Friday, 25 October 2013

The Book of Faces and The Web of the World


ALL THOSE FACES! The face is my favourite part of a human to paint. Into it I can paint all the soul and sorrow and stories and subtlety of being alive. Collecting together many of the faces I have painted over the years like this feels like calling a gathering in the village square of my imagination, and it feels too like seeing my own soul reflected in the eyes of this odd throng of characters looking back at me. Despite the many many other ways we can communicate with one another these days, nothing will ever better face-to-face contact as the most real way of speaking soul-to-soul to another human being.


How strange then, to find myself and this ancient ochre-hearted company of mine with a page in the Book of Faces. I have avoided joining facebook staunchly, vociferously and indignantly up until now. There are many reasons to hate it - it is ugly, invasive, corporate, virtual, unethical... but yet, everyone is on it. If you don't belong, you are shut out of a gated community where everything is happening. And I have noticed a certain amount of tumbleweed blowing through these halls since facebook became the place to be.


I have a complex love-hate relationship with the internet. I am of the last generation who didn't have it during their growing up years. Now it is so ubiquitous that governments talk of high-speed broadband in remote areas being a human right(!). Clearly this web of uncountable things that we have strung about the world is full of wonderful, rich and interesting matter. It enables self-employed artists like me to make a living from their work in any place, by putting them in touch with the very people who will love what they do. It fosters connections which continue in the real world and which could not have been made in any other way. It is a true network and it is infinite pathways to inspiration.


But do you not also share my frustration and loathing for the way the internet has squirmed into our every minute, addicting us to updates, and overloading us with eons more information each second than we are naturally made to process in a lifetime? Even if we ignore the endless shite and horror that the internet contains, it is still spilling over with wonder. There are so many beautiful things out there, genuine heartfelt pieces of writing, ideas and images - too many - so we have learnt to skim, to take in only the bubbles from the top of every slowly crafted brew. And I for one feel this is not a true and considered honouring of these beautiful works, not to mention of the eyes and hearts and souls and bodies of the people who are consuming these streams of information every millisecond, utterly removed from the place and land where they sit, out in the ether somewhere, following a trail whilst their extremities get gradually colder and they forget to eat lunch.


I have a theory that using the internet occupies a very particular place in us. I think it takes the place of dreaming. Not night-dreaming, but that very shamanic soul-travelling that we all do to a greater or lesser extent when our mind wanders, when we create art, when we day-dream, imagine, journey in our minds and spirits to elsewhere, elsewhen. Internet-travelling uses the same metaphorical muscle I think, but is utterly hollow in comparison because it is not creative in that same sense. It is not magical. And worst of all it replaces the dreaming.


Do not think that I am railing blindly and utterly against this technology. I am not saying that magic doesn't happen as a result of online discoveries, meetings, connections. I am a Luddite with a dilemma. The internet democratizes information like never before, it enables me to create my unusual art and sell it direct to folks who are moved by it, without the need to convince somebody with money/gallery/publishing house to endorse me. I am stuck between a very real desire to live off-grid in a hut in the woods with a brambled but well-trodden path the only means of communication, and the fact that I live in a world that requires us to pay for things and therefore requires me to earn money. I hope that my internet work has integrity and genuinely touches people in a tangible, honest way, and I am not ready to scurry off to the woods just yet. So, throwing in my pounds with my pennies, I have reluctantly and contrarily decided to join facebook, since that's where everyone is! 


We actually experimented with getting rid of the internet from our house altogether this year. We were fed up with evenings on laptops, and the way our home life was peppered with constant checking and replying and updating and with how our eyes and shoulders and souls felt after hours in front of a screen. So we cancelled our broadband connection. (That was quite a funny conversation - the phone company representative unable to actually comprehend what we were asking - "We'd like to cancel our broadband package" ... "You are changing service providers?" ... "No - we just want to turn the internet off" ... "You are transferring to another company? Sorry to see you go, can I ask why you wish to leave us?" ... "No, we just don't want the internet any more!" ... - confused silence -)
In return we gained quiet evenings at home, more vivid dreams, baths and cooking, reading! We re-learned the ancient art of sitting staring into space, which I can report is much more restful after a busy tiring day than checking your emails for the seven hundredth time. 
We learnt how ingrained the internet was in our lives once it was no longer there. There was an itch that we couldn't scratch. (Except if we stood in a certain spot where there was an annoyingly useless wifi signal from next door!) 


We didn't disappear from our online lives, because we decided to use our "work hours" to use the internet elsewhere. We began by using cafes with wifi, which resulted in rather a lot of coffee purchased and hurried distracted dealings with all the internet required of us. This was not ideal. So we moved our online work to our studios where we spent the day working, but left at the end of the day for a laptop-free home. 
But that didn't quite work either. The fact remains that if you are engaged in the online world with your work, you need to be there a lot. You need to keep feeding the beast that feeds you. We ended up driving to and from our studios more than necessary whenever a quick search or email reply was needed. We tried writing lists on pieces of paper of Things To Do On The Internet Next Time We're In Town. But invariably you'd forget something, and there was more on that list than you could realistically do in just one or two allocated days a week. We had to face up to the fact that we live in a digitally connected world. This is the way of things for us for now until we cut all the wires, tie a handkerchief to the end of a stick and head into the forest. Perhaps the wires will be cut for us, and then what will we do?! Does anyone have an address book made of paper any more? Do you know where all your friends actually live? Could you find them in real geography if the internet disappeared?


I speak from a concerned and somewhat frightened yet simultaneously grateful and amazed viewpoint. If we use this thing, we still need to remember the land on which we stand, remember our bodies and the faces of those we love. I think we should be frightened that all intercity trains these days are filled with blue-faced passengers, every one of them swiping their fingers across a tiny screen, oblivious of the people around them acting identically. If we use this thing, then we should use it to find other faces in the throng and go and really touch them, in real life. Arrange it so that you can look into their real eyes and hear their real stories. This amazing network can be used for proliferating inane fluff or it can be used to organize and gather for good and real reasons, and to stir souls. 


Please do not think I am devaluing my connection to you, dear reader. Quite the opposite. I know and love the fact that every one of you is a real person with a real, and deliciously unknown and different life from mine going on around and in you as you sit in front of your screen there reading these words. My words of caution, celebration and confusion are aimed rather at this thing in between us, which I cannot touch or name or understand, but without which we wouldn't be connected, yet it also causes us not to tangibly connect. 


Actually, I'm quite enjoying leafing through the Face Book. It's a strange world, but you all seem to be there, so I have come to join you. I'll be posting pictures of works in progress and offering for sale little spur-of-the-moment paintings and drawings which might not make it outside those blue walls. Please pull up a log, help me find my feet in this new and unfamiliar territory, it'll be nice to see some familiar faces there. 
 

54 comments:

zooms said...

Thanks Rima, you have described exactly how I feel about the internet, good and bad, but it is lovely sitting on a little log at your FB page and delights me no end when I see a new, magical blog post from you arrive.

Anthropomorphica said...

I am with each and every word here Rima, I loathe facebook, I loathe that next to my computer is a beautiful pile of books, sadly neglected and that yes, instead of staring into the wild unknown I rush to check my comments... I too love the warm, imaginative and creative community I have met there, the kindred spirits I write to regularly and would spend hours talking to if they were not hundreds or thousands of miles away.It is indeed a blessing and a curse...Best to take all the wonders it offers but be mindful of the monster munching up your shadow.

Heather said...

Oh how I agree with you Rima, and how well you have expressed what so many of us must feel. One of my daughters did the necessary to get me onto Facebook and I do enjoy some aspects of it, but find there is much that I can do without. However, many of my bloggy 'friends' are there too so that helps. Can I say 'Welcome'? I look forward to meeting you there. Your painted faces are wonderful - I find faces so hard to draw.

Laetitia said...

Totally agree with you Rima !!! Most of artists can relate to every single word you are writing here. I'm the same age as you and I share the same love/ hate with internet but it can be wonderful if used wisely and in a limited way, and turn into reality .
(not so sure facebook is such an obligation though, people who follow you and like you work would find you anyway...)

Rags Edward said...

I've been lurking around these corners for some time now - time to comment. This is gorgeously stated and ironically obvious. It is the same push and pull that I experience in my life. I am a hand book binder, a musician, poet and book/paper artist. I also keep a journal...a real book! I am convinced that being a spectator of the world for so many hours a day (out of necessity and out of pleasure)makes the hours of our lives pass to swiftly. Therefore, like you, I have been trying to focus my internet use - and spend most of my time in analogue pursuits. Painting, taking pictures, writing...trying very hard to learn to play the banjo, practicing the dulcimer and guitar. There's so very much to do that is REAL instead of solely watching others. Welcome to FaceBook - it took me years to concede - and I am strict about what I do here. It is a dilemma for all of us who want to participate but have lives full of wonderful and magical pursuits! Best and Cheers,
Rags

Chris said...

Everything you expressed so beautifully, concisely, I agree with, but this summary is perfect: "If we use this thing, then we should use it to find other faces in the throng and go and really touch them, in real life. Arrange it so that you can look into their real eyes and hear their real stories. This amazing network can be used for proliferating inane fluff or it can be used to organize and gather for good and real reasons, and to stir souls."

jinxxxygirl said...

I have often wondered aloud to husband what would people do with their free time if they no longer had the interent? That person standing in line....would she actually strike up a conversation with the person standing next to her?

It seems our minds have to be constantly entertained...theres no quiet moments....no moments to hear your own thoughts......Are we missing whole generations of dreamers?

Oh by the way Rima i DO have a paper address book.....BUT i did have a terrible time actually finding one at the store and ended up making one of my own.....and i do write paper letters.....and send them snail mail and decorate them with my artwork....

I understand your dilemma. But when you are trying to sell something you have no choice but to go where the people are...right?! Best of luck Rima! Loved looking at all your faces....my favorite remains Baba Yaga i believe is her name . She's beautiful with all those wrinkles....you did an amazing job! Hugs! deb

Sylvia Linsteadt said...

my dear Rima: all I can say is that this is visionary writing. Your words ring true to me on every level. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so eloquently and candidly, and, oh my, for this truly glorious array of storied faces! I've yet to join It... I've been blustering about the evils of it for so long I'd be downright embarrassed! :) But your joining is so careful, so thoughtful, as it should be, and I admire you for it! And yes, perhaps at a certain point joining in for the sake of your independent art and work is better than having to get a desk job eh? Funnily, as I was sitting around with tea one evening last week with Mark and Nao and Gus, they were saying Sylvia, really, you might need to get a business page on the FB for Gray Fox Epistles, and I hemmed and hawed and wrung my hands and objected. And then the next morning Nao said-- well if this isn't a sign, Rima has one...! Blessings to you in all you do dear friend. I'm so sure your use of FB will be just as it is meant to be used, at it's very best. Love Sylvia

Oya's Daughter said...

As an artist I see what you're saying, but as a disabled isolated person in a rural location who has only recently had a car or been able to drive, sometimes the Internet is the only world one has. And pressing my face to the computer screen to watch how life is lived while I was bedbound was the only to see life, and my world was richer for it.

If you've got legs, are healthy, are young, have friends, have family, then yes the world outside is good. But if you do not have any of these things...well, you'd never know there were other people out there with their faces pressed against the glass without the internet.

Monica of the Masks said...

Beautiful words (and faces) Rima, as always. When I saw your page on Facebook, I felt both joy to see you there, and a deep sentiment of "oh, no, not you as well!!!" as if you had just appeared next to me in the belly of a voracious and impartial monster, (which of course, you have). This monster has many tentacles, that once unleashed do worm and wriggle their way into one's life and mind in a way completely unrivaled by search engines, weblogs, and email. Once I felt such pride in my rejection of the previous dreamtime-eater, the television, but that monster was so weak and pale compared to the one that holds us in its belly now! Still, here I am aiding in the monsters consumption of your and my dream-times now. Perhaps it is time to dig out and dust off ink, parchment and quills, and while real-mail conduits still exist, to fan our luddite whims and inspirations in that fashion? Hard to make a living in that manner, but it would certainly be delicious tidbits for the dream soul.

Charlotte said...

It is a blessing: it has introduced me to you and numerous other magical artists. It has led me to books through recommendation I might not have read. It provides me with a window on the world that I can show to children who would otherwise be shut out.
It is a curse: it sucks time and swallows it whole. It becomes easier to live a life belonging to the aether and not reality. It makes it easy for unwanted attentions to invade your private spaces. I too am of the generation who lived with out it. I enjoy the pleasures it brings but loath the way it invades my life. I have long thought it a library that is badly catalogued but now feel it is a voice who has an unquestioned authority that is not always earned.
I too was late coming to Facebook and Twitter. The former was the only way to communicate with a colleague and the latter was at the invite of a much loved cousin. Both formats bring links I have enjoyed and at their best have revived a network of family and friends I might have lost otherwise.
But too often I find that I use the contacts to avoid tackling things that need to be faced. Working with young people I know how invasive it is and what a case of Emperor's new clothes it offers. Politicians think of IT as the salve for every sore and yet it has caused more problems than it has solved.
Yet I have enjoyed both your Book of faces and twitterings as much as I love reading your postings to the Hermitage. It is a genie out of it's bottle and like all Djinn the wishes it grants need to be used with caution.

Andy Letcher said...

Beautifully put x

christy said...

Your words and faces resonate with this fellow "child of the generation who grew up without internet." thank you so much.

Reifyn said...

Well, Rima, you have a lot of material there. I'm with you in most of it (I still have no Facebook page, and really am likely never to have--when people can't believe that, I quote Henry David Thoreau: "It is wise to avoid the beginnings of evil". Sometimes I never hear from them again).
For myself, the 'net in no way replaces DREAMING! That would indeed be a horror, and I'd have to get rid of the computer altogether. It actually helps my Dreaming to a great extent, because I get inspiration from it. But having serious injuries that are chronic and getting worse over time, I can't actually spend as much time in front of a computer as I used to. But it is invaluable, when I do get stuck inside the house long periods of time.
I think it's like any other tool--you have to use IT not let it use YOU. Sooner or later I'll get rid of all my larger corporate internet products though; I'm getting tired of them--always asking me to add my cell number or something & trying to accrue info about me...for goodness-knows-what purposes. Why I don't like Facebook: I'm supposed to give someone/thing the names of all my friends; where I live; my birthday & photos of everybody--that is NUTS!
Of course I know where all my friends live! I send them real, paper letters for time to time!
I just want you to remember, Rima, that one goes through different stages of life, and that one day you may change your outlook of use of technology. I know that if I live long enough, I will one day live in the hut in the wilderness again (it will have fowl's-legs and dance, I know that) and have no (or very little) technology. Sooner or later the human race will return to that anyway--I truly believe that. Meanwhile, at this stage of your life, you still have found great use for the 'net, and I'm glad we both have, since I've enjoyed your sites very much, as you are accomplishing so much that I'd like to again in life, and that is an inspiration to me. Thank you!

Niffy said...

Your words, as usual, speak volumes to me and I very much understand your push & pull relationship because I very much feel it myself. I've often said that if I did not live the life I have now, that I very well could have ended up a monk in the foothills of my beloved Laurentians.

It is a cycle, each cog on the wheel a necessary one to get to the next cog. The beauty of the internet is indeed that it omits the middleman, but the internet (and therefore our connection to each other) would not exist if there had been no middleman in the first place.

I resort to balance. May you find your balance as well.

Your portraitures have always drawn me in, eyes telling stories we long to hear, echoes from the past and the future. Simply beautiful.

Lori, the Eclectic Book Gatherer said...

Hello Rima, you put all this beautifully and I agree with you heartily. I also do not like Facebook, and only about a year ago finally set up a page just for my music site, but I do not have a personal Facebook site and that is fine with me, it's not a creative or artistic site, as we can't even design how it looks, so I am in wonder why people think it is so wonderful.
People make me nervous today when they have to be fussing with a gadget every moment, that quiet time of just sitting and thinking is very important, and our brains do just take in too much information all the time; yet I do love parts of it, like finding rare music or pictures and videos, that would keep me from being able to give it up! Best wishes, Lori

Karen said...

I feel the same. I have come close to deleting my facebook and twitter on many occasions. I don't because I need it. I need it to carry on making pennies, doing what I love and because I know after a few days I would miss the good things that I see and all the connections that amaze me still.
So, instead I just step back, go for a walk and take a couple of days away, then it's quite nice to come back.
It was good to see you on facebook. :)

Austin Hackney said...

"There are many reasons to hate it - it is ugly, invasive, corporate, virtual, unethical... but yet, everyone is on it"

So we must do what everyone else is doing.

People are on FB because they are sufficiently stupid to have been manipulated by corporate forces that do not have their interests at heart or they value the potential to promote their work there over every other ethical consideration.

The idea that 'we' can transform Facebook is a lie and you must know it.

The violence against women travesty and the beheadings as entertainment thing were the last straw for me.

The internet per se is just a lot of connected up computers and can be many things. Your internet world is as much in your own control as any other. But Facebook is just an evil zone in which there is no need to tread.

The only motives for staying there are ignorance - which is forgivable -and greed - which is much less so.

I loathe Facebook and I am so, so sorry that you are attempting to rationalise your involvement in this way.

It has caused me real sadness and it will diminish you. :(

In love,

Austin.

carorose said...

Yes, I agree with just about everything you have said but there is a little magic there if you look. It's a bit like that door at the back of the wardrobe. It comes and goes but if you see that door and push it open the magic flows in. Your facebook page is one of those door.

Valerianna said...

Seems to be THE dilemma of we earth rooted artists... I ask these questions frequently. I resisted Facebook until a July 2012... but see its value now along with its horrors.

Anonymous said...

I seriously hope you will not abandon this blog. I've seen it happen with other folks, who reluctantly join FB or Twitter, and then their blog just withers away. You have created a magical, wonderful place here, that *cannot* be replicated in any way on FB.

Catherine

Carmine said...

Rima, thank you so much for articulating and expanding upon some of my half-formed thoughts about the Internet. Of course without it I would not be reading your thoughts or sharing mine with you...but yet I feel so sad when I see so many people outside on a glorious day, walking along the lake and pushing their child in a stroller, and their eyes are continuously glued to their smart phones. No eye contact with their fellow walkers, no interaction with the beauty all around them--it's like they're not THERE. Sometimes it feels like I'm in a ghost country. I refuse to get a smart phone or send text messages. That said, I do spend far too much time online, much to my sorrow...I think you are right, we are inadvertently using up or destroying our dream spaces.

Vickie said...

expotential exposure facebook is, for good or ill I know knot, most likely both, double edged like the rest...

colourcottage said...

Facebook leaves me feeling as stupid as when watching tv (unfortunately on the latter subject, we do not agree in this house, no quiet winding down for me in the evenings unless I go sit in the hayloft).

I also fiercely refuse to get a smartphone until that's all they have. When I'm out, I'm doing other things, the internet can wait.

Bedford Gypsy said...

I like your version of face book, if it truly looked like that I might join, yes I do not belong to face book, I do have paper address books and I still write people paper letters.
Best of luck with Facebook and I hope it brings many more people in touch with your artwork. Don't get lost on there and forget the lonely bloggers

Betty said...

Rima I hope you will keep a little of your mystery and use Facebook as a door to your wonderful world of art - don't let it have the luxury of your beautiful work on full display - just a tempting link to your beautiful blog and creative world. Don't let it steal your thunder, it can be an entertaining circus but is full of clowns and needs a firm ringmaster. Betty

acornmoon said...

Nice to see you on FB Rima, next time I visit I will give you a wave. x

Nanita said...

I am 34 and I too belong to that last generation who grew up without the Internet. I was 21 when I got my first e-mail address for the sole purpose of keeping in touch with my loved ones while I went away on a year's students' exchange to Russia, and it was cheaper than calling home. I still get quite shocked when I realize how incredibly quickly this has invaded all of our lives, to the level of absolute absurdity and horror. I see children obsessed with Ipads and teenagers glued to their Iphones, and I feel the huge gap the Internet has created between our last "disconnected" generation and the ones immediately to follow. Such a very strange feeling. Sometimes I fear we're on our path to a dystopian future without realising it (and speaking of dystopias, I wonder whether you have read Margaret Atwood? I think you might appreciate her writings!) I wish you the best of luck, dear Rima, and I do hope so you will continue to write in this little magical realm that is your blog! Blessings,
Nanita

Rima Staines said...

Thank you all for your contributions to what is obviously a thorny issue in many hearts. The internet has got right in, eh?
I am glad this rung bells for so many, and that I am not alone in feeling this weird ambivalence without having an answer.

For those who fear I might abandon this blog for facebook - fear not - I won't! Facebook's just a door and a link to the more carefully-crafted things I put here and elsewhere. And a way to find people who might like them.

Reifyn - I don't argue that the internet replaces all our dreaming - just the dreaming we would have been doing at the time we are web-surfing.

Oya's Daughter - thank you for offering this viewpoint here; you are right - one of the blessings of the connection that the internet offers is for those who cannot meet people physically for whatever reason.

Austin - I am somewhat upset by your words. However vehemently someone may disagree with me, I would hope for them to offer courtesy in communicating their thoughts.
It's a shame you weren't able to be polite. There are many answers to your points, but I feel you haven't really heard what I am saying in this post, and attach accusations to me that are unfair and way off the mark.

This post, as all the other things I write here are honest expressions of where I'm at at the moment. I may well change my opinion at some point, but the fact is I am on the internet in the first place to earn a living. If I could sell my work by the roadside / in a gallery and earn enough that way, I probably wouldn't be here at all. The unexpected goodness that comes from creating a portal to display my artwork is that it fosters a community, genuine friendships and interactions which feed us all, and that is really important to me. But since facebook has become so ridiculously ubiquitous, people just don't find your other sites as much as they used to, nor do they interact as much outside facebook.

I am very open to any advice about people's use of facebook for selling their art, as I'm inexperienced and will gladly take any hands offered!
Ach, wishing you all happy, tangible outdoor days before the winds strike! xx

Abby Nolan said...

Rima - I wholeheartedly agree with every carefully written word here. And I'm facing the same battle myself, as a artist/bookmaker trying to network online without the facebook tool. Trying to become more engrossed in my art, but more distant from technology. It is a tight rope act I'm not successful at. But I absolutely love stumbling upon artists such as yourself in this misty web of the internet that has as many traps and dead ends as lovely, rewarding avenues. Trust that I'll continue to visit your blog, where you'll continue to have aesthetic control and more visually pleasing layout. Your blog will continue to ooze your passion and verve. But I do hope that fb helps your business and networking (and I'm quite certain it will).

Continued success and good health to you,
Abby

Lynn said...

A brilliantly thought out and written post, Rima.

You've managed so eloquently to put into words the dilemma so many of us face: this love-hate with the internet in general and FB in particular. I don't think there's an easy answer, and each of us must find a way to use this new thing in a way that allows us to stay true to ourselves. Use it for the helpful tool it can be, but be-bewereful of its pitfalls and find ways to steer clear of them. Not easy.

I love in particular what you've said about internet taking time away from our dreaming. I think that's so true, and if we let it continue, will contribute to a soul-sickness that will be very hard, indeed, to heal.

Thank you for your thoughts and words and for the wonderful, authentic Rima faces which accompanied them!

Jess said...

I think it was Paula Becker who was reprimanded by her father for wasting her time reading a book, the TV became the next time waster and now the internet? Having said that, I couldn't live without any of these things today! (Well maybe the TV!) I'm so pleased to have found the world of blogs and other social media. I find it all so inspiring and I'm so grateful for all the connections that otherwise I wouldn't have made.
I love your painted faces, such detail and character in all of them! Welcome to Facebook Rima, see you there soon!
Jess x x

Aoife.Troxel said...

Well said as always Rima. Unfortunately because "everyone" is on Facebook we all are too...

Luckymortal said...

Rima Stains,

Each day I'm drawn more and more into my own hermitage, surrounded by young food forest and dark old wood... where I find miraculous stories in each inch of soil. Stories--masterpieces--litter the ground as duff, blanket toads and shrews, ween ancient, rare herbs off their mothers milk while still safe inside their seed-cradels... the ancients would know each of these seedlings by name. They spoke with them like their grandchildren, intrigued by the intimate details of their lives.

I'm sure I will never have the pleasure of meeting you in person, but I have been very glad to have known that small part of you that you have shared through this looking glass on my lap. This is strange but true: some of these visions you have given us, from your dreams, grow now in soil across the sea, deep in the Michigan woods.

The internet did that...

Best wishes to you, sister through the glass.

~Mike

Mo Crow said...

beautifully put Rima!
I love everything you and so many other artists from all around the world share in the cyber sea especially living so faraway here in Australia, y'know it used to take 6 weeks for letters & magazines to arrive via boat mail and a telephone conversation would lag & echo down the line, now we can share ideas instantly and the dreaming has grown so much bigger!

Keena Nightelf said...

Hi Rima,
Thanks for this and all your wonderful posts! I'm very glad you feel able to share your life with us.
As a side note, I too was upset when I read that one comment that upset you: I think blogger gives the ability to "block users" and also to limit the commenting to those who join the site: at least they did when I had a blog of my own. But I think how you handled it was really quite good.
Keep up the beautiful work, and best wishes always.

Amy said...

Rima, thank you for sharing your thoughts, which can be a catalyst for many other people to think and have conversations about how and why we use the internet. The ease and junk food like addictiveness of FB has definitely drawn me in, though I think it can allow for people to connect in meaningful ways. Heck, I have one friend who met her husband on Facebook! And yes, for people who are not able to get out and about in the world due to location, disability, circumstance, whatever, the internet can be a lifeline (sometimes literally!). To me it's a tool, one I can choose to wield wisely or foolishly, and like many people I'm trying to strike a balance.

I recently dusted off my Livejournal as a way to get back into longer, more meaningful online writing. I also recently dusted off my library card and am enjoying reconnecting with my first love. Getting offline has definitely helped me find the headspace to do more introspective thinking, dreaming, creating and soul searching. It also removes me from the constant stream of images and diversions that, though inspiring, can often be paralyzing in their variety and volume. It's the too much information age indeed.

Trish said...

Rima, I agree with you wholeheartedly about the internet replacing dreaming, as in daydreaming , those inward places we go to suddenly without thought or meaning to. That does not happen when I am on the internet.
I joined facebook about a year ago as a way of keeping up to date with my niece and nephew! And actually some posts on facebook are very interesting (and others absolutely ridiculous!)... it will be a better place for you being there with your wonderful art.x

Teleri said...

That's quite a big step from "not wanting the internet anymore" to joining FB. But if you want to or have to live by your sales I guess there's no way around anymore or if there is, it's a rocky road. I'm still fighting against the all-devouring book of faces, even though it means I'm missing a lot of fun, inspiration, invitations and information because everyone thinks that if one puts it on FB, everybody will know.
But at the same time I know that there will be a time in the future when I will give up and give in to it.. and then I too will post most of my things only there, gradually forgetting that there are still people who won't be able to see it.

Nao Sims said...


Siting here on the edge of the the fast paced world, on the other side of the world, knodding my head as I read your words, in full agreement. We too are hangers-on to the old ways ( the only people who run a bed and breakfast without cell phones or cable t.v, without wifi, just old fashioned wired internet).

We joined Facebook last year as a way of sharing our guest cottage with the world, in hopes to avoid returning to formulated weeks of 9-5, so that we might stay on our farm with our bees and our gardens, baking bread and working the land. I struggled and struggled with the idea, both my heart and my ego did their versions of revolt. (No matter how many years go by, the righteous revolutionary inside of me carries on banging her drums and holding up signs of protest, "No! You can't, you must not sell out!"). The first day I signed us up, I felt as though I had totally betrayed myself. And, truth be told, still I am not sure if I made the right decision, despite the business that comes our way from the land of Facebook, I still wonder, on a regular basis if it was worth it.

Anyway, all of this is to say, that you are not alone. That there are others who stand here beside you, on the edges of these baffling modern times, without answers, doing the best we can, under the circumstances. In great gratitude for your articulate way.
Blessings to you Dear Rima~
Now I must go and get my ducks and chickens up. The Rooster is crowing and a new day has begun.
xo
Nao

Della said...

To be of two minds about these social networks whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, who-knows-what-else, is probably more common than we think and may be the most healthy approach. Returning to your metaphor it is indeed another form of dreaming, not as active as it should be maybe, but as with all dreams we should never 'make them (our) master' anyway and that is the key, really. I will drop in and 'Like you' on Facebook, see you there and in other places too, once in a while, and none of us will be diminished by it. All the best Rima and thank you for your sincere and heartfelt thoughts.

Austin Hackney said...

Dear Rima,

I'm sorry you chose to take offence. Was I so discourteous? If I have been cruel in any way then I apologise unreservedly.

I could change the form of the words - which were expressions of thoughts about people generally (if you take them to heart, you may, but no 'accusations' were 'aimed' at you). My opinion of Facebook remains the same in any case and the strength of feeling about it in no way diminished, whatever the form of words.

Anger and sorrow, raw and unfiltered through cultural niceties, can still well from a place of love.

I think I have understood everything that you have written.

I have come to loathe Facebook and I am convinced that those who created and guide it have no good intentions at all. I believe that if we use it, we must turn a blind eye to too many evils. Consequently, a person using it is either being deceived or deceiving themselves or just doesn't care.

I was at first deceived, then deceiving myself but in the end I find I care too much. The fact that 'everyone' is on there does not persuade me, it makes me weep. And if fewer people know me and my work as a consequence of my refusal to support it any longer, it's a small price to pay.

If it is discourteous to say so, so be it.

Peace,

Austin.

Megan McK. G. said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Rima, and you said it all very beautifully. Thank you for all that you do. I'm only on Facebook out of necessity, and I am committing to only "checking in" there once a day, because it can be so draining. It's not real life! But, I'm happy to know you're there, so that I can learn when you have yet another inspiring and enriching blog post. I so enjoy your blog, and it helps me to reconnect to the "real" and natural in my own small patch on the globe. I feel truly blessed to have found your blog, because it always helps to remind me what matters, and inspires me to continue to search for the magic and mystical in the world. Thanks! And good luck!

aEiOu said...

Exquisite! Both your art and your words.

Maggie said...

I agree with you Rima, and yet, I love finding artists and writers that I would never have found B.I. (before the internet). The internet has opened the world to us, and yet has closed so much of it. I love blogs, as they require a bit of engagement (I especially love your blog), but twitter and FB leave me cold, although I use FB as a way to keep up with family and friends. I've been trying hard to limit my internet use, as I think the glowing screen keeps me from sleeping (thus stealing my dreams). It helps some. Now I schedule evening time away from the internet, and it seems to help.

These last few days something has been wrong with our connection, and while it's been frustrating, it's also been blessedly peaceful.

Lunar Hine said...

I have an address book. And I'm on Farcebook (also known as Arsebook). Just saying.

Michelle Barnett said...

Oh this is a tension I'm familiar with. On the one hand I want to be part of life with others (which requires meeting them where they already are, online if necessary), and on the other hand sometimes I just want to go withdraw to a fell somewhere and hide :)

I had this problem with Twitter. On the one hand, WHAT IS IT FOR??? but on the other hand when I did finally join it I soon found myself discussing the secondary characterisation of animated characters in contemporary film with an artist from Texas whose work I adore.

My phone is my one bastion of stubbornness. It is a dinosaur. A clunky, ancient thing that does nothing more than send texts and make calls... which is all I need. When my old phone was lost (eaten by a deer when out walking!) I had the chance to upgrade. To get a phone with a touch screen! and Apps! and email! and... I bought the same old phone for a second time. I don't WANT a "better" phone. I don't like the idea of what it might do to how I spend my time.

There is no strictly right or wrong answer here, and I think as long as Facebook continues to bother you in some way you can use it without worrying that it might take over. It's only when it stops concerning you that you may start to be... concerned.

Raquel Somatra said...

"...it can be used to organize and gather for good and real reasons, and to stir souls."

Yes, I believe this. A thousand yesses, really.

I didn't realize this that deeply until my brother-in-law died. The amount of love and connection that was spread through social medias, specifically fb, was moving.

Having it to connect with my family has been a gift, especially for spending the first years of marriage in such isolation.

I'm in an Artist's Way group on fb right now. Being able to form groups based on womens' spirituality and creativity, so easily and fluidly, has changed my life.

We must do what we must to support ourselves, our art, and our journeys.

I, too, am looking for ways to sell art through the book of faces, so let us know if you come across any good tips!


Blessings

Claire said...

Well said Rima....... Claire @ Sweet Birdy Love

Janette said...

Free Will. Your being overwhelmed by the technology in your life is what you made it. Instead of feeling a slave to it; put it in it's place. Use it at allotted times and move away from it the rest of the time. I felt as you did about Facebook but didn't cave into the urge to 'join the rest of the world'. Don't miss it. I retired this year after 30 years of working in front of a computer screen. I read books, walk my dog, knit copiously, create collages, call my friends on the telephone when I get a chance. Live in the country to get away from noise, subliminal distractions, and crowds. Don't miss being in the mainstream at all. You control your life exactly the way you want it. No one else to blame for the invasion of your mind, except you. Your art speaks of another time and place and is an escape for me. Keep up the good work. Don't leave the internet entirely or we'll lose contact forever and that would be my loss.

Rima Staines said...

Thanks all for continuing this conversation :)

Just wanted to clear up that when I said I'm joining facebook because "everyone else is on there", I hope it's obvious that I mean that not in the sense of a brainless sheep-desire to be "like everyone else"! It's to do with finding them, and them finding me, so that I can show them my work, and thus make my living.

pRiyA said...

I had kept this post aside, to read when not skimming the net but really reading some worthwhile posts.
How impressively you have articulated the complex battle that we have with the internet beast! I think I need to take a printout of this post to hold in my hand and read again as a reminder to above all else use the net as a tool.

Ciara said...

Dearest Rima, thank you for leading me here ~ you know I stand in this arena with you, unsure and confused and enthralled and outraged and frustrated and bewitched and torn...
So delighted our paths are still aligned, and to be honest, very grateful to The Web for leading me to your door in this unreal forest of man-making, for otherwise I never would have found you. I long ago decided the only thing to do was, against my grain, allow myself to use it purely for my own benefit, and do so with pleasure. :-)
xxx

Ciara said...

Dearest Rima, thank you for leading me here ~ you know I stand alongside you here in this arena. I try not to be overwhelmed and feel frustrated and bewitched and outraged and indignant and enthralled and torn...
I am, however, very glad to have found my way to your door here in this Unreal Forest of Man-Making, and will be forever grateful to The Web for making this possible. I long ago decided to go against my own grain and absolutely use it for my own benefit, and I take great pleasure in doing so! xx