Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pulling on a Thread...a different look at social media


...and how we get to where we are in our lives.

Granted social media takes too much of my time, though not as much as it does for some others.  I've manfully (womanfully?) resisted Twitter, Instagram and a number of other communication options.  I took a different look at the 'net recently, in this post.

It IS interesting to think what a difference social media and the Internet have made in our lives.

I know my distant relatives much better than I once did, and treasure the contact.  My dear Jenny Hearn is even more precious to me than ever, and I love knowing what my godchildren are doing. I stay in touch with old friends, too, and get to see photos and even videos of their lives, as well as sharing my own.  I treasure that as well.

I am making most of my living with online classes and eBooks, now--15-20 years ago and more, that was not the case--the option didn't even exist.  I mostly wrote books, freelanced for magazines, and did in-person workshops, which latter are stressful and exhausting.  (Actually so is freelancing, and many of the magazines I worked for have disappeared in any case.)

(Needless to say, this working online option is wonderful for an introvert of "a certain age."  I can teach in my nightgown with a cup of coffee to hand, if I wish, and no dragging art supplies and suitcases through airports!)


My life online started, originally, with email, which I "didn't need."  Saw no point in it...but a friend talked me into it.

And I am endlessly grateful. (Thank you, Don Dickerson...)



Shortly after that I got involved with several online discussion groups--reenactors, history groups, historical costuming, art, photoshop...and ended up running the very big Revlist for Revolutionary War reenactors for almost 10 years.  (Great practice for learning communication skills, mediating, and calming troubled waters, those folks were PASSIONATE and often at cross-purposes.)

Revlist was a trip...and it's where I met my now-husband, Joseph.  I invited a number of clear-headed people to be my advisory board to help deal with the traffic on the list, incivility, sticky questions, and so forth; he was one of the best!  We struck up a friendship offlist, and the rest really IS history.

The involvement with reenacting spun off into Graphics/Fine Arts Press, where I've written, illustrated, and published a number of books of interest to reenactors, docents, museums and more (including one by my knight and partner in life, Joseph Ruckman, Recreating the American Longhunter.)






I was invited to join an eBay consortium, another Yahoo group, by my dear friend MaryAnn Harris, artist, editor, and delightful wife of one of my favorite writers, Charles DeLint,  and was very much involved in selling there (which I still do, though not with such frequency. Look for katestreasures!)  I remain friends with many of the people in that group...what an amazing gift, thank you MaryAnn!

My friends in the group told me they all had blogs and invited me to join them...so there I was, in the blogosphere.  I've met wonderful artists and writers here, and feel quite blessed and challenged by the experience.

I have several active art groups on Flickr...and belong to others...

I've taught online, on my own and in classes for Strathmore Papers and Danny Gregory's Sketchbook Skool, and I've taken classes as well...

...and then there was Facebook, where I've learned more about my beloved family than I ever could have imagined.  I joined, originally, to keep up with the godchildren...my, THAT certainly mushroomed...


So here I find myself...

...where I can teach without the stress and pain of travel or stage fright.

...where I can find answers to so many questions, large and small, and inspiration  and beauty and the assurance of our innate goodness, our humanity.

...where I can see my nephew Chris Busey's outstanding photos of the American West and my old friend Kevin Morgan's stunning pictures of our town.

...where I can see sketches and paintings from artists all over the world, and share my own.

...where we can plan my sister's memorial party or a family birthday celebration all of us on the same page.

...where I met the love of my life...



What if I had resisted that first email address...?

We are never allowed to know what might have been...but I find myself very, very grateful for where I AM.

21 comments:

  1. WOW What a wonderfully sweeping look back from then to NOW. I just love the way you write Cathy and how much you love your life exactly as it is this moment.

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    1. I do love it, I am VERY fortunate to have gotten to this place. I have problems and challenges like anyone else, but I am truly, truly grateful for the everyday things that make up most of our lives.

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  2. Our moving would have been devastating were it not for being able to keep up with you online, being able to still feel a close friendship that has become so important to me. In fact, I would have never known you beyond your books had it not been for those email newsletters of yours. GRATEFUL!!

    The best of social electronic media is you and Joseph. The Lord truly brought you together like a fairy tale romance.

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    1. It was a like a fairy tale, Miss Vicky...and I miss you too, but what a pleasure to be able to see your drawings and read your blog! Hi, dear heart! (I am, however, even more grateful for the chance to meet and get to know you and Bill in person...)

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  3. My comment disappeared, so here it is again! Kate! This is exactly how I felt! That resistance slowly gave way & I got to meet my soul mate online thru' a friend! And now to have new friends in your wonderful art group, well, that has been a great blessing too! So I'm glad we gave in, gave up our resistance & went with the flow! LOL! I never would've believed I'd be here! Thank you, my friend! ♥

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    1. It's pretty wonderful, isn't it! I'm always amazed at people who say "but you should spend time with REAL people." Last I knew, everyone I have contact with is a real person, with a real life, real concerns, real joys...what nonsense!

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    2. It is! And I am grateful! :)

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  4. I agree Kate, Minerva, and Jim. I am finally recovering from three years of debilitating illness. During that time I retired on disability and went from being busily involved with others every day to rarely seeing anyone except family, very close friends and health care professionals. As I finally found I could lift my head and began seeking a way to be creative again, I stumbled over a page of "you may be interested". It was Artists Journal Workshop, which lead me also to Sketchbook Skool and a chance to interact with others from all over the world.

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  5. Barbara, we are DELIGHTED you found us. It is a joy, isn't it? I can't be as active any more either, so this is just a delight.

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  6. And where I began my visual journal, Kate!! From making soap to collage to altered books to YOUR classes ... friends across the globe whom I've had the privilege and joy to visit, my best friend of 20 years met on line in a yahoo group, classes, etc. For all the hacks, whacks and werdos that also occupy the 'net, the grand magic and wonder of so MANY MORE awesome people, inspiration, friends, classes, learning -- have been incredible gifts. Living in the rural parts as I do, before retirement working over 10 hours a day and out of town, the Internet has literally saved my life ... I am ever grateful for technology and the connections it has provided!!!

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    1. Lin, I have found myself concentrating on the overwhelming goodness of people and the potential of the 'net SO much more than the downside. I'm delighted to have found you here as well.

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  7. I know my own experiences with social media have been phenomenal, and mirror many of yours!

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    1. Indeed, sweet girl, and I am so very glad for the opportunity to have gotten to know you so much better. I always knew how special you were, but I had no idea what a wonderful woman you had grown into, and how much more we would have in common.

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  8. Let me see if I can post now that you have changed the settings! This is only a test ;D.
    xoxo,
    L

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    1. I came back to read this post again, now that I have (more) time. I love your calm, simple voice here... just clear writing about matters of importance. Calm, as I said, but taking your time to say all that needed to be said about your relationship to this point with the online world. It's our story, too, if we are lucky. This blog is a great forum for you...much more expansive and less buzzy than Facebook and other social media. Thank you for doing this.
      xoxo,
      L

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    2. Thank you so much dear friend, I'm glad you came back to comment! I DID need to slow down, and think. I'd almost forgotten how good it feels to put words together. I need the balance. The unhurried feeling.

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