Meanwhile, in the Shire…..

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien

the first of may
the first of may

Today is May first–Beltane–one of the turning-points of the Celtic year. It’s a day of fresh growth springing from ancient roots. It’s also one of the thin places in the year’s gyre, a time when the veil between the mortal and immortal worlds can be parted, if only for a fleeting moment.

Anything might slip through.

During April, I took a break from social media in all its myriad forms. During that time, my furry muse passed beyond the veil, as did my husband’s grandmother. I added to my collection of rejection letters from literary agents. T. S. Eliot was right, about this April at least. It’s been a cruel month.

But it’s also been a month of deep-down digging, a month of cold spring rain seeping into parched roots. It’s been a month of pileated woodpeckers and the flight of a wild turkey through the green-gold woods. It’s been a month of stories slowly blossoming, of buds unfurling their heart-secrets to the sun.

In the interim, kind Stan at Muz4Now generously invited me to write a guest post for his blog, which you can read here if you’re curious about what I’ve been steeping these past weeks. If your spirit, like mine, needs a little balm, listen to his gorgeously improvised musical prayers for Nepal, Baltimore, and all of us.

I cannot say yet what, if anything, I have learned. I hoped I would come away from this month with answers–about how to cultivate a meaningful social media presence, about how to optimally utilize the many platforms available, about how to engage with social media without being consumed by it. But I don’t have any answers. I’m tempted to extend my sabbatical, but a little voice keeps whispering encouragement. Or maybe it’s just goading me on. In either case, I have decided, for now, to step out the door, to live in the questions, to see what, in this thin place, slips through.

10 thoughts on “Meanwhile, in the Shire…..

  1. It’s funny how we always think (hope) we will come away with something more tangible, or specific, than we usually do from these sabbaticals; but it often occurs that more is gleaned only of a more subtle sort, that will be teased out over time.

    I, for one, have missed reading your words, so I am glad you’re back.

  2. BRENNA! I was so hoping to see/hear/read a little something from you on May 1st! You know that it was you who inspired me to take a social media break for the month of April it was a very welcome respite from the habit of checking FB multiple times a day and getting lost down these paths that would take me hours away from the work of creating. For me, it was a very productive month and I had a big aha! moment where I realized published book or no, I’ve caught the writing bug can’t imagine not having some sort of writing project happening in my life. I’ve decided that this will be my new relationship with social media (because, I did find I have to have some sort of relationship with it – it’s how the world is connecting these days, and I was left in the dark more than once these past 30 days!) I will set aside 20 minutes a day, either beginning or end and set a timer so that I close it up and get back on task. That’s it. I’ll let you know how it goes… But I’m with also with Peggy & Suzi – I have missed reading whatever it is you’re willing to share. Welcome back! PS – I’m sorry about your husband’s grandmother and stinky literary agents. Thanks for being an inspiration in a lot of different ways.

    1. BARB! It is good to hear from you, and good to hear about your own experience. I’m so glad you had an AHA! and got motivated to write, and to use social media as a tool to help make that happen. That’s what I’m leaning towards as well; I don’t want to fritter away a million hours on Facebook, as lovely as the babies and kittens and things are, so I’m trying to come up with a strategy for really making my social media use something that supports but doesn’t overwhelm my mission and focus, and that adds value to people’s lives. Now, to figure out what that mission and focus are……..Anyway, it’s lovely to hear from you, and thanks so much for always taking the time to read and respond so thoughtfully. You are a rockstar. xoxoxo

  3. Ditto from Wisconsin – glad you are back, I missed your voice. Your photo today is beautiful, just like the rest of your words. I’ll wager that you’ve learned more than you realize yet in your time away, maybe it just needs time to sink in. It’s practice enough to not touch social media for a whole month, maybe you have rewired some of your brain circuits, and you won’t know the impact until you are re-navigating your relationship with it. So, I’m with Peggy – it will tease out over time. Welcome back, with open arms. I’ve missed your words and dragons.
    A million midway hugs,

    1. Thanks so much, dear Vanessa. I think you’re right–it will take some time for the rains of April to really soak into these parched roots. I love what you said about rewiring brain circuits–I think I’ve begun to do that, and now I just need to make sure the rewiring has time to “take” and not just jump full-on into the interwebs and all its loveliness and distraction. Thanks for the warm welcome; I’ve missed this online tribe for sure!

  4. It’s great to see you again, Brenna! Welcome back. I loved your wonderful picture. I am have been in the depths of the A to Z blogging challenge this past month, and now *I* feel like I need a sabbatical! Back to weekly blogging for me. I’m also consciously paring down on my obligations so I can focus more on what it important to me. Like many others here, I believe inspiration will come to you with time. Be patient with yourself. 🙂

    1. Good to hear from you, Sue! And congrats on meeting the A to Z challenge! I’m sure the weekly blogging will feel like a vacation now. You’re wise to pare down on obligations, and I hope that the focus that comes along with that is wildly wonderful and productive for you.

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