August 19, 2010

Fall Clearance and About Face

The shortening of days and the hint of coolness in the air is a time for sweeping, harvesting and storing. It is as if a certain circadian rhythm clicks in and with it a desire to prepare resources for the winter months ahead. Winter. When days are dark, creatures move more slowly or hibernate. The time to have a reserve of strength and material resources.

Perhaps there is some logic to cleaning out the studio and processing supplies in the late summer/early autumn. It is preparation for a time when commitments are many and available hours to complete them are few. So it is better to have the parts for an art work ready for assembly then to slog through inhospitable weather to create something new on a deadline while nursing a cold. Just the facts of life. Fall is the time to repair, restore and re-evaluate. The overriding order of the season is to let go of what is not being used well and therefore not contributing to an artist's productive life. The alternative is to fix it into something viable. Use it or lose it.

In terms of material good, this means letting go of an inherited kiln I have that sports a four pronged outlet not usable in my present studio electrical system. It means jettisoning any broken equipment that cleaning ferrets out, sharpening the dull stuff, and cleaning off the rusted tools.

This year my sweeping hs been extended into cyberspace. The "delete" and "unsubscribe" buttons there have been seeing a lot of action as of late. There were the networking sites I rarely used, too many newsletters that I don't have time to read, companies that I rarely purchase materials from and surveys that I never take. Clearing out cyber clutter was a necessary part of staying focused for me. I do have a particularly low tolerance for this kind of clutter because while veteran multi-taskers might be capable of selecting their focus, I can easily be distracted by information that obscures or hides more salient or urgent messages. I find it somewhat discombobulating, for instance, to find a grant application deadline or a reminder about where and when I might need to show up for a job sandwiched between an importunate call to take dietary supplements I don't want or a notice that so-and-so is now connected to so-and-so and that I should know that they are now happily exchanging virtual vegetables.

In the midst of my exhilarating clean up of the e-universe I found that everything but Facebook was easy to eliminate. Facebook seemed decidedly obstinate when it came time for the recycle bin. Indeed, they put me on a two-week waiting period for the "processing" of my request to delete my profile (Since they apparently feel that they are considerably more necessary to existance than all the other networks that allow immediate deletion I have decided to honor them as a subject for an upcoming blog). So I've marked the date of my release from Facebook on my claendar and calling it Facebook Liberation Day. As part of my independence day celebration maybe I should through open the gates and liberate the rest of the millions that still reside in Facebook Detention - something like the storming of the Bastille perhaps?

It is amazing what an institution looks like depending upon which face you see it from. Heads when you are a part of it and Tails when you exit. Being on the outside looking in, Facebook users do look like they are incarcerated. What would hapen if they were "released" en masse?

Go down Moses, let my facebook friends go. Free them from their tethers to Farmville plantations where they labor without compensation. Release them from service to market research without pay. The gates are open! Run away! Run! Go!

Seriously though, I am certain that many people find social networking sites such as Facebook enjoyable and entertaining and that some might actually find it useful. But I have often heard people tell me that they felt "pressured" to join and then "pressured" to stay. For this latter group I would say that feeling pressured is not a good sign. As a brief public service upon which I will expound later I would like to remind the reluctant participants that they do not have to join Facebook and that they won't really lose much by not staying. In fact there is much to gain from not being there with improved focus and more time to devote to better things.

For myself, it is enough to keep my real space swept up and organized without having to sweep up the virtual world as well.

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