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.