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(NO)tifications

When I set up
each of my very few
phone apps, I set
notifications
to “off.”

I did this
intentionally;
I want to see the
sky, the leaves, the
wrinkles at the corners
of peoples’ eyes,

and hear
the birds chirping
with the rustling of leaves
behind them, and
chatter off in the
the distance.

I don’t need
notifications
of a virtual world
to interrupt
my experience
of the physical one.

And yet,
the companies
who release these apps
reject my rejecting their
notifications.

“Are you sure you
don’t want notifications?
You’re missing out on
so much good stuff!”

Every.
single.
day,
the
same
notices
I should
reconsider
notifications
and so keep up!!!.

Today, I
looked at those
reminders and thought,
“You know, I know
what I want to keep up with,
and it’s
not
this.

“The fact my
saying ‘no’ once isn’t enough
means maybe I shouldn’t
be checking these apps
at all. Okay, then,
once a day
from home
suits me
just
fine.”

Since
curtailing
online time,
my offline time
is so much more
vibrant;
merry;
full.

If I don’t see
any update
from any friend,
that’s fine;

I hold our
histories
in
my heart,

and I know
we will pick up
right where
we left off
the last
time.

Histories
in my heart
can be eroded
by too many notifications
about too many little things,
so:

even if I don’t
heart your picture
or thumbs-up your status,
please know it’s because
I want to remember
the you I know,
not
what
you
posted
yesterday.

shaved ice

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The world is not atomized

To be clear, I DID IT, TOO

Several years ago, I briefly joined a Facebook group for administrators of inspirational pages. I was deeply discomfited by the group, members of which spent much more time talking about how to get more page and post likes than how to inspire people. The proper formula at that time was just the right quote pasted on just the right pretty picture; many admins were perturbed when sharing algorithms changed so that Facebook began sharing fewer pictures.

Troubled, I wrote that I didn’t feel inspiration resided in the number of people able to see a post. Maybe one person who really needed to see a post would see it, and than an “unsuccessful” post would’ve made a world of difference to that one person. The good it worked on them would ripple outward in lovely ways, so that a post’s reach would go far beyond what some statistic on Facebook revealed.

Each post I read there left me more unnerved. I couldn’t articulate the feeling then, but it was a sensation like: We’re putting numbers over people. This technology is turning us into marketers and targets, not humans engaging with other humans.

I left the group. I eventually left Facebook, too, and found myself better able to see human beings in all their splendor after doing so.

I was on and off Twitter. I even ended up deleting my Instagram account last November, after realizing that, too, was somehow messing up how I perceived real people. In December, I wrote in “Sunlight & friends“:

Something delightful happened after I deleted my Instagram account last month: I stopped thinking of my friends as the two-dimensional representations they share there, and started remembering them as who my heart knows them to be.

I hadn’t even realized I’d been boiling them down to their most superficial selves until I was no longer doing it.

Reading a copy of Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business last week, I was floored to find old concerns addressed with such deference to history, present, and future. That’s to say, in 1985, a scholar I’d never heard of was publishing a book that’d help 2017 me begin to find words for things I felt silly for finding disturbing. Read more…

Thank you for staying.

I owe my seven-year-old some snuggles, and I promised my husband I was about to step away from the computer.

I couldn’t step away yet, though. There was something else I had to say, so I sat here for a moment longer, trying to figure out what that feeling was. I finally found a name for it: gratitude.

I’ve learned a lot of hard things the last few months. They made me both sad and angry, and I showed lots of both those emotions. I’ve already said sorry for being a jerk, so I won’t dwell there again.

What’s left to say, I think, is thank you. Thank you for sticking around while I figured out what I believe, and how to start expressing it, and got back around to understanding we needn’t agree on much of anything to support each other in friendship.

I’m glad you stuck around. I’m glad you didn’t throw up your hands and go, “That’s it! The Deb I knew is gone! Done here!”

You could have. You didn’t.

Thank you for staying.

Thank you.

Categories: Blogging, Reflections Tags: , ,

measure in love

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

Work ends

I love it, but
I’m tired, still

I scroll through
my Twitter feed
as I walk to my car,
feeling both more alert
and more tired
by the tweet

But then
I climb into my car
and I am lifted–
no, catapulted–
to love
by a chorus of
voices singing
about how to
measure the
moments in
a year

These friends
(this family),
fight;
fall;
love;
run;
learn;
live,
many
while
dying

(They are
my friends,
and my family)

Even when
I step out of my car,
Rent continues
in my soul

Its silver (love)
cocoon continues
to shimmer
around me though
its notes stopped
with the car

After dinner,
my older son
pedals his bike
up ahead

I jog behind
with my younger son
on my hip

Littler J giggles.
Bouncing is fun–
so fun, he bursts
out singing his ABCs,
all the way through,
which I didn’t know
he could do

And then,
back home,
my husband’s
trying to tell me
about an article in
The New Yorker, but
I’m not really listening
because the kids are tired
and I read them
their bedtime
stories first

I feel guilty, as I begin
to read

(I should have
listened better. Why
must I be so objective
oriented?)

I try to focus on
my little boys, which
is easy because they are
so silly and sweet

Li’l D blows
spit bubbles as
Littler J pretends
a Hulk action figure
is a monkey jumping
on the bed, which
bed is actually
his brother’s
belly

When it’s Daddy’s turn
to read, both the boys
rush to snuggle him

Littler begins (again)
singing about monkeys
jumping on the bed

“Why does he keep
saying three monkeys?!”
asks Li’l D, affronted

“He’s only two,”
Daddy explains, gently.
“He doesn’t know
subtraction, yet”

Daddy sings along,
leading slightly
so that the proper
number of monkeys
remain on the bed

And I sit down
at my computer
to look at political
Twitter, but instead
find myself humming
Seasons of Love

And I know,
with every particle
of me, not only that
life is not measured
in missed tweets,
but that it’s
measured by
moments
shared in
love

Oh you got to remember the love
You know that love is a gift from up above
Share love, give love, spread love
Measure, measure your life in love

 

Categories: Love, Parenting, Twitter Tags: , , , ,

Writing to learn

September 11, 2016 Comments off

I’ve created a separate politics blog.

Called Learning to Speak Politics, it’s where I’ll “make up for all the practice I didn’t get [speaking politics] for the first three-and-change decades of my life.” I’ll focus my practice there.

If so inclined, you can find my first post here.

There and here, I encourage you
to seek your own voice, and
refine it by practice.

 

Dirty millennials: hope

My husband lovingly calls me a “dirty millenial.”

I’m not actually a millenial. I fall a few years outside the category’s birthday boundary, as does–by a narrower margin–my just-younger sister.

Many articles I’ve read describe early access to computers as a defining characteristic of millenials. As I wrote in “The kingdom saved her,” we had a home computer very early. We went to a computer-centric middle school and accessed the internet from home in the early to mid 90s.

You might call us “honorary millenials,” were you not averse to putting those two words together.

During my winter of accelerated learning, I began seeing narratives.

I went from seeing A Unified Story in each and end every event or sequence of events to seeing that there were multiple variations of each. Each person saw an event or sequence of them somewhat differently based on personal history and context, but the thing was: only some were able to amplify their narratives. Folks in positions of power, especially, were able to say: “This is the story.” More than that, I witnessed how others often believed that assertion without further exploration. Read more…

I will shield you

My blog’s most popular post to date is the letter I wrote to my deceased mom.

Entitled simply “Dear Mom,” the post is what poured from my fingertips when I wrote to her as if she was still alive. While I wrote, I felt her presence with me, so that I would’ve written for days if I only the constraints of my life permitted it.

Yesterday, my curiosity was piqued when I saw a LinkedIn editor’s pick called “Dear Dad, Please don’t vote for Donald Trump.” Its author’s dad is still alive, but he’d chosen the medium to enable him to present his thoughts in a fluid way that supported linking content. I felt in his words tendrils of the same force that nudged me along as I wrote to my own mom.

I debated whether or not to read the post’s comments. I decided it should be safe; with LinkedIn being a place for professionals to network, I was curious what considered points commenters would raise in response.

“Buffoonery,” read one of the kinder, more thoughtful comments. Read more…

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