Why pen pals work and social media wastes time. Incorporating “Bewitched” into Episode 18. Social network history. Two books by Nicholas Carr.
Episode 12: Tons on regression therapy for Maggie Evans, music used. Healing Barnabas & Carolyn scene. Captain Gregg helping Sam Evans. Dr. Hoffman’s place in everything. Pivotal point with Lily Munster, Elizabeth and Tom Jennings. Milligan & Hecubus fun.
Episode 13: Purpose of dedication to Kathryn Leigh Scott and importance of her contributions and characters in Dark Shadows. My falling into the Julia/Barnabas trap and how a Julia/Barnabas fan, Helena Clara Bouchet, helped to pull me out of it. Incorporating much more “Clue” with Willie & Wadsworth, and the topic of Willie Loomis in general. Caleb Collins meeting with Lily and Elizabeth.
Why the Morticia scene with Victoria turned out the way that it did. Final scene with car race in construction between my occupations in vision therapy. (Osheen Nevoy’s response to the scene.) How music was chosen throughout podcast: Ennio Morricone, Verne Langdon, Stoa, Claudine Longet.
Better methods in communication, and how to make requests for potential MJD podcast, etc. All methods of which have been available since the 20th Century.
Theme song for this podcast: “All Night Long” by Peter Murphy (1988)
With the lengthy podcast for June out and being listened to (however little it’s content is properly digested) I have noticed a great number of lurkers wandering over to this site. The statistics lead me to believe many lovers of my work who can’t be arsed to admit it or, maybe, write or phone me, (sorry if I missed your call,) are awaiting further fun goodies. Fun goodies that they are incapable of understanding to begin with so it’s all rather nonsensical.
Meanwhile, what has Daryl been doing? Corresponding like the dickens!
I enjoyed picking up sixteen letters & postcards recently, then setting them on the table during a visit with new friends to announce the old chestnut, “No one writes letters anymore.” We all chuckled merrily over the joke, were awed by the abundance and gushed at the artistry on many of the envelopes.
And this just in from a dear pen friend, “I have to agree on Facebook, it’s a bunch of crap now. I get more forwards now then ever. Not much in the way of actual posts of what some folks have done. So I have pretty much signed off completely… It used to be a cool thing, games, actual talking between people, but now it is such an addicting thing for so many, and that some actually believe that all those people they are ‘friends’ with, are really their friends. But now it’s just a bunch of haters, forwarding stupid forwards, some that make no sense. And the ones I dislike are the ‘answer and repost if you really care.’ And now some bullies have really taken over social media as a whole, and it sucks. Not at all like what I was hoping for, instant message and fun, and it hasn’t been that way in a long time. You’re not missing anything on it, believe me. Just glad I never let it destroy me, like it has for so many.”
Now onto the point of this log entry…
I received this card in the mail from a pen friend I’ve been in contact with for about a year. Like many pen pals, she is having problems getting people who will consistently write to her. She wonders,
“I always think it’s odd when people sign up for snail mail correspondence and then stop writing. I was really lucky that my first _____ pen pals were yourself and another gal. We all still correspond. The few people afterwards stopped after one letter! So odd! I don’t think anyone has expectations to get a letter every week or something but still… why even sign up to do it?”
To which I have responded:
“As for the deterioration of letter-writing among those who sign up to pen pal? I found more evidence of why during my Facebook Friday: There are two [I will label these as First and Second] strong proponents of pen palling that require a fee for membership, and have Facebook groups only open to paid members. A good idea in theory, yes?
“My use of Facebook induced a struggle in addiction that is extremely like nicotine. I’ve broken the cycle by carefully scheduling my use of it to once every two weeks. (I’m now moving to three weeks.) This took almost a year for me to accomplish.
“However, the First pen pal organization with a Facebook group has members who were once writing to me. One, a man who sent me my first quill pen, is active there. He has often promised to write when he notices me and? Never does. I wrote to him recently and he never wrote back. [Pardon this entry if you have just written, my dear!]
“The Second also uses Facebook with a few groups. They boast of this on their website and in their newsletters. (Their fees are higher and periodic – as opposed to the First which has a very low one-time fee.)
“This encouragement to Facebook greatly demotes the act of letter-writing into the ‘happy idea’ that its Facebook users are engaging effusively in this activity. Facebook posts will ask questions about letter-writing preferences, but… anyone can pretend to know and have preferences about something they once did or never do. That’s easy.
“In the end? Many people are signing up for pen pals because it’s a happy or romantic idea for them. The long-term effort doesn’t take hold in reality. In short this is known as living-in-denial. It’s also the reason one can find so much unused stationery in thrift shops.
“The ‘happy idea’ pen pals who rarely do it? They like to buy much in the way of supplies for their future hobby. That gives them the tactile proof they will see-it-through. (Similar to when people purchase exercise equipment to lose weight.) They may hold on to masses of stationery for years, but it eventually has to go. It makes very little sense to drop off used stationery to a thrift store, doesn’t it?”
Of course the “happy idea” style of people come in all sorts: famous novelist, delightful actor, slim-as-a-rail beauty, voracious reader of books, award-winning architect, and so on. It’s fun to daydream. Daydreams can dismiss a wealth of calendar days and fulfill hours of time. And social media often manages to push people out of reality and far into daydreams. Much like the The Mirror of Erised in the lore of Harry Potter.
The Mirror of Erised is a mirror, which, according to Albus Dumbledore, shows the “deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts.”
Dumbledore warns Harry, “Men have wasted away before it, not knowing if what they have seen is real, or even possible.”
Such is the case I see in social media where once I saw this with television.
In the meantime, between letters and shows, studies and healing (however sour I feel about the state of modern life) I am managing to get a little book reading done, and am currently on Chapter 6 of The Glass Cage by Nicholas Carr. It’s helping to explain so very much that is, forthwith, ruining our intelligence, skills, and wisdom.
One thing cheering me up as I go are a few pen pals enjoying the show on CD. They never cease thanking me for reaching out to them and sharing it and my company with them.
It is to them I can finally say, “You’re welcome.” ❤
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.
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.
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,
“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 TheCybermen instead. It’s also exactly why we attained creations such as The Borg and TheCybermen in our storytelling: It’s a warning of things that could very much happen to us in the future. (Or right now.)
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!
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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. 😉 )
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.”
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. ❤
I’m still here. I’m rusty at creating a radio drama episode but, like with any form of creative expression, the knack should return with practice.
I maintained Facebook abstinence for the full two-week stretch from the new pen pals and people I’m mailing CDs to. I love it! This is what I wanted and it’s the world that I know. My postman is also very happy with me. He says, “You tell them that I’m happy with what you’re doing and I look forward to getting a hug from you when I see you. You tell them that.”
There. Told. 🙂
The repeating cold/flu is still floating around. Clover and I got Version 2.0, Jonah didn’t, and my sweetheart is now on Version 3.0. I received tons of wonderful goodies for my birthday but I have to wait to have him to myself again.
So for my pen pals now getting the CDs of The Pit? Bless your hearts that you didn’t let the dead-weight of social media keep you from what you loved. And it’s fascinating to find out what you’ve been up to in the years we didn’t know each other as I struggled in the vicious Red Queen’s Race of anti-social networks. You also know it takes time to build something, so my own accomplishments might seem fantastic but not impossible to you.
And with my downgrading back to human? Other humans are doing it too. I hear from people more by email and private messages away from the social networks. Sadly some of these folks are still playing the “avoid-the-podcast-topic-game”, but not everyone. Some finally realized playing that game is dysfunctional and annoys me enough to get cranky on the podcasts! Good! I’d rather have fun on those shows, not feel the need to display rank bitterness. (Spraying metaphoric Lysol on my woes ends up making them worse. It messes up the voice-acting for the radio-drama too, just from the stress.)
In any case I’m very pleased to be spending my time getting rid of my horde of stationery. Like most forms of collecting things, too much comes when life is empty or there is a void one feels the need to fill. Now I’m releasing all the fun goodies I saved, and as I send them along? I keep finding new areas in which I’ve hoarded more! But it makes way for further space as I go. This is a good thing.
The pen pals who are interested are eager for more but in the manner they know better: The human paced postal system. However there are some trying to get links to work in a somewhat desperate sense. I always know when they do get the links to work because I tend to never hear from them again. I see the statistical growth, but the silence is a recurring problem and one I doubt I’ll ever really get used to.
Is a Jonathan Frid character hanging out with a Tim Curry character just too sexy? Maybe!
With the lack of information I used to have, but now am being provided with, I’m discovering an important point we all forgot about. The poor and suffering are the most appreciative of good entertainment. They were often the people I was seeking, too. Still am. It’s the especially wealthy and comfortable that have been the worst problem. They’re watching a soap-opera because, for the most part, they have few troubles, desire drama and don’t empathise much with people outside of themselves. They can download the podcast easily and get angry at me for struggling and suffering. They’re greedy and want the silver-spoon version of The Pit. Catering to people like that is detrimental. Rewarding rudeness is nothing short of despicable.
Not all rich people are this way, though. There have been many well-to-do types of privilege. I am currently thinking of a fictional one though, and one fictional character many proclaim as empty-headed and bubbly:
Josette du Pres
She is a rare wealthy character on Dark Shadows who cares about classes below hers. Her concern and desire for comradeship with Angelique is unusual for someone of her own designation in 1795. We see something quite similar with that of Barnabas Collins and Ben Stokes, too. And when we think about Barnabas and Josette both being as such? That is certainly a match made in Heaven. ❤
We require wealthy people that empathise with those who suffer to make the difference, as we also need the suffering to appreciate each other. To me that’s what our stories show us.
Social media turned that story-telling, which changed our lives for the better, into mindless nostalgia of photos to thumb-up. It preys on the obsessive-compulsive-disorder which resounds in us to click happy-buttons and lose the heart of who we are. The happy-buttons, rewards of hearts and stars, regress us into kindergarteners. Kindergartners are easy to manipulate.
I didn’t know this was happening for so long because I had barely touched the social media. I was very involved in vision-therapy, librivox audio books, and creating The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows while watching and taking notes of all the shows that blend into it. I knew something of the smartphone phenomenon but we all joked about that long ago. The Blackberry phone came out with its whistles and bells and what did we call it?
A lady at church told me it was once a faux-pas to like-click posts on Facebook. She also recalls a friend asking her, “What’s with all these bumper stickers? I’m seeing them everywhere. All these images with quotations. What a waste!”
As it turns out there are others like me who didn’t see this happening either. We still used the internet to educate ourselves and keep in touch with loved ones. We had to hear less and less from those loved ones to begin recognizing we’d suddenly been left in the lurch. That led to many walks of life without similar interests reaching out to at least support each other in that one obvious fact. We were alone, very alone. A guy on a Gothic forum told me, “Some of the most artistic and rebellious people I have ever known have been siphoned by this conformity.” No kidding! I’ve seen it too.
In any event, those of similar interests are finding each other again, however slowly and I am very grateful. Several pen pals don’t fear discussing The Pit episodes. They enjoy it. They didn’t know it even existed. Now they look forward to more and express:
“Please keep up with this – you will be glad you followed your muse when she called you. But please don’t burn out on it—it would change the tone. You have such a happy enjoyable tone of joy with it. Yeah, that’s it—it’s JOYFUL! Ride this mule, baby!”
Now that’s more like it! And it’s what I like to do for others.
So for all the newbies:
I bid you welcome to The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows!
And for the old-hats? I welcomed you a long time ago, and I still do. But we must keep something in mind. We have flaws. That is human. You’ve felt guilty and uncertain because you fed into the bystander-effect, got caught up in only paying attention to the drama, lost the ability to talk about what you enjoyed. Is this all your fault? I don’t think so. But you still feel guilty and uncertain about me and the fact you played the “avoid-the-podcast-topic-game”. You really should stop playing that game. It’s not a fun game and no one wins it. (I prefer Kill Doctor Lucky and Tabloid Teasers, myself.)
But… what if you admitted to your flaws? What if you felt sorry and explained? In what light would you be seen if you owned up to a mistake or even several? Who would you be very akin to if you exhibited some remorse or apologetic forms of expression?
That would show you to be similar to one of our most beloved characters in the world: