Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Finding a new way... writing long hand at a coffee shop in Seattle's sweet Fremont district.

I 'm just home from three weeks in Washington State. While there, on the first day of ten days that I was alone grand-dog sitting, my computer crashed. Aside from something happening that was actually serious, it's the worst thing I could think of that could happen, and it sent me into a huge tailspin, wondering what the H I was going to do up there for ten days, all alone, WITHOUT my computer. No writing, no uploading my photos, no photoshopping, no emailing, no flickr, no musings, no Unraveling, no spider solitaire. Nothing but me and Lola and gray and cold and rain. For ten long days.

I'll be writing more about this later, I'm sure, but what I discovered is that Life could not have sent me a greater gift. It put my computer addiction (I prefer to use the term "misuse"...  :)  squarely into my face in a way that I could not ignore. I was confronted with ME, in a way that I haven't been in quite some time, probably since I bought my first laptop many years ago. I was face to face with the knowledge of how dependent I had become, how I've used the computer to deaden the pain and cope with depression (possibly also extending it at the same time), how much of my precious life time and energy I waste on the computer, how it takes me away from myself, my loved ones, my world.

Talk about drifting. Talk about edges. Talk about watching what you ask for. (I'm pretty sure one cannot be danced while one is buried in a laptop...) It was a time of some serious withdrawal; of depression, eating too many comfort foods, and lots and lots of Netflix streaming. But thankfully, there was also discovery; a new and different voice as I started writing long hand, experimenting with drawing, and making art on the dreary, endless-seeming days; there was the joyful relief when on a couple of occasions the sun parted the heavy cloud cover for half a day and I could get out and explore and take pics. And a big, nostalgic reminder of what it's like to simply sit, and be present with whatever it is that is revealing itself in the moment. By the time I got my computer back eight days later, there was - there still is - a huge desire to find a greater balance, to use it - as opposed to misuse - as the great and wonderful tool that it is, to learn, once again, what it's like to be alone, with myself, and to return to those things that in the past, pre computer, nurtured and fed me; simple things like heading outdoors in the early summer mornings, visiting a garden or the ocean, watching the world, picking up an actual pen, or the big one, just being.

The depression has hung on... I realize that though I'm no longer living in the black hole, I am balanced precariously, and it takes just the slightest breeze to nudge me into the real gray again. I'm trying not to resist, I'm trying to look the other way when the negative voice of depression whispers that I'm never really going to get better, that I have no life, that I'll never manifest as I truly desire to, etc., etc., yada, yada. Some moments it is easier than others. Sometimes just being is the ultimate challenge, or, as I've known from the past couple of years, just getting out of bed or up off the sofa. But one thing is for sure, I've come through this latest experience with a great desire not to deaden myself even more with this machine. To use it wisely and with consciousness, rather than the numbing drug of choice to take me ever further from myself and the world.

Letting go, taking risks with pen and paper. 


  1. I like your doodles. it's time to cut my own laptop umbilical cord. too much time spent chasing what other people are doing rather than doing my own.
    sounds like it truly was a gift that yours went down for a while. glad you found more of yourself in these moments. your perspective always inspires. take good care Debby.

  2. I hear you....I really do. I concluded a few months back that I use/abuse my computer to avoid living life to the fullest. But do I have the discipline to turn it off? NO. And why is that?

    I am glad that you were able to use this as a time of self discovery. I think your doodle is lovely (I have long considered taking a Zentangle class just to learn to doodle)...and I would think that the writing by hand was a time to learn to take things slowly.

  3. Thanks, Ms. Becky and Molly. I'm new to doodling, I'm finding it really fun and relaxing. Another gift of the crash. And Molly, I'm not familiar with Zentangle but looked it up and it looks really interesting.

    Thanks again for your always thoughtful comments.

  4. what an amazing post! a great example of serendipity ;) congrats on all you accomplished without your laptop, I'm so addicted to mine! lol :) used to play FarmVille all day (have four FB accounts) but then I started Summer Raining Umbrellas and I'm finding Life again. bought myself my first camera this week and I'm eager to learn more :) loved reading you.

  5. Hi Debby

    First of all: I love your doodles, they are amazing! Let your creativity flow and don't stop exploring this drawing talent ... It would be a shame.

    Thanks for this wonderful post. It sounds so recognizable on a certain level. I was in the UK for a couple of days, without internet access. Although they promised me I would have. The first minutes I really 'flipped', but now I am grateful. I felt so relaxed, enjoyed beautiful and long walks, let the outside inspire me. Visited museums, watched windows, read a lot. Back to the roots: it was a great experience.

    And now I am back, feeling 'addicted' again to my laptop. Because of my curiosity for blog posts, the creative projects of other people, email contact with my dear friends from abroad.

    The virtual world: I always have this double feeling ...

    Many greetz and hope to read you soon

  6. Thank you, Ana and Cococita! Yes, I am hooked again... oh my, it doesn't take long. Though, now that I know "sobriety," it will never be the same. I'm going away today for the weekend and the computer will stay home. I so know that double feeling.
    Ana... how is Raining Umbrellas going for you? I loved it so much...
    Cococita... will you be doing Droplets? It would be so great to see you there.

  7. I hope you are enjoying your weekend Debby, and yes, I will be there again for Droplets. So nice that you are participating too! Can't wait ... :-)

    See you very very soon!

    Kiss, cococita


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