Sweet Sabbatical

Kate’s wonderful post on the somewhat lost art of getting absorbed in an activity — deliberately not multi-tasking (unitasking? monotasking?) — nudged me closer to a decision I’ve been putting off for a while. Toward the end of her post, Kate said

Also, if you don’t see me around here? It’s generally safe to assume it’s because I’m feeling the need to do more listening than talking. That’s all.

For the last several weeks, I’ve had this terrible feeling that I would have to  flounce from the internet altogether to retain my mental health. It’s not that I don’t love this blog, or that I don’t adore having a real audience for my writing,* or that I don’t have anything to say about what we talk about here. It’s just that I’ve been writing and moderating here for almost three years,** and I am tired.

I’m tired of high-speed, high-quality interactivity. I’m tired of multitasking. I’m tired of keeping track of commenters; much as I love you all, there are just so damn many of you these days. I’m tired of reading drive-by trolls whose sole purpose in life is to hurt me and anyone else who happens to be reading. What I’m not tired of, thank god, is reading and writing; I’m tired of talking. Bone tired. Kate’s post hit me between the eyes: I need to make more room in my life for being absorbed, for letting my mind stay with one thing for a while without wandering. If I don’t do something differently, disaster is imminent.

An artist's depiction of my current state of mind

So here’s what I’ve decided: I’m not gonna flounce off the internet. I’m not going to leave the blog and scorch the earth behind me. I’m just going to take a Shapely Sabbatical. You won’t see me around here for a while (except possibly with an occasional comment, link, or especially clever lemur). I have complete faith that my co-bloggers will soldier on just fine without me, and that you all will play nice and follow the ever-more-draconian comments policy we all know and love. And I trust that I can go on sabbatical, work on my dissertation and my poetry and my sanity, and come back to blogging when I’ve got the passion for it again.

Deal?

*It still floors me, in fact — I can write something, and then thousands of people will read it and pass it on! I have dreamed of having that kind of audience all my life, and it’s no less delightful even with my author photo as a cartoon and my nom de plume stolen from a Doty poem.

**I believe that’s thirty in Internet Years.

38 thoughts on “Sweet Sabbatical

  1. Above all else, enjoy yourself. In your honour, I have written you a crap Haiku. I would have liked it to be a good one, but it isnt, but I mean well.

    Sweet machine
    she senses it is time
    to stroke the lemur

  2. Am I the only one who went to the Andrew Lloyd Webber place in her brain on reading that second footnote? (“I’ve tried for three years/ Feels like thirty”)

    Good luck with your sweet sabbatical, Sweet Machine! Much applause to you for have the self-knowledge to see what you need, and the courage to take that stand for yourself!

  3. Have a wonderful rest, SwM. And may you finish your dissertation with minimum stress. Mr. Irish just handed in his revisions, so I have been observing 1st hand how great that feels.

    Paintmonkey, I am stealing “stroke the lemur”. I can’t stop giggling over it.

  4. Oh noes!

    But I totally, totally get it. I keep trying to convince the husband man person to Turn! Off! The Internet! (with no success).

    May the dissertation gods smile on you SM, and come back (eventually) well rested and ready to kick some shapely ass!

  5. Sweet Machine – Enjoy the rest. I hope the rest of your dissertation proceeds smoothly! You will be missed, but good for you for know what you need and taking it!

  6. I think many of us are more into “semi-tasking” than we are into “multi-tasking,” and the more tired we are, the more “semi” we become.

    Enjoy your rest, SM, and dissertate like a woman on a mission.

  7. I am still thoroughly amazed by all that you and your co-bloggers do to keep this a safe internet space, and all the crap you must have to wade through to do so. I can’t even get into a discussion of fat acceptance in the comments on Amazon without blowing my Sanity Watchers points for, like, a year. Enjoy your well deserved quiet time!

    P.S. MezzoSherri, I totally started singing JCS in my head after reading the second footnote.

  8. i will miss you SO MUCH, sweet machine. but obviously this is the right thing for you to do. have you ever read anne morrow lindbergh’s “gift from the sea”? a little hippie, maybe, but her metaphor about her creative life being like a basin fed from a spring is so appropriate and beautiful. she talks about how the basin fills slowly, drop by drop, and just the act of living in society drains the bowl as steadily as it fills. solitude, she says, allows the bowl to fill completely. so i hope the basin of your creativity gets a good, long draught.

  9. I will miss you, Sweet Machine. I miss FJ and A Sarah (as blog contributor *and* commenter), too!

    Have a nice, restful break for the internets. I hope you return with renewed spirits and some awesome lemurs.

  10. SM, you rawk. Really, really hard.

    Wishing you the best of the best as you recharge your batteries. Also, lemurs. Lots of lemurs.

  11. The other day, I thought, “I spend too much time just mindlessly staring at a computer screen. I’m going to do something different tonight!” So I watched some TV. Texted a few people. Remembered I had to send an email. Pulled out my laptop. Not that I’m using it. It’s just on my lap. I’m actually watching TV and relaxing. Uh-oh, sexist joke on TV. Maybe I’ll just make a post. Just a small post. Haven’t checked my Facebook in a while. God, I should really read some books. Let me see what’s on my Amazon wishlist — yeah, I bet those books will be good. Holy crap, when did the sun go down?

    You let me know if you figure out the secret of staring into the middle distance, because I am still working on it.

  12. A limerick for you Sweet Machine. Written with love and devotion (and an attempt at the funniez).

    There once was girl who kicked the blog-bucket
    She came to SP and wrote “Well…just fuck it”
    Our eyes start to bleed
    As we digest our read
    And then stick out our thumb to suck it.

  13. I hope you have a lovely, restful sabbatical and get lots of dissertation-writing done. I’ve only been blogging for a few weeks and I’ve been wondering how long the honeymoon period will last…

  14. You certainly made the right decision here – if the message to take some time out is as strong as you describe, you better don’t ignore it. I just hope, for purely selfish reasons, that your love for blogging will return, as I thoroughly enjoyed your posts and will miss you.

  15. I’ve decided to go on a Lemur and silly joke sabbatical until your return. I’m afraid there’s just no point to it anymore….I – I – I – (runs down railway station platform as train with Sweetmachine aboard pulls away) I don’t have it in me to go on. I’ll save all my Lemur jokes for your return. If you wish to see how my angst looks in Lemur terms, simply do an image search on google for “Aye-Aye Lemur.”

  16. Rest is good. You are good. You resting is good.
    See you again when you are good and rested.

  17. Rest, revive, survive – the Australian roadway signs are right, dammit. Get done what you need to get done and I look forward to your return!

  18. Pulled out my laptop. Not that I’m using it. It’s just on my lap. I’m actually watching TV and relaxing.

    The other night, Al and I had the non-TV (Roku + projector) on, while I was using my laptop and he was playing with his iPad. I was typing furiously — probably writing a comment here — and he starts playing with an app that makes really, really loud noises.

    Me: WTF? Turn that down! I’m watching TV!
    Al: You are not watching TV! You’re writing, and you haven’t looked up from your computer in the last 10 minutes!
    Me: But I’m still LISTENING to the TV!

    And the funny/sad thing is, I really was. It was, predictably, an old episode of Law & Order, so I didn’t need to pay more than a tiny bit of attention. But I WAS paying that tiny bit of attention, so I was really mad about Al just assuming that because I was clearly engrossed in writing something, I wasn’t also engrossed in the show. And I really didn’t want to stop “watching” the show, even though I also had no intention of putting down the computer. Which is fucked-up and ridiculous, but at the time, it made sense.

    All of which is to say, Sweet Machine, I approve of this decision, even if not having you around here is a heartbreaker. And we should perhaps spend more time hanging out in person discussing non-internet-related things while you’re away.

  19. SM, thank you for everything you’ve posted, moderated, and done here. I hope your sabbatical is restful and refreshing.

  20. Have a fantastic sabbatical! I will miss your wit and commentary VERY MUCH. Good for you for putting your own sanity first.

  21. (whimpers and clingz)

    Dear, dear SM, don’t mind me clinging to your leg. Take all the time you need. Find your inner lemur and bring us back the wisdom of it when you are ready.

    @Paintmonkey: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO – OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Don’t stop the lemur jokes!!!! I will be bereft without them!

  22. De-lurking to say how much I have related to and enjoyed all that you have written SM. Thank you and enjoy your sabbatical!!

  23. Thanks and best of luck to you! Will look forward to your eventual return in whatever form works for you.

  24. Rest breaks from The Internet are SO IMPORTANT, OMG. Lord knows I need them from time to time. I had to learn that if I wasn’t having fun when I was “having fun”, then I needed to stop and step back.

    @Harriet Jacobs: ….now I’m embarassed to admit that I do stuff like that when I say “That’s it! No more Internet for Lampdevil! I’m tired of it!” It’s like a mould that’s managed to creep into the cracks of my life….

    Ahem. Enjoy your blogger-break, Sweet Machine. :)

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