For the past four months, my attention has been captured by myriad technical and not-so-technical snafus I’ve encountered while working to get a Second Edition of my book (At Home on the Kazakh Steppe) live both online and in print. It has been an undertaking with more unexpected twists and surprising turns than I could ever have imagined.
And I will not bore you with the details. (Though the real reason is that I don’t want to relive it by writing about it).
In hindsight, it may not have been worth the effort. But that’s hindsight for you: it’s never there when you need to make that decision.
As I write this, I’m still enmeshed in the process.
The Print version, through Amazon’s Create Space, is now live (though the 24 Reviews I’ve garnered since August will take a few days to catch up),
The Large Print version is “In Review” and should be live by the weekend.
The Kindle ebook is also live, though it’s an earlier version and the latest edits have yet to be uploaded; that should happen in a few days.
The task ahead of me is to get the edits that I’ve put in the paper versions into the different ebooks: Kindle (Amazon), iBook (Apple), the Nook (Barnes & Noble), and Kobo. You didn’t know there were so many? Neither did I.
But that’s not the theme I wanted this blog to be about. What struck me during the height of this unparalleled craziness — this unexpected interruption in my daily routine — was that I was losing the one thing that I’ve valued most for more than twenty years: my serenity.
Something had to give.
Two things that went were, in hindsight, not a good idea: exercise and time with my hubby. Granted, I still took walks and I still conversed with Woody. And, if I got lucky, I could save time by talking to him while we walked (or, in our case, snowshoed). That got me quality time with my dog, too.
The third thing that went was social media. Or a good part of it. I love the forums I’m on; but I’ve been conspicuously absent from all of them.
I’ll be back on the We Love Memoirs Facebook Group this Sunday from 3 pm to 4 pm (New York time), for a quiet turn in the Sunday Spotlight, but other than that, my social media buzz is painfully silent.
And it had to be.
Let me share this repost of an On Being blog that came out last October. Parker Palmer, one of my favorite bloggers, sums it up well. Take a look. I’ve kept the links live.
Thomas Merton — Trappist monk, gifted writer, social critic, and spiritual virtuoso — has inspired many people. I’m one of them.
Merton wrote these incisive words in Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander more than fifty years ago, but they are no less true today than when he wrote them.
“There is a pervasive form of modern violence to which the idealist…most easily succumbs: activism and over-work. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence.
To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.
The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his (or her) work… It destroys the fruitfulness of his (or her)…work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”
Thomas Merton wrote in the very early 20th century, long before social media was a fact of life. Still, this sentence jumped out at me:
The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence.
That resonated with me. And it reminded me of a slogan I’ve found useful from time to time:
How important is it?
It is important that I get my book live on the Internet. I spent seven years of my life writing about those two years of my life. That’s ten years I’ve dedicated to this project so far. I have speaking gigs lined up and I need my book to be available to audience members.
It is important to me that I participate in social media. I’ve made good friends through social media and I don’t want that to stop. I have things I want to say and I want to hear what my blogs trigger in you, my readers. Facebook, Twitter, and my website are facts of (my) life and ones I don’t want to give up. Twitter went easily, however.
It is important that I participate in the daily routine of my home. I visit with my mother (on occasion — sorry mom), I spend quality time with my husband (though not nearly as much as we’re used to — sorry Woody), I talk to my dog (and take her for her annual shots — hi Sasha; I didn’t know you could read. Not surprised though. You’re so smart), I clean up after dinner and even squeeze in some spring cleaning as a way to take a break (though not as much as I usually have behind me by April)
But it’s also important that I feel settled, serene, and peaceful. And I was in some danger of losing that for a bit. The metaphorical oxygen masks had fallen down and I needed to put mine on. More importantly, I don’t want to engage in violence of any sort, particularly one that had begun to feel “innate.”
Life is going on, slowly. Each day brings me a little closer to seeing the end of this technological nightmare. But in order to keep my sanity (and my serenity), that end may take a bit longer. And, next Wednesday, it’s possible that there’ll be no blog. I don’t know when that will be back on schedule. Hopefully, not too much longer. But I just don’t know. I do know that I miss writing it weekly; I miss the camaraderie I find from those who comment, and those who write me on email. I miss posting something provocative on my Facebook Author page at least once each week. And I miss the friendly banter that my Facebook personal page affords. I don’t miss Twitter, but I do miss you. I’ll be back.
How about you? Have you ever decided to pull back, out of the fray? If so, I’d love to hear your story.