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July 03, 2019


I’ve increasingly thinking of returning to blogging instead of FB, for similar reasons. But it feels lonely.

Hi dear Beth, this piece from Athens is lovely. It's great to hear you are leaving behind things that aren't feeling right. I've never ever been on Facebook, and so glad of it lately; I agree with all you say about it. I too feel bummed that Instagram is owned by FB and wonder about quitting it too. But I at least can skip the ads by never using the app -- I just use my browser to look at my feed and there are NO ADS! It's great. Plus the visual presentation is much simpler and nicer . . . the fonts, the peripheral stuff are more restful. I know that FB can still gather info and data on me from the browser connection, but at least they cannot target me with ads.

In my youth I read a very prescient sci fi short story about advertising. In the story (long pre-internet), the agencies had figured out how to make these hovering robotic ad-delivery things that would glom onto people and follow them around their daily lives. You could not escape. You'd be walking down the street and this robot globe thing would zoom in beside you and hover as you walked, shopped, ate at a café, etc., all the while delivering ditties and video ads. Wow, SciFi had it all figured out long ago. This nightmare scenario has been realized with even far worse aspects -- they have easily convinced US to carry the things around with us, and let the things read our thoughts, our conversations with others, our desires, our every glance of attention. What to do, because our lives would be so much poorer without your art, Beth, your thoughtful words, and your numerous gifts to the world. We just have to inhabit the pain of this present, keep making art, keep being compassionate, keep creating, keep writing letters, refuse to consume. Like, burn and keep shining anyway. You are the best exemplar.

Dear Rana, I'd be delighted to read your blog again! I agree with you that blogging feels lonely now, but, for instance, your comment here, and Laura's below, make it a lot less so. That's the problem with social media - it seems to satisfy our most basic desires for connection, conversation, community. I have used it for the same reasons, because I need all those things too, and get lonely. But it doesn't really work, except in a few cases. Most of the time I feel like I'm just wasting time, and the few gems are hidden on a huge beach of sand, so I feel worse than when I started. But my main reasons are political. At least I own my own domain, my blog is my space. I'll still use FB and Twitter to drive traffic there.

Laura, readers like you and comments like yours make the whole struggle worthwhile. Thank you so much for these words that make me feel better, as well as appreciated, and for reading here over so many years. I agree about Instagram in the browser -- at my studio I use it that way and it's a lot better. I don't think it's nearly as toxic as FB. What a scary sci fi story and yet it all came true! And we allow it so willingly, we are happy hosts for these parasites. The only solutions I can see are to use them back, for better purposes, or to refuse to participate all together.

Beth, I love the verdant richness in these images.

I am here via blogs and email, as ever, and I understand why you're stepping away from FB.

1) I very much like the depth you're putting into your works, particularly the fine, deft strokes of the foreground palm fronds!;
2) Having given up the newspaper because I wasn't comfortable with Business as Usual after they laid off my friends and former co-workers wholesale, I found I wanted FB for the news my online friends curate for me. As a matter of principle, I follow some people I don't agree with, but I try to avoid pointless arguments unless they have gone completely off the rails and there is a demonstrable truth to share.
3) why not ask Jon to post a link to your latest posts; you can capture the audience without exposing yourself ...

Yeah, FB kinda sucks, but almost all of my relatives and friends are there, so I'll maintain a presence there. Lately I've been posting longer pieces and essays on Substack. No ads at all, it's free, and I even have a few paying subscribers. I was attracted to the site, which makes money by extracting a percentage of sub payments, because a few writers I admire have Substack pages. Then there is MeWe, a potential replacement for FB. A few of my FB contacts are trying it out. BTW, I love your watercolors; thanks for posting them. My talents are more literary and musical, but I'm a fan of the various graphic arts.

good for you. FB is a cesspit and i can only wish for more people to take a principled stand like yours.

i still read blogs, although i write less, and i find that putting more time into working with girl scouts lets me spend less time thinking about the world's renewed march into the hell of fascism.

today we are concerned with how to adjust our camp procedures so as not to disturb a hawk with a new chick in a nest. it's not much, but it's something.

I understand about the issues with FB. I wish I didn't have to use it. I also do LinkedIn. But I'm not on them every day. Doesn't make a difference to my business if I post every day, so why do that? I did just see a petition asking Instagram to not allow pictures of animal abuse, so stuff seems to be on lots of platforms. I don't twitter and I don't use pinterest. I don't know how people who do all the social media have time for anything else.


Another instrument might be a step too far but when it comes to singing do you distinguish between music that's comparatively easy to absorb and that that is much harder? I realise there is a chasm of competence between us but that point arose at this week's lesson. V, my teacher had split Hugo Wolf's "Nun wandre Maria" into two halves and this week I found out why. The second half is a mass of complexities and subtleties; I thought I had a working knowledge of it - enough to sing it through and simultaneously peck away at the difficulties - but after a mere twenty minutes it became obvious I hadn't grasped Wolf's basic aims. I asked V if we should put the piece aside for a while but she said - clear-voiced - she thought I could do it. But that, for the moment, I should confine my efforts to our shared lessons and not work on it alone at home. Something of a compliment but I'm well aware it will be a tough slog. I suspect you are able to handle all types of new music at the same rate of comprehension. If not it might be an option for your newly found spare time.

I sympathise with you and your correspondents regarding FB morality. Two or three years ago I decided to open an FB account, but twenty minutes later when I'd done so and discovered the full horror of its nature I hurriedly disabled it. The difficulty involved in disabling it seemed to confirm my reaction had been correct even though there were those at the time who rated me a wimp.

I hop off social media for all of July and August (your blog is an exception.) My reasons are similar to yours, but instead of a "to do" list (learn this, improve that) I want to take my time to follow my whims. Last week I cooked dinner at midnight for a guest and realized I had not done that for decades!

The notion of "productivity" is what lured people to social media to begin with: instead of writing individual letters, I can just post on FB and all my 'friends' will see it.

It's so nice to look back and see that I've made a departure. And you've made several, including the planned ones. Thinking of that fork-in-the-road sign I see when I don't park at airports -- "Departures" / "Arrivals" -- I think I've made lots of the former without making perhaps any of the latter. And here I agree with Paul: "but I follow after . . ."

Kia Ora Beth,
I was off Facebook late last year for about 3 months. I came to realize it is just a merry go round we can get off and on as it suits. It does allow me to stay in contact with my mother who is 91 years old, and a few other important peeps back in the states.
I miss the "old days" of blogging when there was a real sense of community and such a variety of wonderful words and photos to peruse. The one thing I do detest about FB is the fact it has really seemed to shorten attention span. The sound byte quality to posting is very unsatisfying.
I will be sure to stop by here and see what you are up to in the coming future. Kia Kaha e hoa.


Just went back and read your batch of watercolor posts--lovely to see you embarking on something new and then adjusting what exactly it is you are doing... I find that I follow more visual artists on blogs than writers, and perhaps there is reason. Certainly it's interesting to see visual progress linked to commentary. Or maybe it's just that I have a lot of friends who paint and draw. And it's especially interesting to see people become more themselves in their art, and to observe both false starts and growing freedom and fluidity.

I have cut back on social media, but I often use the messaging function on facebook, and I certainly use it to publicize upcoming work. It's not clear how a writer would replace that. One of your friends here talked about Substack as a place for writers, and I am sure there are other modes I don't know at all.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.