Processed: week of July 14, 2014

The second in what will hopefully become a weekly series. Because of my professional and creative interests, I spend a lot of time on the internet. I see all sorts of interesting things while I’m there, and I bookmark them, but then I never go back. I feel like I half-read and half-see everything, and as a result my thoughts and opinions are only half-formed since I never give myself enough time to reflect on what I’m encountering online. This series is my effort to capture my train of thought throughout the week as I fall down my various online rabbit holes.

Bits and Bobs

Let’s just get these out of the way right off the bat. These are little tidbits I read that constituted a nice little break from the heavier stuff.

Here’s a cool little article about lessons one writer seems to have learned by the time she hit her 40′s. I turned 40 this year and I can check off every one of the realizations she lists as ones I, too, have had. Some of them I had long before now, but it’s a fun little reminder article nevertheless. I especially liked “If you worry less about what people think of you, you can pick up an astonishing amount of information about them.” So true. When I was younger, I spent so much time wondering what I was like in the eyes of the person sitting across the table from me that I didn’t have much time to consider what they were like. Consequently I made some poor character judgements. I’m happy to have largely gotten away from that bit of behavior.

I know last week I said I hate list pieces, but I think that’s not actually true. A truer statement would be that I dislike thrown together articles of any sort, and oftentimes list pieces fall into that category. But there are good bits of writing online that happen to contain lists. Here’s one of them. It’s another reminder piece, and there’s some good stuff in there. (I call something a reminder piece when it’s a bit of writing that tells us stuff we already know but tend to forget in the hectic day-to-dayness of everything, such as “self-care is important, because without it you cannot properly care for others.”) My fave in this one is #8, as this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately in relation to Facebook:

If you had a million dollars in cash under your mattress, you would check it regularly and take precautions to insure it is safe. The one possession you have that is more important than money is time. But you don’t do anything to protect it. In fact you willingly give it to thieves. Selfish people, egotistical people, negative people, people who won’t shut up. Treat your time like Fort Knox. Guard it closely and give it only to those who deserve and respect it.

Yes. Thank you for the reminder and the affirmation that the decision I’m in the process of making regarding my use of Facebook is the correct one.

Death is Everywhere

At least it is in my newsfeed on Facebook, and I’m okay with that. My interests lie in linking my artistic talents and my fascination with cultural attitudes about death, so over the course of any week I naturally read quite a bit about death, grief, cemeteries, and mortuary practices. This article talks about how you shouldn’t try to “solve” someone’s grief. I agree with the premise; I know through personal experience that grief is something that settles into your bones and transforms you in ways you can’t anticipate. Although its shape might change over time, it never goes away. Although I enjoyed the article, I did have a problem with the author’s statement that “the griever, on the other hand, knows that their grief is not something that can be fixed. They know there is nothing wrong with them.” That may sometimes be true, especially if the griever has experienced grief from loss before, but if it’s someone’s first time mourning someone, they might not actually know that what they are experiencing isn’t something that can be fixed. That’s where things can go especially wrong, because if the person is unfamiliar to grief and experiencing unrelenting sorrow, they may begin to feel that something is very wrong with them because the sorrow is not getting better or going away. I guess the moral of all of that we should never make assumptions about what others understand or feel, and that more education about healthy approaches to grief is needed.

I also read a New Yorker piece titled “How To Tell Someone That She is Dying.” I guess I was expecting a fair amount from the article because of the source, but I’m sad to say I was let down. It wasn’t really about how to tell someone they’re dying. Instead, the author simply transcribed a recorded conversation between an oncologist and his patient, and used the conversation to illustrate his point that doctors and patients should work together as a team to decide the right course of action. It’s very clearly an excerpt from the author’s book, because it does not stand well by itself. Too bad.

To lighten things up a bit, check out this cool cemetery on Molokai, with trees growing over crypts. I wish it was public so I could visit it.

Randomness

This is kind of funny because I’m linking to this Atlas Obscura location not because I’m interested in going there, but because I’m intrigued by one of the pictures. In one of the photos a stalactite and its reflection on the underground pool make a form that looks to me like the ghost of a woman standing far back in the cave.

I’ve been spending a fair amount of time lately thinking about my relationship to the internet and social media, Facebook in particular. This week an article on how to leave Facebook properly showed up (in my Facebook feed, oh the irony) and gave me some more food for thought. I think it’s time, but I’ll probably be doing it differently than the author of the article suggested.

I’ve saved the best for last. I’m really enjoying this Vice series on Terence McKenna! For one thing, he totally reminds me of Dr. Jacoby from Twin Peaks and that is awesome. Secondly, he has some really great stuff to say. I like how his mind works. I’ll definitely be checking out the next installment.

 

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