Living the life as an artist is meaningful. I have trained myself to begin my day with mediation and gratitude. I drink my coffee outside where I listen to birds and watch birds mate, build nests. I pay attention to the rose that stands tight in its cocoon and watch it slowly release and open. Being present and feeling, and seeing, and listening, and taking life in as it unfolds and presents itself doesn't make me a great artist, but it has trained me to be open, so I write stories that speak of large plot developments that are meshed with subtleties that are often lost in our busy modern worlds.
I have been told that to gain a readership, a following, that I must be present on social media. I will tell you the platforms have changed. Is it Facebook or Twitter that I am supposed to gain likes? Should I have a blog or be present every day on LinkedIn? And to play it safe maybe just use Instagram. I have tried to be a social media powerhouse. I have written in my weekly to dos “post five days a week.”
A few months ago, my Facebook page was hacked. It disappeared, gone. I can no longer access any of the pictures. All the years of posting and keeping track of trips and parties and kids' birthdays gone. Because my main page disappeared, I can longer get into my author page, or the other pages I spent time and energy on. The most upsetting issue I have surrounding this is I could never resolve it. The Facebook team is impossible to reach. I spent a total of six hours trying to get a hold of someone at Facebook. I even tracked down a person at a party whom I heard she worked for Facebook. She told me that is not her department and she heard Facebook is working on its customer relations. The feeling it left me with is that Facebook is not something I admire, something I think of as doing good work. Gone was any human connection. I was ready to be finished with social media.
And yet, I do enjoy knowing about when a friend puts out an album, or a friend finishes a work of art. I enjoy seeing pictures of family and friends on vacation. I seek out first day of school pictures and graduation memories. I like seeing my favorite author’s pictures as they eat with a fellow artist.
On Twitter, I get to see more into the world of publishing. I read articles I wouldn't have been exposed to. Joyce Carol Oates often posts art which lifts me.
I do try and post. My pictures and videos are almost always second rate. I sometimes post pictures that my family took because I rarely have my phone in hand. And for me it is because of this: I was on the boat on Whiskeytown Lake, and as we were speeding across the lake my daughter placed her hand onto mine. I did want to remember her hand on mine, but I didn’t want to move my hand. I don't have great pictures of my son's smile because it happens so spontaneously and the beauty so extreme catching it on my phone would be impossible. When I head into my forest to water my maple tree and three young bucks lay in the cool shade and watch and stare, by the time I ran to get my phone they'd be gone, the moment lost. The pinks in the sunset moved to grey by the time I slide my screen to photo.