The Long Road Out of Facebook: Part One

[Much of this entry has come into being due to an old friendship hopefully renewed by postal mail after it was destroyed by Facebook and brain-hacking. Please bear that in mind.]


Dearest Friend,

Apology accepted! I wanted to hear from you but just not on Facebook was all. We did pretty well on that network until it became the status-quo *to* be on it. This is going to take a long time to explain so I’ll spend a day working on it and trying to devise the best way to explain to you what happened to all of us.

For my part, I take the stance of a wise character I love, “I’m just sorry it happened at all!”

This isn’t the 21st Century we were hoping for, is it?

I don’t consider myself the biggest fan of speculative or science-fiction, but wow. I’m glad I had that training to see so many warning signs so quickly.

The worst result is that each individual became part of a collective of Those To Whom The Rule Does Not Apply:

“Other people are addicted to social media, but not me.”

“Other people are behaving worse than they ever did, but not me.”

“Don’t let *those people* get you down… even though I happen to be one of them and don’t seem to realize that.”

Phew, this gets rather endless… and I recall all of these folks including those confirming to me, “Something IS wrong, and no doubt about it.”

Hence we are all to blame.

However, if anyone requires a villain in this mess then Menlo Park is a nice, fat, juicy one. (HQ of Facebook, and a place that gives off the “ewl” response considering the uppity wealth and snob factor coming out of there.) Yes, they like money. Lots and lots of money!

Facebook became this universe where everything was and from which no one could escape. I kept getting invites to pen pals groups there that never worked. I was trying to find other avenues for pen pals outside of Facebook since 2014. During that time I managed to acquire short-lived email pals who hated Facebook and then would ask me if I wanted to connect with them there. This happened frequently.

Heck, I got invites to various spots on Facebook from a cast member of DS in what I have presumed was the hope that whoever was in charge of those zones would be interested and perhaps they could help me with commentary for The Pit. Various groups and people seemed likely. It’s just that we were all using Facebook so this was, inevitably, all buck-passing.

Many people did the same style of invitations. Even my reaching websites outside of Facebook meant going to their Facebook areas instead of having any real one-to-one conversation beyond an email inviting me to their Facebook group.

One party. One company. One party. One company.

Then came the carbon copies. A pen pal of long ago invited me to Ello. Oh-h-h-h, so hopeful, but it was the same crap. Twitter? Slightly different but more or less the same; Marina Sirtis’ experience with Twitter has been a beacon in my life. Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Disqus, Quora… spam, spam, spam. Then there is tumblr, which hails from New York City, as the PCP version in all of this crack-cocaine and meth-amphetamine. (I’m currently looking at Google Plus as the pot-plantation. People get wacky sometimes but usually just lazy and mellow.)

Once upon a time Facebook worked. The news-feed came and everyone was talking and really talking. This is what the carbon copies kept trying to revive: the real thing. Real thought-sharing, real banter, real people getting to know each other or having conversations like they would in person.

One big problem was the like-button came into being a little while later in 2009. (I recently found an email complaining about this from a friend that was sent during 2011.) So when the carbon copies tried to revive the great chat that suddenly came into being from the news-feed they would always add some form of the like-button (+1, upvotes, hearts, etc.) and in that way the carbon copies could never work.

Somehow we all got caught up in this idea that it had worked once and if we just tried hard enough it would work again. That meagre 25% or less of it working meant we might be getting somewhere, when the truth of the matter is we were all fooling ourselves.

Good things come from Facebook, it’s true. But by the same token good things come from Walmart. I desire as little possible from either.

For myself, I kept ranting on Facebook and other carbon copies for people to email, to telephone, anything. I had to become suicidal before a few friends finally telephoned. It should not have had to take that severe a desire. But that is how beholden to the system so many people became. One cast member really worried about me when it got that bad, but… we all went back to Facebook anyway.

I kept looking outside, going inward, praying for “the crazy” to stop. It wouldn’t. I spoke with music, metaphors, my own suffering I wouldn’t normally tell anyone much less a public platform. All anyone could do, other than like-click, was blame something else: alcohol, the project, “those people”, various things that were only increased and enhanced by the social media madness.

Meanwhile, they wouldn’t tell me what they enjoyed in my work, but they would tell me all about who was on Facebook that they hated, or were pissed at and wanted to make fun of, or having my own listeners avoiding the topic of The Pit show while sending me photos, memes, and giving me bullcrap. High School A-Go-Go.


Kay finally broke out and started visiting. Jonah started telephoning again. Tito began to keep in touch better. As for so many others we shared in common or didn’t? They never got back in touch after several phone calls. Many wildly creative and rebellious types seem lost to us forever.

Then, finally, I made an example of myself. *I* would quit somehow.

I started at the end of 2016 and it took me about a year to get unhooked. Truly. “Falling off the wagon” is usually meant for returning to “the demon liquor”. For me “falling off the wagon” became using Facebook. It was harder than quitting smoking or quitting alcohol.

I shot for one week away, and then adding a day to that week the next time around. I didn’t realize I wasn’t getting farther than a week because I was miscounting the length on the calendar. I had to get a Sharpie to count and potently mark that longer duration on the calendar over and over again. Something in my brain had created a distinct need to get Facebook back into my system. I’ve encountered this problem before and with nicotine especially.

Somewhere in this struggle to get away, Clover and Jonah began visiting and somehow they got back together. Almost every weekend they stay over. One night I asked how it came to be. The answer wasn’t forth coming until I added, “Because there isn’t anyone else to hang out with, huh?”

Clover answered, with a sigh, “Yep!”

In about six months I managed to reach two weeks away from Facebook at a time.

Interpals and other pen pal websites became my “methadone” for want of another word. Even people there were trying to break-free but losing the ability to understand how. On Interpals it was worse due to all the creeps or just people locked into the message system there, going stir-crazy complaining about how horrible the world and the people in it became.

Impostors showed up to follow me on wordpress and I would go to their useless blogs and scream obscenities at them, telling them to go back to Facebook. Doofus people with real web-logging skills would follow mine and I would politely inquire why, never hearing from them after that. I learned how to bump them off the follow-list and remove the like-stamp from my web-log, THANK GOD!

Meetup can be very up and down in solid commitments from people. Plainly put, we all expect the automatic systems to bring us company, but it’s a human being using the personal touch to others on Meetup that really works.

Did you hear the March Update 2017? I mentioned calling an Auntie who once had her own radio show. It was, indeed, her who said, “Yeah… I’m getting more alone than even I like to be.” She also admitted in that phone call, “Yes, social networks can definitely be addictive.” I’ve called her multiple times in the last year. She’s only mentioned Twitter once. (More about her later.)

Then the slow change began. I found some pen pals on the various sites, but they’d either “google” me and run-away-screaming, or get locked into only using the messaging system on those sites. Somehow real letter-writing terrified them even if they’d done it years before. I managed a new pal through L.W.A. even as I’d kept tight hold to Hidden Object who was enduring worse losses than I was via Facebook. I managed a hook-up from something called Geek Girls as well. Only one pen pal but it was a start. PPW finally granted me two long-term buddies who wanted to help with The Pit project and also wanted real correspondence and friendship.

After finding and subscribing to three more pen pal organizations with even better activity, I let the more terrified types, who were afraid to do real letters again, know about these organizations.

Of course, there were pen pals who did the same thing to me as the online crowd had done with The Pit:

  • Heading for the hills.
  • Downloading voraciously and avoiding the topic while still wanting to be pen pals
  • “Googling” me and getting paranoid.
  • Buck-passing to others.
  • Badly attempting to critique and suggest changes to episodes that are four years old, etc.

There is also a trend of “Desperate For DS” types who finally gain access to what I have, overcoming their computer-challenged barriers with my help, and? I never hear from them again either! We paid to have an advertisement put in a letter-writing zine and the same thing occurred. Not one letter, but massive downloads after the issue came out.

Honey, you could do a show about breakfast cereal, put the DS name on it and they wouldn’t care! They would eat it up as long as that shadowy name is bestowed. It is little wonder so many haters and hosers get recognition when they use it.

But, overall the world of real letter-writers maintained a sense of sanity. I even got good, clean, honest rejections for The Pit, with no creepy downloads from their areas later. I needed those honest rejections. Other “rejections” I’d gotten were bonafide lies with the bonus disturbance of online stalking.

The good rejections I got:

“I think I’m the wrong person to send this to. I’ll send it back.” (She didn’t, but whatever…)

“Oh, dear. This involves thinking and I’m retired and ready to just settle down for the simple.” (We still write short letters back and forth. She’s really into gem stones, big dogs and detective novels.)

“So, I listened to your first episode and it’s not really my thing… I didn’t know a lot of the characters and it was really hard for me to keep track of who people were. I did love Shake, Rattle & Roll as the end song. Good choice! And I forget his name, but you did a great impression of The Kids In The Hall guy!” (We also still write to each other.) 🙂

Also there is a fair amount of, “I’m sorry I haven’t gotten to your disk yet!” to which I say, “Keep writing and take your time. They aren’t being created quickly these days.”

With everything though there are just enough now by email and paper post that are happy to keep me company whether or not I run out of episodes, fun suggestions I don’t have to take seriously, and shared interest or just shared comradeship of hating what social networks did to all of us. Our woes are not isolated.


The social network and smartphone take-over touches people who never got an account or device of any kind.

From pen pals I hear about:

Family members, who weren’t all that great before, increasing their hostile and money grubbing attributes.

Educators who don’t answer questions and repeat, “Google it,” like a broken-record.

Kids are taking their parents to work interviews because they really weren’t raised to deal with person-to-person encounters.

People in their teens and twenties will rely on text-messaging rather than making a phone call because, “I don’t like the sound of my voice.”

My middle-brother has confessed to Mum, “Yeah, I’m addicted to Facebook,” just as a statement.

My sister, who does a bit better in life, has established, “I don’t have the time to waste on that thing!”

Mum and I never connected on Facebook for the purpose it would mar our relationship. She isn’t too happy having used it just to discover what my middle-brother is wasting his time posting of degrading content. My older-brother’s failing health and her own needs keep her busy enough.

There’s tons and tons I could tell of who has behaved outside of their norm in extreme ways, but for now I think this general explanation is more than enough. We’re all to blame, and it took an episode of “60 Minutes” (April 2017) to finally allow many of us reassurance of what we knew all along. Hey… “60 Minutes” can do a spot about the problem at this point. Why not? All these computer programmer mortgages have likely been paid by now, right?


Thankfully last Autumn brought something exceptional. I reached to a three-week mark of using Facebook. Just one weekend every three weeks. Even better, I reached that date on the calendar to use it and didn’t. I didn’t want to. I didn’t touch tumblr, I didn’t touch Facebook.

I began feeling like I did in 2013, but with the gift of no anhedonia, no frigidity and no panic. My privacy and contentment at home were more important. Using Facebook would be rewarding any admirers I have that their use of it would get them more of me. That would be me being the enabler I’ve unknowingly been for so many years. And what good would it do to reward people to be that lazy and addicted? None whatever.

Anyway, that’s part one of the long road out of Facebook. The Pit was never the problem. If anything it’s been the saving grace to keep me determined to find out what really was wrong.

The problem was what was happening to people when I was getting my groove back. I wouldn’t have noticed because I wasn’t using social networks much. In between looking for Vincent Price goodies, I was busy making audio books, creating The Pit, watching TV, listening to demos, reading books and learning as I’d always yearned my entire life. In the physical world I wasn’t seeing what was happening in the land of the “Crackberry” or the iPad.

Some fandom stuff made the original readers not type reactions to the old script I had shared, but moreover it was the correspondence skills dwindling, the addictive algorithms of social networks, and the day-to-day challenges being depleted by smartphones which has been what was wrong with everything all of this time.

Yes! For this grief? I left a good job in vision therapy to follow a dream. It was time to resign, but still…

The social media addiction also set off an allergic reaction so that people weren’t getting the social stimulus they needed and they became more and more angry, stalking and trolling writers of all types they didn’t like in a manner that was craving any social interaction even if it was negative. For whatever positive types of people were left, getting hypnotized by happy-buttons and laziness meant they weren’t providing the encouragement to others that they once did.

“Oh, don’t worry. This Nazi idea is just a phase. It’ll pass.” Ahem!

One day, about a year ago, a friend of mine started his shift at his place of employment. Upon his arrival a co-worker told him, “Hey, you missed it. Mark Zuckerberg was in here an hour ago.”

“Oh?” my friend inquired, “Did you ask him how it feels to have destroyed society?”

That made me feel better, I tell ya.


 

I do not believe any old friendships can pick up where they left off. Large groups of people like to pretend nothing happened, or blame someone else to feel better. This isn’t a situation where that is going to work. We claimed to want to keep in touch and suddenly were fighting with each other most of the time, or sending happy stickers and dumb photos to excess. Promoting approval with a thumb in the air will be leaving us with a sour repose; as well it ought to do.

And it was all “free”, right? We didn’t have to pay for a service. We just had to have the right equipment, the wifi, the electricity, and the money to make the monthly payments to have it all and watch our world fall apart on a screen, involving living people this time, rather than fictional characters we had real feelings for.

Try again. We did pay for it: in time, money and in grief. I have yet to hear a single individual boisterously admit that these things have made their lives inordinately better and happier. With a little self-consciousness, they look for a silver-lining though, trying to find the smallest drop of bliss amongst the wreckage. I think that reveals a great deal.


 

Until next time, I hope these instructions have helped you understand the new addictions if you want to quit. I’ll have more to tell later. In the meanwhile I’ve got letters to write, a life to live and spooky families to take care of in a little place called Collinsport, with the help of Cemetery Lane, Schooner Bay, Mockingbird Heights, Morning Glory Circle, and our guests at Hill House.

Pleasant dreams. ❤

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Pit Update: December 2017

2017 Dec 1d

 

My personal break away from drug-like social media sites; two in particular. My own upbringing in digesting fiction with the help of others. How people are looking for companionship to enjoy films and television shows with.

Thanking pen pals and explaining what happened to those of you that “ran away screaming”. Living a recorded-life. The detriment of the like-button on the human race.

Troubles in the bad behaviour toward myself as your entertainer (and the rare good). Unceremonious responses to the May 2016 podcast.

News on grassroots for Episode 17. Talk on future Pit episodes 18 and 19. “My Scrapbook Memories of Dark Shadows” by Kathryn Leigh Scott and how it can help all listeners whether or not they know Dark Shadows. Fun stuff!

Upcoming influences to The Pit with: Dark Shadows, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Diablos Café, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir personal marathon and the curiosity of Captain Gregg’s hair. The Addams Family and suggestion of “The Addams Family: An Evilution”, comparisons with The Munsters, as well as back history from that and Bewitched.

Included are the comparisons to various substance abuses, addictions and social media. Another discussion of social network schemes severely disturbing our lives and how the correspondence skills were drained by too much sheltering and the overuse of snark.

Wishing you Happy Holidays, why, and a Very Merry Solstice to Angelique Bouchard.


 

Link to podomatic version

Link to podbay version

Link to archive.org version


 

If you see this in the WP reader and enjoy it please leave a comment. (If you use the “like” I will have no idea who you are or what the deal is. Thanks.)

Pit Update: June 2017 And Retrospective

2017 June Update 1d

 

Talk about social media addiction with its ensuing paranoia. Continual gratitude to pen pals and describing their beautiful influence in my life. (I welcome more!)

Why and how constructive praise is important. The fun of watching First Year Dark Shadows. A little chat over 16 & 17 – Retrospective for episodes 8, 9, 10, and both parts of 11. Fair delving into characters from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, The Addams Family, The Munsters, and Bewitched in The Pit; particularly Captain Gregg’s stormy weather – story building as well as technical aspects.

The fleshing out of Caleb Collins as based on evidence from the original Dark Shadows program and historical research in the Victorian time period.

Discussion on the marriage novel, “Margaret Josette Dupres” and delving into why the sharing of further chapters are (currently) suspended.

Welcome To The 21st Century – What A Disappointment.

https://thepitofultimatedarkshadows.wordpress.com/

archive.org link

podomatic link

podbay link

Downloadable from iTunes, as always…


 

Background music for this podcast:

“Neightbourhood” – Space (1996)

“Beds Are Burning” – Midnight Oil (1987)

“Warblings At Eve” – “A Victorian Parlour Evening” (written in 1858)

“Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” – The Smiths (1986)

Pit Update: May 2017 & Retrospective

2017 May Update 1f

Thanking pen pals for helping me to heal, explaining why that is important and discussing how the happy buttons ruined upbeat discourse in people over the years.

Plenty of lively assertions in why beating around the bush about having “no time” to chit-chat is ridiculous, particularly in regards to over-use of social media. Lackadaisical listings of informational resources that have been important in creating the series which might help listeners.

Presentation of where and how The Pit discussion questions are displayed, and why they are important for this fairly cerebral programming.

Starting retrospective from Episode 1: “Parapsychology” and on through Episode 7: “The Blair Warlock Projected”, with whatever nuances I felt were fun to point out at the time of this recording, including a few perspectives via reviews, different TV show and movie introductions per episode, technical aspects and inspirations. When the Barnabas and Maggie couple suddenly mattered so much and how performing the role of Barnabas Collins changed things irrevocably.

Finally, description about this experience for you and I, along with the details of why what’s happened with misinterpretation of myself, this project, and the expectations of what the internet is, has been detrimental to all involved, and how to break free from those ideas. For listeners using social media who disavow having an addiction? Too late: You’ve got one.

archive.org link

podomatic link

podbay link

Downloadable from iTunes, as always...

The Pen Pals Are Here (For Real This Time)

Just picked up the mail and I am reveling in the fun of it! My stationery horde is dwindling and I’m discovering people who like to savour The Pit as it was meant to be savoured. Hallelujah!

Today I opened this delightful missive which says, “I’m glad that we’re pen friends! You’re the only pen friend I have who sends murder mystery parties with your letters, and I can attend these parties in my PJs!! Woo hoo!”

She also sent some very fun ticket stickers which read: “Admit One”. I am actually trying to get rid of all my crazy stickers but when I saw hers on the back of her envelope I suddenly desired stickers like that. Then? Inside the envelope she had included eighteen of them for me! It was this way of expressing that my show ought to be sent with those tickets as that signifies the theater feeling The Pit brings. What a bloody JOY! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Another pal drives frequently so the CD version of The Pit episodes are perfect for her long hauls. It’s funny because I often anticipated truckers would enjoy The Pit but I’ve yet to hear from any of them. Hopefully this was never due to Maggie expressing a bit of distaste to Barnabas in Episode 10 with,

coffee shop

“Oh, Barnabas, you’ve obviously never encountered a collection of all-night truck drivers swapping suggestive tales over their greasy breakfast plates.”

But who knows?

There are a few listeners of The Pit who don’t quite pick up the knack of the discussion questions as being guidelines to expressing what they enjoy per scene. That’s okay, though. The method that we once had to express our delight and the fun in our entertainment is very much more the “dying art” than letter-writing ever was or has been.

While it became extremely trendy to Hate-On so much in our abundance, the enjoyment of discussing what we were entertained by took a serious nose-dive when we were offered the alternative thumbs-up buttons. There are now even pesky hearts on youtube and iTunes to degrade our faculties even further. If there was an app for making these happy-buttons disappear I would consider PAYING for it. Monthly! (I already enjoy advertisement blockers on my equipment so I have little idea what kind of scary billboard world a great deal of my online audience is being suffocated with. 😦  )

The other difficulty we currently face is having too much choice. I’m immune to that being difficult as I already pruned my needs in the last twenty years. Even before the internet I had far too much thrown in my direction that I could never understand why I just had to like. Another reason I live on Devo’s “Freedom of Choice” song; All around me are people who really do want “Freedom FROM Choice”. It’s not a matter of a good lead to something they would naturally be interested in, but just floating through life waiting for others to send them in whatever direction another wishes them to go.

That became the worse problem imaginable as my audio entertainment was finally noticed and suddenly I had to see the same style of Dark Shadows fanfiction I was tired of reading and trying to avoid. My work, articles, and podcasts made it extremely clear what my interests and goals were in that department. Then, rather than find the specific niche audience I was looking for, it was the bummer-city, cliché types coming forward with precisely what I spent five years finding and did not enjoy at all. It’s as if most the online world is so flabbergasted with too much information that listening to a person or a fictional character is well-nigh impossible for them to do.

This is why correspondence, and the skill of it, is so important. It slows us down to start digesting information at our own human pace. This works because human beings are what we are, regardless of how desperate we seem to be to become The Borg or The Cybermen instead. It’s also exactly why we attained creations such as The Borg and The Cybermen in our storytelling: It’s a warning of things that could very much happen to us in the future. (Or right now.)

Cybermen_formation_Doomsday
As for Episode 17 in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, whose current title is “A Bio-Exorcist Comes To Collinwood”, I am working on the audio, yes, but I am also taking my time with the pen pals and letter-writing to heal myself back to being a better person. I’m often thanking each and every individual that I write to for helping me with this, even when they are so grateful to me for giving them the gift of my episodes. For me it’s a shared process and precisely how I always wanted to do all of this. “Go Online” wasn’t the worst option for me, it was the obvious one. But the human touch of going online was losing ground and I didn’t know that. Nobody seemed to know it, but they definitely defended it, that’s for sure. (It’s much easier to be dismissive, isn’t it?)

The audio itself is grueling and my format from doing voice performances back and forth in one go has shifted toward doing each voice separately. Doing that slows down the creation time. But this is a technique that most audio dramas are created by, having each performer in separate cubicles with a script and a headset, so it makes sense to switch to get each character’s voice better. I’m also finding that using a more caricature performance is as important as the accuracy in their speech patterns. The caricature voice differentiates who is speaking more easily so that it’s less likely a listener will lose track of which character is saying what. However, our too-friendly bio-exorcist is pretty damned easy to spot. Ha ha ha!

its showtime
The romance is sparking for our three couples now, Barnabas & Maggie, Tony & Carolyn, and Julia & Eliot. I really love how Elizabeth and Barnabas were running things at this point in the original Dark Shadows, but with Elizabeth on her voyage to England for my show, I’ve had to move away from that and am irked for a solution as to who will invite Amy Jennings to stay at Collinwood, eventually. *sigh* I thought, “Well, I could find some hilarious, sarcastic way that Roger would be encountering her instead and deciding, ‘Why the hell not?’” But that didn’t give me much enthusiasm.

Carolyn and Tony
The great answer came last night… Carolyn & Tony! Or it could just be Carolyn, or heck, Carolyn AND Carolyn, Stoddard & Muir. Who knows? But in any case I finally hit on how to keep Tony Peterson and Carolyn Stoddard’s romance alive: Do exactly what was done before. Have them solve problems together! In The Pit that is what reignited their romance, which is similar in many couples both fictional and real. (That kissing you hear in The Pit for these couples is obviously not me smooching my arm! That is me and my own sweetie. He’s been shy about it, but hey, he’s getting kissed! He’s not going to say no to me for that offer. 😉 )

So, for those who aren’t writing to me on paper or via email, there is a big reason my online activity has dwindled. I have returned to pen pals and am enjoying it immensely.

write a letter cover

No happy-buttons or flinging of links is going to get any of us more of the work and it never did before. Correspondence and discussion about the show(s) is what makes that happen and always did. When I receive insight and feedback from a listener I get to their responses a whole lot faster because this is my passion and my calling. But there are some pen pals who have no interest and that is also fine by me. They keep me company with other interactive details about life in general. That’s healthy and very healing all around. (People writing to me by email, private message, or even postal mail, who love the work but avoid the topic keeps me more at bay with them. This should be a surprise to no one. And really, why would it be?)

I do have a potential “Pit Update April 2017” started but I’m hoping I won’t have to create and release it. I prefer getting to the actual work. And strangely enough it is the quiet discussions of the characters on the demo and in the “editing room” that rivets me more than that fight scene everyone is waiting for! Maggie and Sam with their awesome percolator, Tony and Carolyn going for a drive, Dr. Hoffman and Professor Stokes having a quiet, studious discussion with romance interlaced, while Lily and Elizabeth enjoy the delights of mingling on board the RMS Queen Elizabeth ship. Those happier scenes are what keep me going.

I’m also working on the script for Episode # 18, “Braving The Waters” but that will take more Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Bewitched studying, of course. Chris Jennings may make his first appearance and there is fun already planned for that, similar to on the original Dark Shadows but much more humourous. Hee hee hee! Bill Malloy’s ghost should encounter Lily and Elizabeth. Lily can have tons of fun with Bill. I really like Lily as this cousin to dissuade Elizabeth needing to fear ghosts and the like, and Melissa has told me how wonderful it is for Elizabeth to finally have a girlfriend to pal around with, “She just never had that on the original show. This is really good for her!”

Liz and Lily

When we discussed it over the phone neither of us could quite figure out which of the two of them is “the straight man” in the relationship as that role sort of bounces back and forth between Elizabeth Stoddard and Lily Munster. Elizabeth shrugs at any clues that Lily is a daylight-walking vampire with even odder family members, and Lily doesn’t seem to notice Elizabeth being far more mundane than Munster, since to her Munster is mundane.

pop and magz
Another great thing is keeping Sam Evans alive and stretching out his weird psychic trips from his DS: First Year characteristics into being a reincarnation of Andre du Pres. This helps in the extreme with Maggie Evans processing her own reincarnation experiences.

If they had aimed to pull it off on Dark Shadows, which is what I saw them reaching toward, I’m not sure how Maggie could have handled that on her own. Her father, Sam, is the perfect bolster for that, especially if he’s already going through it himself. So in sorting out the main reason I started all of this, it ends up being a wonderful help in solving a lot of other dilemmas I might have faced if that wasn’t the reason I began.

Willie pensive Wadsworth looking down
My struggles with Willie Loomis have reached that safer harbour with him now as Wadsworth’s presence has helped to calm him down and I am very much looking forward to healing right along with him. His history is a mystery and should mostly remain so as it did on Dark Shadows. The main point with him is growth and learning better battles to pick, even if some are merely with his pen. Now that I have pen pals by snail mail I can practice my own calligraphy a bit more. ❤

As for the marriage novel, I’m still working on the next chapter which will be quite romantic. (And *cough* “adult”.) Their exploration of old memories will drift through, and I might add a card game in it rather than ending it with them planning to play one. It takes a lot out of me to go into Barnabas-mode, but it’s rewarding. As Sam himself mentions the couple in Chapter 22 of the novel, “…driving through the town of Collinsport to get to The Old House, where my daughter now lived with her excessively romantic husband…” He sure is!

I’ve complained he won’t let me write scenery, but the main thing I’ve had to admit to myself is that Barnabas, on his own terms, would hardly write scenery. The scenery he is forever looking at is his loving bride, Maggie, who is Kitty and Josette and herself. There is a lot to look at in a gal like that! (Even Cousin Lily can see the affection there. 😉 )

lily maggie and barnabas
Hopefully that’s updated everyone enough as to the state of things with me. I’m still determined and passionate, but I’m also healing from three years of shock, devastation in friendship loss, watching this science-fiction nightmare made of our lives happen unabated, and all of it being defended by masses of people who can’t bear to blame themselves for being misguided.

Now I get to editing, my letters, corresponding with new friends, and racing to the door when my sweetheart comes home. Then I look at my wine bottle and, after three years, I am finally able to say, “I don’t need that tonight. I’ll finish it tomorrow.”

love,

                                                                                           Daryl

P.S. If some of you out there, as several pen pals have expressed, mainly know Dark Shadows from the 2012 film of it and therefore believe I must automatically “hate” you? No. I don’t. It just got trendy to hate that film like a whole lot else got trendy to hate.

Hate became a disease online as it garnered attention. It’s a junior-high and high-school condition, and can also happen with spoiled louts in college. Whatever occurs to cause that; it’s a phase and a fad. I love the 2012 film, actually. I love a lot things that get a lot of hate. I always have, so I don’t worry about it. ❤

Abstinence: How To Do It And Why

I had my Facebook day yesterday. It started well. Then the drama came, the gossip, the signs work was in progress only to fall asunder to the overblown insecurities of mankind.

Still, I do my best to stick to what I created as a two-week abstinence plan. This plan only works if I mark it on a physical calendar. It didn’t work if I just tried to count the days and remember. Two-weeks seems to be the key to become more grounded again even as I struggle to face what has happened to us with this world of bumper-sticker images, like-clicks for both approval and conforming to masses, and the deluge of inflaming unimportant things.

The Pit Update For November 2016 podcast reveals a much calmer person in me. This was created by the consistent use of that two-week abstinence plan from Facebook. One Friday every two-weeks and with errands to run, so that I’m not using it all day either.

I feel there is hope. This log was not invented for the creation of glorious photos, though I’m sure most who look through it are seeking solely those. It was created for studious observances and also to keep myself sane.

Have any of you noticed becoming too excited and your temper riled much more often than it once was and on almost any whim? This is created by a lack of true engagement with people. The version you see more often than not in this day and age is a video-game creation of socializing. It doesn’t give you vocal inflections, tactile pats on the back, handshakes, hugs, or the visual expression of another human. What you see of other humans are fragments, mostly still photos of them smiling. The truth in human expressions is that they move and flow. In real life smiles form in motion, they don’t hold their shape constantly. We are receiving echos and tiny portions of each other in the belief we are having hearty human relationships, when in essence we are only getting crumbs.

Living on junk-food or fast-food gives the impression that you are fed because your stomach feels full. If the food is not giving you the nutrients you need you are still hungry, but unable to put the nutrients anywhere as you just filled yourself with junk. Human relationships work in the same way. If you aren’t getting proper human interaction, as is healthy for living, but are tricked into believing that you are? You are starved and begin behaving just as crazy as one going through famine. The only difference is famine sufferers are aware food is lacking, whereas with junk-food and social media we are given the false notion that our human needs are being met when they are not. It is living a contradiction and that creates insanity.

Social media makes it too easy to show pleasure due to happy buttons such as like-clicks, up-votes, +1’s, little hearts on tumblr and cute stickers. Your ability to express insight and what gives you joy is eliminated by these easy-to-use buttons and choices. Your emotional understanding in the positive atrophies by this use. Life isn’t so much of a joy anymore, it’s merely a click, or an excess of clicks from other people. It makes me wonder what would happen if we only had thumbs-down buttons. I don’t desire that, but I wonder about it. Would the ability to hate shrink, the way the ability to love has with happy-buttons, by the use of only having down-votes and -1’s? Who’s to say?

The main thing I know is in the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s there were “bad vibes” online but they didn’t show up so very frequently. Not that many people were using the internet anyway, and it was never on an expanded version of a portable telephone. We looked for newsgroups and pen friends and told of our particular interests to find who we may be akin to. And also we had to sit in chairs to use it. At the end of the day?

You turned it off.

What happens when we are constantly hooked up to the internet and carry it around with us everywhere? When we never have a solitary moment except to be interrupted with a beep or a notification popping at you?

Well, as the old joke goes:

“You’re soaking in it!”

Did that make you laugh? Maybe just a little. Humour is recognizing the awful truth with a little blurb attached at times.

 


If anyone is asking if I got into the online-entertainment racket just to observe the waste and trouble going on in the world? The answer is no, I didn’t. I got into it to get the reflective responses of what the characters were doing and learning along the way. What I got instead was social media, the advice to use it, and having to engage with an audience that avoided discussion of my creation, as well as ego-driven types who could spend all their time telling me what I was all about and should do in negative ways when I’d never met them before in my life, as well as watching how people were spending their time in gossiping, ranting, posting repeats, throwing links and images around like candy spewing from a pinata, and that was what was left to me.

Occasionally, and very occasionally, someone would post commentary on Episode One in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows and EVERYONE would celebrate as if the problem was solved or would be solved, “You see there, Daryl! Look! It’s finally happening.”

Do you have any idea how damned many times that false alarm flashed before all of us? Fifty times? One hundred times? Have we lost count? I have.

But the claims of “being busy” kept coming in. Yeah. I spent a few years mostly on Facebook. I could see pretty easily what all y’all were so “busy” doing. Wasting-time for the most part, but with the periodic crisis, or rare revelation, or the visit to a restaurant in which we get to view what was on your plate. Gosh, pretty busy all right. Busy with nothing for the most part. Gotcha. How long did it take to keep creating all that “busy” news and posting it? How long did it take to write out paragraphs of excuses about why “people” weren’t doing what they naturally used to do?

Tingler got through fourteen episodes in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, reported his enjoyment of it, and had fun doing it in twenty days. He was busy with things in his own life, yes. Being on Facebook was not one of them.

The intense reaction of “I am not addicted!” has been screamed at me many times. It’s one of the first signs that someone is addicted. Now? It’s being admitted more and more often that social media is addictive and people are admitting to being addicted to it. It is not a joyful admittance either like, “I love watching movies. I’m addicted to them!” Nope, it’s being said as a sad fact one wishes they could change. (Even some of my relatives are saying it, a few of which I am not fond of. Wow.)


“What can I do?” one may ask. Well you can write to me about how I accomplished the two-week abstinence plan if you would like to, if you’re not too terrified to write to me or can remember how to write an email or letter. I got into this to help fictional characters. Helping people, real or fictional, is obviously something ingrained in who I am, but it does come at a cost: good behaviour, gratitude and trust.

The other thing you can do? Learn to observe carefully. I did and that is what has made me who I am today. And if you want a fun way to learn how to observe?

Sherlock Holmes.

Not the new versions of him, not the flashy ones, the old versions of him:

the-complete-sherlock-holmes-sherlock-holmes-books

The books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Or the wonderful rendition as closely based on the books as possible:

holmes-with-magnifying-glass

 as performed by Jeremy Brett

And that is where you start.

The Shock Has Finally Arrived

I wanted to make this blog post for my readers who care and are concerned.

It just hit me this morning. Came out of almost nowhere but there was a trigger. I was telling a new person I’ve met for the second time about how much things have changed due to the new technology.

My companion told me it’s gotten so bad people are being lured into unsafe situations with a virtual game they will play on their phones, a hide and seek type game. They hunt virtual objects in the physical world.

Once upon a time, and it sure wasn’t that long ago, we were all so angry about people shouting their cel phone conversations in public. And now, gradually, but still feeling as if it was over night, most people are locked into their little smartphone screens, so much so they do this while walking, while driving and I’ve even seen someone do this on a skateboard. (Thankfully not so much with bicycle riders. *knock on wood* ) They don’t often use those phones to talk to people verbally.

Then I expressed how this epidemic was like a flood; it altered the social-landscape so drastically that a flood is a wonderful metaphor for what’s happened to almost all of us.

All of a sudden I worried about things I’d done the night before that perhaps I hadn’t remembered. Something out of my control that I had already assured myself by doing some back pedaling after I woke up. Then a feeling of anxiety hit me. It felt like an anxiety attack. I wasn’t sure.

I was working on editing Osheen’s interview for the Intro To Episode 16 last night. I thought of calling others and tried but she was the first person I reached. We only had about ten minutes but it was important to talk to her and thank her for being a friend, a real one, a human one.

Then I got in touch with another friend and we talked for hours. I finally figured out what was happening.

I am in shock.

Of all the stages of grief; I’ve ranted, raved, cried, felt angry, bargained, and now I’m deleting contacts from my mobile phone. I give them one or two weeks but if my voice mails aren’t answered I come to realize, for all intents and purposes, these friendships are gone. Gone from the new addictions in technology, gone from my social life but never from my heart. The people themselves are all alive and likely fair in health, but other wise the friendships are dead.

New ones have happened, thank Heavens, thank everything good. And this post is also to thank those people again if they see this.

I will hopefully express this more in the coming podcast and how we can help to heal, as I’m very aware I’m not the only person suffering through this loss. It’s a world wide epidemic. It’s not just me going through it, and as you probably know I care about a lot of people. I care deeply about their health and well-being, however different they are from me I always try to find what will best suit that individual for their needs.

This is likely why the fandom politics got as bad as it got for my arrival in the Dark Shadows world. There are so many people who are lonely and feel neglected, but somehow believing this state of affairs and disconnect is natural for us. Of course they’re going to be argumentative and bashing if that’s most of what they’re exposed to, sadly. I sure wouldn’t have barked back if I didn’t feel so hurt too.

One thing that is very important, and terrifyingly so, is many people are communicating inefficiently most of the time, especially now, but we’re doing it because we all have a very vital human need: each other. We need those of like-mind, we need companionship, we need social stimulus. Some people need it so bad they will attend restaurants just to chew out and swear at the staff. They’ll get it in unhealthy ways if they can’t get it in healthy ways. I’ve done that too. I was so desperate to get any discussion I even dealt with people I would never talk to or trust otherwise. Thankfully things are better enough that that has changed, but that’s how bad it got and I knew it.

I had shock for not getting the discussion, for the troubles that my work got so much silence.

I hadn’t had the shock for the friendship loss, for losing so many people so quickly, people I knew for decades, people who hated mobile phones when they came into prominence.

Even my mother told me, “You know I remember when we got answering machines and it made us crabby. We wanted to talk to a real person. Not too soon after we only wanted to talk to the machine. We didn’t want a live person anymore.” Boy! I sure remember that! (Currently I’m a little of column A and a little of column B.)

Still, it’s here. It’s real. In fact I’ve even made new friends solely because of this epidemic that’s plaguing us as a race. The name Morlock (Rising) that I use is a metaphor, not just for The Time Machine’s future by H. G. Wells, but what would happen to us. It was tongue-in-cheek. Now it’s ironically, vividly, and physically taking place.

I am hoping for change for the better. But this is part of my grief cycle. I hope it isn’t going to go on too long. It’s very painful and I feel like I want to throw-up.

Please be well, everyone. Take care of yourselves, tell your loved ones how much you love them. That’s what I’m likely doing as you read this.

And thank you, Written In Blood. You’re there for me and you were there for me when almost no one else was. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. (Hope you read this!)