I gave up Facebook for Lent. Every year I give up something, more to test my resolve than anything else, though in previous years the act itself was the end-all, be-all until normal life resumes. But not this year.
I'm losing my way as an artist. Sketching, painting, blogs, website and projects that urgently needed completion were, while not abandoned, took a back seat. Where was I? On Facebook. Texting. My phone was practically stuck to my face. The amount of hours I spent on Facebook in particular was embarrassing. I wasn’t even sure I was enjoying it all that much; I just couldn’t stop. True, it was a year of much work and tight deadlines. Often I came home already feeling like a zombie. But still, no excuses, right?
Two things happened this year that firmed my resolve about giving up Facebook for 40 days, both having to do with Newbery Honor recipient Grace Lin. I’ve always admired Grace’s work. She’s mastered the art of storytelling, whittled down to its most essential elements. Nothing ostentatious, no multilayered galaxies expanding parallel universes. But when she writes, it sticks. The Year of the Rat still resonates with me, long after I designed it. And when I read the line “You only lose what you hold onto.” in Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, I downright bawled. So you can only imagine how I felt when she visited the office, and while I was being introduced by uber-editor Alvina Ling as the designer for The Year of the Rat, Grace said, “Oh yeah, and also mercadoodles.” My mind paused. She remembers me as mercadoodles. That is so AWESOME.
The second catalyst was Grace’s post on Chinese New Year. It’s the Year of the Tiger—a year to be brave and take risks. And that is exactly what I intend to do, to be brave and go after my passion, which is painting pictures (designing is a close second). I’ve set up short-term goals during my Facebook hiatus. There are a few projects I need to reclaim, and by the time Easter rolls around, I not only intend to have successfully lasted 40 days without this “time-suck”, but have accomplished what I set out to do. Stay tuned!