically part of Lent) and on Wednesday nights (so as not to completely abandon people who may be trying to talk to me), and I'll do my weekly updates and cute book photos and such (for those of your on Tumblr, I've queued posts until May!), but that's it. I'm not going to worry if I'm not making moodboards or posting drabbles; I'm going to focus on me, and my writing, and the way I want to present it.

Why? Because I really want to write. I want this story out of my head and on paper, and all this noiseauditory or otherwiseisn't helping. I want to write out a solid foundation for my novella-in-verse: the syllabic poems this month, and the iambic poems in April. If I can get the modernist poems finished in May, then maybe, maybe, I can start posting it as a serial in summer. Right now, that's a pipe dream, but I want it to be a reality. Which is why I'm going to focus on reality, not the immaterial and insubstantial world of the internet. At least until Easter. Let's see how it goes.

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