I assigned my art classes one unplugged hour of free drawing this week. Their challenge is simple: unplug themselves from their cellphones, computers, televisions, iPods and mp3 players and BE in the silence. One hour. Sixty minutes. One page to fill with drawings and writings, fully alone with their own thoughts. I polled the students, “Who feels like they won’t be able to go for the full hour without texting someone?” A few girls in each class raised their hands and gave me looks that assured me that this challenge was asking rather a lot. More felt an hour without music would be an undoable task. Since I am a fellow Facebooker, an occasional tweeter, a blogger (in short, your average social media subscriber), I had the class raise their hands along with me and in solemn oath I pledged with them to abstain from the aforementioned addictions for one full hour as well. A few disclosed to me that they were likely to fall asleep during the hour if these were the stipulations and I began to think,
How very sad.
So I honored my pledge, creating the illustration you see above, and yet during its creation I found myself thinking, This will make an excellent blog entry, and yes, even beginning to formulate the unwritten thoughts in my head so I would be ready to type when the time at last came. It’s not hard for me to separate myself from the television, from my phone (I am now nearly used to never having service anyway), but computers are another story. I do love them. And I love Google. And I love Wikipedia, regardless of its accuracy. And I love blogs. I find it incredibly entertaining that I am researching and now reacting to social media addiction through a self-same venue. It will be interesting to see which of my students will actually complete the assignment.
Along a similar vein, I am in the throes of struggle, attempting to rid myself of my own addiction, which is Harry Potter novels on audio books. I listen to them on the way to and from work, when I clean, and as I am falling asleep. Sometimes at other, less socially acceptable times (like when my husband wants to talk to me).
Please know that I am fully aware of incredibly insane what you are about to read makes me.
It started like any other addiction, really. I liked to listen to the novels during long car rides to and from Austin. But it grew into something more consuming and sometimes annoying. (At least, I’m sure it is annoying to those around me or who speak to me, as Harry Potter is always a ‘Go-To’ on my list of topics to discuss when the conversation becomes stale. It’s like I can’t even help it. Potter Puke of the Mouth.) It was nice to know, driving to school the first few days when my job was still new, that even though I was facing surly and skeptical teenagers, Harry Potter was off somewhere with Voldemort after him, or else battling blast-ended skrewts. But it became a problem as I began to repeatedly reference character quotes in every day conversation and dream about dementors. May I submit this tidbit for your consideration? I included not zero, not one, but TWO Albus Dumbledore quotes on my ‘Meet the Teacher’ PowerPoint presentation that I showed on the first day of school. Let that roll around in your brain for a moment.
Obviously, the time has come for aggressive action. I’d say I’m a good… six months into heavy addiction. Case in point – I did not know who Kescha was (still wish I didn’t though) until late summer because the radio has only been on by accident since around April. That, coupled with the fact that I have not purchased a cd since… The Killers’ first album? inspired me to reawaken my love for music. During a moment of strength, I ventured to Amazon.com and purchased three cds: Sufjan Stevens Greetings from Michigan, Ingrid Michaelson Be Ok, and Britt Nicole Lost Get Found . They arrived a few days ago and I am already weaning myself from The Order of the Phoenix. I’m hoping that pumping my brain full with music of the above genres will accomplish three things.
1. Make me stop being the world’s weirdest addict
2. Renew my creative thinking (already happening – I have so much more time to think when my brain’s not full of flobberworms) and
3. Encourage me spiritually (it’s true, I now know that not only does the mouth speak from the overflow of the heart, but the nerd also speaks from the overflow of the audiobook)
It’s working so well that I’ve ordered three more albums: Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise, Amos Lee Supply and Demand, Rosie Thomas These Friends of Mine.
Wish me luck.