Social Media Killed My Curiosity About Authors

When I was a child I daydreamed all the time about talking to my favorite writers.

While I was toiling for hours over my own horrible manuscripts, I would wonder to myself what wisdom they would impart onto me if I ever mustered up the courage to write to them.

Writers back then were these mystical figures I imagined as silhouettes, tapping away at a typewriter in a clocktower alone all day everyday.

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Their lives were a mystery to me and the only connection I had to them was their work. I could only speculate as to what they did all day, what their hobbies were, what their childhood was like.

Now that I’m adult we have social media, and authors can communicate directly with their readers (and vice versa) at the push of a button…….

I wish they could go back to being silhouettes in clocktowers.

Perhaps it’s because I’m an adult now (technically), but I’ve lost that desire to know more about the people that create the works I read. In fact, I seldom follow well-known authors on any social media platform.

When it comes to famous authors, their social media platforms are usually divided into one of two categories: generic/bland or annoying/repetitive.

The authors in the first camp usually post motivational platitudes about determination and never giving up on your dreams. This on, the surface, isn’t a bad thing, but when that’s all they ever post it’s like “are you a real person, or are you an AI that’s been programed to monitor human behavior?”

The authors in the other camp are the ones that believe that because they are the creators of a universe that doesn’t exist, they know absolutely everything about everything and must, therefore, inform the poor plebeians about what to think. In addition, it would seem they have to tell their readers absolutely everything that is going on with their lives.

EVERYTHING.

“Getting my nails done!”

“Some guy at the mall said something rude to me.”

“Obsessing over (insert popular show here)!”

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I miss being able to imagine what my favorite authors were like because the authors themselves became part of the fantasy. They were just as metaphysical as the characters they wrote. They were untapped pools of mystery and wisdom.

Now that you can learn just about anything there is to know about a person with a quick Google search, the desire for knowledge is gone.

Nobody is interesting anymore.

They’ve become too accessible.

Perhaps I’m just longing for the days when I was more young and naive to the ways of the world. Back when I thought writers were these heroes of myth that brushed hands with the gods and had their lives together. Now that I’m older and social media has pulled back the curtain, I’ve been exposed to the naked truth. Or at least the naked, slightly airbrushed truth.

Writers are mortal.

They’re people with flaws and stupid opinions.

And those stupid opinions might discourage me from reading their books.Books I might need those in my life without realizing it.

As such, I choose not to peek behind the curtain.

I think I’ll stick to my clocktower.

Fighting the Apathy: a Writer’s Senioritis

There are two weeks of school left before summer vacation.

Normally, I would be in full-fledge panic mode, but seeing as this is my 5th year in college I give myself a slap on the back just for showing up to class.

I’ve changed my major two or three times which has hindered my progress quite a bit.

Many of my classmates are blowing up Facebook with pictures of themselves, holding a shiny new degree and talking about their wonderful job opportunities while I’m curled in a fetal position because the job I want requires another degree.

I admire the nontraditional and grad students that go back to school either to get a Ph.D, or a degree that will help them secure a better job.

I also admire people that can do the same job for 30 years and not wistfully daydream about what bleach tastes like.

How do you do it?

After circling the same bowl for half a decade, I want to leap out and explore new surroundings. Even if I just wind up getting eaten by the cat or flushed down the proverbial toilet.

I love learning new things, but I’m tired of the too familiar surroundings. I want a change.

I’ve only dipped my toe into the real world briefly, and it gave me a few startling revelations. Nonetheless, I’m stuck at the bus station of life and I’m ready to arrive at my destination. I may leave a bag or two behind, but I’m ready.

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I Admit It, I Like Coloring Books

When I was a kid, I didn’t care about coloring books.

My mom bought them in bulk because she heard coloring could help improve my garish handwriting, but I hardly even touched them. 

For the most part, I’d color half a page, then get bored and draw things in the margins. I couldn’t really get into the whole coloring-within-the-lines deal. I just didn’t see the point in it. 

It seemed like many children felt the same way as, for a while, coloring books seemed to disappear into the ether for several years.

However, over the last few months, I’ve been bombarded with them.

When I went to Barnes and Noble about two months ago, they were everywhere. Only this time, they were being targeted towards adults.

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They featured Native American art, Scandinavian art, Celtic art, animal art, Indian art, etc. Some of them even came with their own colored pencils. They bore titles like “Art Therapy” “Stress Relief” and “Creative Coloring Inspirations.”

Inwardly, I groaned. As far as I could see, this was yet another attempt on my generation’s part to infantize themselves.

Being an adult is hard so let’s sit around the floor and break out a box of crayons. We’ve been saying things like this for years, but I never thought it would actually become a thing.

I anticipated more backlash regarding this movement. I searched the web for cries of “hippy dippy bullshit.” However, most were surprisingly silent or encouraging on the topic of this trend.

Furthermore, many psychological experts have fully supported the coloring book movement, and have provided sufficient reasons as to why coloring is beneficial to peoples’ mental health. Coloring, they said, helps alleviate stress and has proven to be a healthy activity for those with dementia or alzheimer’s.

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The more cynical part of my brain was weakened after reading some of these articles, but still not completely satisfied. It was just the principle of the matter. Coloring is for children. Adults should do other activities to relax. Then again, I thought, some of the things adults do to unwind aren’t always healthy.

Thoughts of coloring began to seep into my brain like some sort of virus.

I caught myself thinking about coloring while listening to an audiobook, or sitting in class. Hmmm, it’d be cool to be able to do something with my hands while I listen. Like many from my generation, I find it difficult to devote all my concentration to a single task. Maybe coloring would allow me to satisfy my ADHD side, while also permitting me to retain what is being said.

One fateful morning while I was gift shopping for a friend, I finally caved.

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I browsed the broad selection of adult coloring books until I found one that looked interesting. It was more expensive than I had hoped, but I tried to console myself with the possibility that it might be worth it. There were pictures of animals with intricate patters woven into their faces, menageries of fishes and sheep, dragons too.

After purchasing some colored pencils at Target (and feeling as thought I’d brought great shame onto my family), I went home to test out this new craze.

To my utter dismay, I found that I enjoyed it.

I liked performing the menial task of filling in the blank lines with color while listening to audio dramas. I enjoyed the waxy smell of crayons and how simple it all was. I found a small sense of accomplishment after each project was finished as well.

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More than that, I found my retention was greater while listening to audiobooks and coloring than when I was just sitting in my chair or playing games on my iPhone.

I’m not addicted to coloring. When the day has been hard I don’t feel the call of Crayola the same way alcoholics might their booze, or druggies their narcotics. I can’t see myself sitting around a table with my friends, coloring in pages of animals as we talk about our days.

However, I don’t think it’s something to be ashamed of anymore.

It’s better for your mind than TV and it’s definitely healthier than drugs or alcohol.

If someone approached me and told me that what I’m doing is juvenile, then I couldn’t really disagree with them. Afterall, I came from the same mindset.

But at the end of the day, does this activity really hurt anyone?

I, personally, don’t believe so.

My handwriting still sucks, though.

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