One morning last winter I came downstairs to a fresh pot of coffee and the news that I had joined Facebook. My husband had given up suggesting and had just made it happen. Initially, I was in shock. I looked at it and wasn't sure what to do with it. He'd picked a few friends for me and to say that the selections was random would be an understatement. I decided it was a grand mistake and moved on with my day. The second day he was a bit more insistent, was bold enough to go to the "I dare you" phase of talking me into an idea. I added a couple of friends of my own choosing. The word got out that I was about. This tsunami of comments and posts headed toward me. This I didn't know what to do with it all. I almost quit you forever. Facebook, you knew all this sudden activity was bad for me and you put me in stasis for a week and this turned out to be a good thing. It gave me a chance to absorb some of what was coming at me. I began to see all the visual input as a good thing. I had little conversations with old friends that I generally only got to see once a year. I began to learn the lingo and make fewer mistakes. I discovered that my husband had been right - it would be good for me to use you Facebook to connect with people and feel less isolated. I even admitted as much to him. As you can see he is a very serious person whose idea of right and wrong is quite impeccable.
So now I am a Facebook person with a ton of new friends and more visual stimulation than I can handle. In terms of keeping me up to date with all the new trends in the art and craft world it has been great. Connecting with calligraphers, bookbinders, tanglers and illustrators all over the world has lifted my spirits. I have more quotes and cartoons saved than you would believe and have even smiled at one or two things that involve cats. All this is good but to be honest about six months into our relationship I began to wonder if there was more.
And there was! The first 'more' came along serendipitously and I have written about it before. I saw a posting about a new group that was beginning called Square One where there was going to be a weekly focus tangle and a real commitment to getting back to the basics of the Zentangle practice. I joined up, got out my tiles and the brain cells started firing again. This continues to be a wonderful, focused group relationship that keeps my creative juices flowing by challenging me to think outside of the box.
After the calligraphy conference in Dallas last summer I realized that it would be really beneficial to have some input on a project I was starting to work on that involved creating my own alphabet. As you know Facebook, this is a pretty narrow field of interest. One morning I had a brain wave. I set up a secret group on Facebook and asked a few of my colleagues to look at some images of my initial foray into the alphabet design. I'm grateful they said yes and took some time to look at my roughs and give me suggestions. They posted images of work they'd seen and historical examples of styles that were very helpful. Together we created an album of images that I go back to frequently as I work on my project. This was so simple to do and so beneficial for me. I've started working on a finished project and have the first section of a major manuscript book underway. If it was going to have a wordy foreward I'd give you a credit Facebook.
This winter I have had the pleasure of working with a small group of tanglers on a year long journalling project. We limited the numbers and kept the group secret and this was a good decision. As the weeks have gone by we have developed a real sense of community. We've gotten to know one another as we carefully feel our way into creating our own styles of journalling and responding to the world. It feels safe somehow to share with these people, most of whom I wouldn't recognize if I met them on the street. This was so simple to set up and so simple to use and adds so much to my daily practice of art. Don't ever stop supporting groups like this Facebook.
So here is to Facebook. The next time someone tells you that you are a waste of time you can tell them from me that it ain't necessarily so! Like everything else in life it all depends on how you use it!