information and revelation…

I think the internet might be sucking the brain from my head. I used to think it was aliens from outer space coming in the night, extracting my brain cells and wiping my memory clean. Now, I’m pretty sure it is the internet or maybe it is the news on the internet. In any case, the brain is being sucked from my head and I am fully on board with it. If I was not fully on board with it I would shut down the internet on my computer and try to reclaim what is left of my poor, soggy grey matter.

The lure of the internet for me is clear; information and revelation. I like knowing more, learning more, hearing more. I want more, more, more. The more I know (or think I know) the more I feed the illusion of power and control. But of course, as that Spiderman movie taught me, “with great power comes great responsibility.” If I know more (or think I know more) then of course I have a responsibility to SHARE that knowledge, don’t I? And so I tweet. I tweet therefore I am (in control.)

The part that worries me though isn’t that I tweet too much or that I have too many crazy political arguments on Facebook. The part that worries me is that when I do sit down to write I find myself stuck after about 140 characters. I find that expanding my thoughts to more than the size of a Facebook post feels overwhelming and clunky. What was my point? Why didn’t I make my point in the last paragraph so that people can get on with their lives? Are you still reading?

Now for a word from our sponsors.

Social media saved my creative life. It brought me back from the unpublished dead more than once when I first began. Starting a blog opened up an avenue to me that did not exist 20 years ago. It was a new road; unpaved and less travelled. These days the “blogosphere” is a super highway; crowded and loud, the air is cloudy and the potholes are deadly. In the early days “web logs” were diaries, private thoughts, writing exercises and perhaps for a number of people they still are, but the pressure now feels global. I have to write with a larger view in mind, I should plan for outsiders reading my work, I should monetize, I should diversify, I should get a bigger server, strive for better SEO, stronger presence, graphic design and clean message.

It’s exhausting…and maybe not really the point of it all anyway.

The lure of the internet also brings revelation. It might just be me but all my life I have lived for the mail delivery. Every day is Christmas when the mail comes. It isn’t that I have traditionally gotten amazing things every day in the mail, it is just that sometimes, I have gotten amazing things; packages, correspondence, coupons, doesn’t matter. The potential for amazing things exists because of mail delivery.

And now, I can get mail every day, all day long, essentially. With the advent of email the potential for amazing things happening increased 100 fold. With the start of Twitter, amazing interactions could happen with alarming frequency. I promise, I will not stop tweeting until I finally get William Shatner to give me a shout out.  It’s a weird goal but a girl’s gotta dream right? Don’t even get me started on the mass interaction bonanza of Facebook. You can keep your Farmville, frankly, but give me the news feed on a slow writing day and I’m a happy camper. I find myself hitting refresh just to see what ELSE is happening in the world.

More. More. More.

The worst part about all of it, the dangerous part for someone like me, who purports to be a writer, is that it all feels productive. Martha Plimpton retweeted me to her followers so I think I accomplished something. 70 people “liked” my post on Facebook so all signs point to affirmation. It’s trite to say that social media and perhaps the internet experience is, after all, a “slippery slope” but that doesn’t make it any less true.  Sometimes “trite” gets it right.

And so what’s the solution then? Quit tweeting? Quit Facebook? Quit the internet? I know quite a number of people who have done just that and lived to tell about it. I still have friends who won’t touch Facebook or Twitter with a ten foot pole. Even my priest gives me grief that I prefer email to phone calls.

It helps, I suppose that I do at least admit the underlying principle to my problem. This underlying principle is easy to put my finger on, it’s a long time issue. In a chatroom full of people I doubt I’d be the only one raising my cyber hand if asked about it.

Online interactions remind me that I’m not alone.

For an introvert, prone to awkwardness in real life settings, the internet is safe. The internet is for those of us who look inward first. It is stunning how easily I can turn a phrase and show my worth on the internet while in person I struggle with the right facial cues. In person I feel I am navigating the world from inside some giant machine with arms and legs I cannot control or recognize. Alas, it’s ironic then, that being online really IS me, inside some giant machine with arms and legs I cannot control or recognize. It is the illusion of control and power, the illusion of profundity, the illusion of productivity. And this is the sound of my brain being sucked out of my head; the fear that absent the constant affirmation of computer information and digital revelation I will simply fade away to nothing, that I would find myself sitting in a quiet room with no good thoughts of my own, with no real hands to hold, no soft words whispered in my ear…

This is not a promise to stop tweeting or stop posting on Facebook or stop refreshing my email or even to stop writing on my blogs. This is simply a moment of reflection, a nod toward intrinsic information, a quest for real revelation on a road that is overgrown and untended but not forgotten.

“Although the road is never ending
take a step and keep walking,
do not look fearfully into the distance.
On this path let the heart be your guide
for the body is hesitant and full of fear.”

― Rumi

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what’s popular?

A few months ago I put up a page called “Popular Postings.” This is a page I created thinking that if you have stumbled upon Mrs Metaphor by accident or was referred here by a friend or a random thread somewhere you might find some other posts people seemed to dig a whole lot.

Now, those of you who visit often (thank you, how sweet and wonderful you are!!) I could use your help going forward….if you like a post I don’t already have listed then speak up. Even if you don’t remember the name, just comment below as much or as little as you can recall. I can usually find it.

tanks!

Mrs M.

thursday grab bag….the search for Duende…

You, my friends, are wonderful. You helped my friend Julie Lee with her kickstarter campaign and now this beautiful work will see the light of day and air around your ears super duper soon…

I have another sweet find for you. Of course, this being Nashville there will be no lacking of awesome talent I can turn you on to in the coming decades, this is a given, but you really oughta know Matthew Perryman Jones. You really outta.

So, here’s a chance, once again to fund some local goodness and send it out into the world at large.

This here’s the kickstarter page and things you need to know ’bout Mr Jones…

Matthew Perryman Jones

Straightpin Nashville, TN

Matthew Perryman Jones is a singer/songwriter, based out of Nashville, TN.

He’s recording in Austin, TX in early August, with a release date scheduled for winter 2012.

Matthew’s had songs featured in major films (“Something Borrowed”) and on several TV shows (“Grey’s Anatomy”, “Bones”, “One Tree Hill”, etc…). He’s toured with Ingrid Michaelson and shared the stage with Patty Griffin and Paula Cole.

USA Today has described his music as “Gorgeous,” and American Songwriter says “…Matthew’s voice ensnares listeners with a rare authenticity and gritty strength.”

mpjmusic.com

facebook.com

breakingoutthewindows.com

 

 

 

spammy mcspammerton…

What the heck.

Web savvy types I would love to know why I got this massive influx of hits on most of my blogs this week from really bizarro referrers.

If you have information leading to the capture of this weird round of spammy source hits I’d love to hear more about that.

In other news, my devoted mac powerbook is coughing and gasping her last. The rest of this week is hereby devoted to upgrading and migrating as it were to mah sexy new macbook pro.

If I owe you a post or an email or a pat on the back then please bear with me a tad longer.

Thank you for your patience, friends.

-mrs m.

following…

Should I be following you?

What about linking up? You wanna link up?

 

My links are woefully outdated and while I still love love love the people listed over there on the left I know from my google reader that many have wandered away from the practice of writing on their blogs.  Lucky for me I actually know a number of those wandering bloggers in real life so I gets to see ’em still….

I need some new, cool, wonderful and amazing folks to read now and add to my linky list.

Step up, don’t be shy. Tell me ’bout you. I’d love to read you and link up.  All I ask is reciprocity.

🙂

And I’m all about the Twitter, friends…however one caveat is that I have notifications turned off…so if you want a follow back I dig it but you must engage with me, @reply me and make conversation. You can even outright tell me to follow you. Not offended by that, unless you’re a spammer…

arms of God…

Grab bag Thursday brings with it only one revelation…this one is short and it begins in the form of a quote…I like quotes…

“Only in embracing all can we become the arms of God.”
-Coleman Barks

Find out more about Mr Barks here. Suffice it to say that he is a poet and a translator of…yes, of course, Rumi. I’m just that predictable…or maybe I was working with a theme this week…it’s possible. Let’s go with that, huh?

It’s easy to love some people. You know who they are, don’t you? Think on that for a minute. I’ll bet you can dash off that list pretty fast, I know I can.

I can dash off the list of people it’s hard for me to love as well…it may be dashed off even quicker. I’ve saved it up, you see. I’ve put those people into little boxes labeled “tough friends” or “my opposite.” I’m astounded at how I define everyone around me not based on their creation but on how their creation interacts with mine. I guess that’s normal, we are chemical reactions together in this great earth lab. And yet…maybe what makes things really volatile between us isn’t just the me and the you, maybe it’s placing “defense” or “ego” or “pain” or “fear” where God ought to reside.

So, I’m thinking ’bout this today…about extending the arms of God as I walk through it all this week. And because I hate to work alone I have homework for us. It’s something that challenges me, has challenged me a great deal this week, actually. Our homework is to be the arms of God this week. What does it look like for us to “embrace all” in a time when we do not agree, do not like, do not seek out people who are not like us, when our chemicals come together in this great earth lab, what will happen if we extend the arms of God and let Him reside there, I wonder?

a lesson in metaphor making….

Alright so my ‘make your own metaphor’ day was not greeted with as much enthusiasm as I’d hoped. I’m not giving up so easily. I won’t rest until we’re all walking talking metaphor, people! Alright, maybe I’ll settle for you being accutely AWARE that you are metaphor for about 15 minutes every month.

Some generous feedback suggested to me that perhaps I need to step back a bit and give more direction so in light of that we will have Lesson One in metaphor making.

I’ve already given you a description of what makes metaphor..it’s a transferring of one thing to another…from the latin word meaning to “carry.” You’re in effect, carrying the traits of one item onto another.

Generally, what makes metaphor really interesting to me is when we take two VERY DIFFERENT things to carry across to one another but you can always go for the easy load and choose things that have some well known connection. So today we’ll focus on choosing those things, you decide how far apart the shores you plan to bridge, alright?

Think through what is happening in your day or your week. Look at your actual calendar. Go ‘head…I’ll wait.
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Now, choose an event that either is happening in your life…carpool, school project due, dinner party, dentist appointment. Choose something quotidian or something extraordinary, it’s up to you. Choose the first thing that jumps out at you, even if it’s SWEEP BASEMENT STAIRS! This is the point where I’d ask you though, why you had to write SWEEP BASEMENT STAIRS on your calendar…not judging, just asking. I ask questions…it’s what I do best.

If you have your “event” from the calendar then sit with that thought for a moment. SWEEP BASEMENT STAIRS. How do you feel about this event? Have you done it already? Have you been avoiding it? Are you looking forward to it? Does the thought of clean basement steps have some SPECIAL meaning for you? Are you on medication for this weird clean steps fetish?

Once you have an EMOTION we move from here. You see, metaphor isn’t just comparing two very different things…it’s not even pasting one on top of the other…it’s not Bacon Donuts. (Don’t go off on me about how awesome Bacon Donuts taste, ok? Let’s not go there.) Metaphor is MORE than comparision, it’s more than cut and paste. Metaphor is actually a distillation of these two things…they move together because they ARE connected…well connected….in the fabric of what knits US together. It’s unseen, it’s mysterious and yet when you hear it, it makes PERFECT sense. Metaphor that DOES NOT work is easy to spot. We don’t feel a connection to it. We don’t get it. We don’t BELIEVE it.

So get back to your basement stairs. If you felt dread about that event you might think then, what else do you dread? Visitng the dentist? Breaking up with your hairdresser? Admitting you were wrong to a friend?

We now have two different “things.” Sweeping the floor and calling to apologize to someone. If it was me, I’d do put it this way:

The phonecall would be messy. The phone call was the dirt on the staircase to the basement I never get around to sweeping.

Now, you CAN leave it to stand on it’s own but because I’m Mrs Metaphor I expand the metaphor…draw it out:

The phonecall would be messy. The phone call was the dirt on the staircase to the basement I never get around to sweeping. I had put off that mess for too long. Each time I walked down the steps I saw the dirt there, so I avoided the steps. I had a broom, I don’t know why I would not make the call. I could so easily clean it up. Every particle of dirt was a mistake I’d made, a word I’d said in anger. Sweeping it away didn’t mean it would disappear, certainly, it just meant that I was taking ownership of it, making our friendship clear again. I was still responsible for those stairs. I was still responsible for that dirt and clearing away the injury.

Alright, that’s enough for today…there’s no written homework required today…just read pages 75-225 in your textbooks and look around your life….seek out the metaphor this week. See where it takes you to just pay attention to how things are connected.

three little words…

I’m sorry to say I missed our poetry date together this week…I apologize for that. Rather than wait a whole week I thought I’d fill in here on grab bag thursday.

Having been inspired by one David Dark and his 5 word novel I have written a three word poem.
I hope you dig it. It’s easy reading today.

roads need travelers

daylight saving…

Twice a year Benjamin Franklin messes with us. It was Ben who suggested that we monkey around with the clock a couple of times a year, one step forward, one step back. I’m sure there are good reasons to keep it up, I’m sure there are professions that still find this to be helpful. Farmers probably still dig it, I don’t know.

For me, “falling back” used to be awesome. I got to sleep another hour, who doesn’t like that? I wasn’t a morning person so it was a nice present once a year especially after having that hour taken away only months before in the springtime.

Now, though, my kids have no sense of time. They just open their eyes, bodies fully awake and commence to noisemaking. There is no unconscious extra hour for me right now. It’s felt, since I began to have children, that that extra hour was ruined for me. Instead of an hour of rest it became having to go into work an hour early.

So in light of that I got out of bed when the little human alarm system went off at 6am instead of 7am and I sat in what’s becoming my morning coffee and prayer armchair. From this place I can look out my front door. It’s still noisy in the house, there is no quiet to be found, and yet in this spot I can watch the light.

This is our first autumn and winter in the city house, my first daylight savings time. I was surprised then when for the first time in this house I saw the autumn light working. There was something magical in it as I prayed. I sat there for the few moments I had before having to mediate some breakfast cereal centered disagreement and just drank that in. Maybe I was able to see and feel that because I’m working so much on being present in the moment, maybe it’s because the clock had offered me this extra hour…probably it’s the culmination of both, all things working together for the good.

So, for the first time instead of grousing about not having an extra hour to sleep I felt a strong sense that I have an extra hour to breathe, to live, to watch the light, to read a book, to snuggle with Miles. It was as if the daylight was saving this moment for me. It was astounding. I am grateful. I hope I can hold onto it until the spring.