Friday, August 10, 2012

Some of you may have seen this already: "Going underground to get some writing done. Won't be answering emails, reading manuscripts or attending events of any kind for the next four weeks unless I've already agreed to it. Summer's almost gone and my opportunity for finshing some projects is rapidly fading. Figure if I say this out loud I might be able to stick to it. Sincerely, a friend." That was my status update a week ago. I haven't been on Facebook since then, just trying to sort through some things, but mostly trying to finish the first draft of my new novel.
In Person. (Sort of.)

It's been such a fantastic and busy summer--nicer weather than we've seen in years--and two book launches for Finton Moon, in St. John's in June and Halifax in July. Before that, there was the Atlantic Book Awards, which was extremely busy and distracting week. Before that, I was working on revisions for that novel pretty much since Christmas Day. Of course, that doesn't count the judging for writing competitions, mentoring, reading manuscripts, book signings, and various other writing-related activities.

So I decided, reluctantly, that I needed some time away from FB to just get some work done before the fall semester begins and I'm back teaching, which takes up nearly all my time when I'm doing it. I've been contracted to write stories and articles, and I do want to finish that novel (I've got around 300 pages written, but I've been at that stage for over a year now).

I don't miss Facebook. But I do miss my Facebook friends. Some of you, in particular, I miss the almost daily updates and bantering. I never realized how much a part of my life it had become.

Okay, well I did, actually. That's why I had to step away for a while: I knew exactly how much a part of my life it had become. And it will be again.

The thing is with Facebook--it's not about Facebook. It's about the people on there. It's easy to forget that sometimes. We tend to make the distinction between our "real" friends and our "Facebook friends," but I'm not so sure there's a difference. I see lots of conversations and support and arguments on there that I'm not sure would ever have occurred in real life.

Sure, it's nice to hold a baby in your arms, feel its squishy, soft little fingers in your own larger hands. It's good to give a hug or get -- nothing really replaces that. And it's great to have a beer with your buddies, have an all-night gab fest with an old friend in the soft light of your living room.

But that doesn't diminish the friendships we make with people we've never met in person. They touch our lives, our hearts, our souls and they challenge and engage our minds. If you don't believe me, try telling someone on your friends list that you don't want them around anymore. Just see if you don't hurt their feelings. Just try walking away from that with a clear conscience. Fact is, you risk the same emotional connection -- if not sometimes a little more -- with your on-line friends. You risk the same kind of falling out (believe me, I've had those) and you risk the out-loud laughter (not the fake LOL thing that I can't stand--but the real stuff).

Anyway, I could go on and on, but I won't.

I'm not making much progress on the novel -- not yet anyways. But I will. Working on some stories and articles first. I'll bet some of you were silly enough to think, "Oh good for Gerard--taking a break from Facebook must mean he's taking a break, enjoying life." I wish that were true. I mean, yes, I'm enjoying life--but that wouldn't be true if I didn't enjoy work because these days, it's all work.

Not complaining. Just speaking the truth.

So back to work I go. This blog is part of that, I suppose. But I mostly just wanted to check in. Blogging is easier. I can control my time. I don't get involved in conversations and need only spend the 15 minutes or so it took to write this.

Just wanted to say "Hi!" and I'll be around again soon. Oh, and I'll likely be blogging again over the coming days and weeks. Keeps me in the game.

I miss the daily triumphs and tribulations, the wry witticisms and the useless talk about what's wrong with CanLit. I say that knowing I've engaged in such useless talk quite often myself and will do so again. It's all useless in a way. But then it's all good.

It really is.


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