Far from the maddening crowds

Up until the age of 30-something, I would’ve sworn on a stack of bibles that the title of Thomas Hardy’s book Far from the Madding Crowd was actually Far from the Maddening Crowd. It’s a malapropism I still love though, and this past week it’s been playing around my brain and lips.

I’ve been stuck in The Artist’s Way again, and one of last week’s tasks was “reading deprivation”, a great 90s distraction that included books and newspapers and TV. In this era, it’s definitely social media and so I took myself off to get some distance, learn to focus without it, and start recalibrating my relationship with it.

Since closing off the Dorothy Black days, it’s been a blur to know what to use social media for other than just scrolling, scrolling, scrolling – not posting anything meaningful, not building, not adding … just scrolling. Scrolling and feeling bad. It’s astonishing how bad social media can make me feel even if I’m looking at stuff I like.

Like, watch screenwriting posts – I should be on that script we’re busy with but I’m not. Or, look at all that great art … oh guess what I’m not doing? All my art. Oh, look at that author with another book and guess what I’m doing? Not writing, scrolling.

Gah. Anyway. It was time for this to stop and it turns out that Week 4 of AW was a great opportunity to do so and it’s all been going smashingly well and I’ve been writing about it all … but over on Substack.

I mention this because the other day Sarah asked me where my posts had disappeared to. (Actually, to be honest, I said: “I haven’t blogged on my site for a while because I’ve been posting weekly on Substack about this Artist’s Way course I’m doing.” And then she said “Oh yes I was meaning to ask you where your posts had disappeared to you should let people know”, but it sounds cooler to myself when I pretend people are actually noticing when I’m not posting and then posting just in case you too were wondering “gosh wherever did that Tanya person disappear to”. It happens. I sometimes think about random newsletter people I’ve subscribed to. AnyWAY.)

I started posting there for the AW updates because the blogging and commenting function is simply more user friendly, and I didn’t cross-post here, because I didn’t want to split any conversations on the off-chance those might happen. Which they have, in a way, and that’s been very nice. Check it out:

AW1: Recovering a Sense of Safety
AW2: Recovering a Sense of Identity
AW3: Recovering a Sense of Power
AW4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

After posting on Substack, there hasn’t been much time to update here. I don’t think I’m the only one who hit the 2023 ground running and what little time has been left has been spent immersing myself in the morning pages and the AW’s tasks and creative recovery process. I’ve also started doing a sort-of art class and have signed up for Lee Child’s fiction-writing course on BBC’s Maestro. It seems that far from the maddening crowds, one can get a little room to hear yourself again and do stuff that matters.

I’m not done with social media of course, I just want to use it more consciously going forward. I’m spending the week figuring out what that is (for the first time since October last year I actually have some time off) and just in case you don’t know my handles, they are:

Twitter: @tanyameeson
Facebook: @tanyameeson933
Instagram: @tanyameeson

In the meantime! I think I’ll revisit my plan to post AW only Substack and start loading them here also; there are ways around the commenting business and frankly I kinda miss posting on what still feels like my home site.

If you feel like checking the Substack space out, visit tanyameeson.substack.com, otherwise see you later this week when I start posting here again.


Photo by Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash

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