Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Upside of Offline

If I haven't said it to you personally, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year. Oh, and Happy Birthday if it applies. Yeah, I've been gone awhile.

If you're familiar with the blog, you know by this post that my work life basically stopped on November 13th. When my friend's son landed in the ICU, all of us rallied around trying to support them as they went through a difficult time. I've said recently that it was a lot like the feeling you get when you're riding in an airplane. We all know it won't make a difference, but it seems that just by concentrating and wishing hard, you can keep the plane in the air. Or keep your friend's son from dying.

Well, whether it was the cumulative brain power of all of their friends and family or (far more likely) the amazing efforts of the hospital ICU team, I'm happy to say that RJ's tumors are gone and he's currently at home recuperating before his next round of chemo. He feels icky, but he's actually doing really well and the prognosis is very good.

As things eased at the hospital, we moved to our new house and painted, fixed up and rented our old house and the holidays became a blip in the rear-view mirror (yes, I'm one of those people who wants the tree down on the 26th - family pressure kept it up until yesterday) I started to wonder what was going on in the rest of the world. Since mid-November I haven't really blogged, tweeted or Facebooked and it's been an interesting experience.

My lovely and talented friend Daisy Whitney dropped by the other day and in talking to her, I realized just how unplugged I've been. Morris Awards? The nominee list came out? Really? Who made the bestseller list last week? Editorial Anonymous is coming back? John Green loved Anna and the French Kiss? I didn't have a clue about any of it.

Sure, I've been feeling a little guilty about not being around. The three of you (okay, I know it's really four, but I try not to count my mom) who regularly read the blog must have been really bored seeing the same post week after week. I felt so bad every time I'd get a new follower on Twitter - they probably unfollowed this mostly absentee writer before the day was over. And I didn't get to congratulate several friends whose books came out in the past month.

I started paying a little more attention the past couple of days - getting on Facebook and Twitter and Google searching my name. I found some great new reviews and my book on several end-of-the-year lists. That was all cool. But then I found something that I'd blissfully forgotten about. Namely, that pit-of-the-stomach disappointment when my book didn't appear on a certain list or in a blog post about the reader's favorite 2010 books. The tinge of the green-eyed monster that tends to show up when someone loves a book that doesn't happen to be mine. That sense of unworthiness and self doubt I start to get when I read about someone else's amazing book. And Lord, let's not talk about the ill-fated foray to Amazon.

Yeah, I realized that I didn't miss any of that at all. I've started to wonder if there is such a thing as a happy medium. Can I go online and interact with my friends and readers and keep up with news of the writing world without getting all wrapped up in the self-indulgent stomach-clenching comparisons it usually brings? I honestly don't know.

If I were a resolution making person, I'd probably resolve to not go online so much. But soon the kids are going back to school and I'm going to get my real life back. Sitting here in my kitchen all by myself gets lonely and Twitter and Facebook make me think that there are other people out there. Basically, I need the interaction. Maybe I can just change the way I react to online news.

But I doubt it.


Robin Mellom said...

I'm so glad to hear he is recovering. Whew!

You'll find a good balance with the online stuff--that's my prediction. (Then you can teach me how.)

Also, I've missed you. :(

Elle Strauss said...

It sounds like the green eyed monster is ever present, no matter where you are on the journey. thanks for being so candid. I'm trying to find my happy medium as well. It's a challenge, that's for sure!