Virtually Grounded

Image © Nguyen Thai | Dreamstime Stock Photos

On May 21st, I beamed as I read a recent five-star review for my book Angel Hero on Amazon. “Darkly Disturbing but Spiritually Uplifting,” wrote Hypnotist 101. “An exquisitely woven thriller, this excellent and compelling novel uses first-person narrative to great effect.”

Hypnotist 101’s book about publishing on Amazon had helped me, so I’d praised it. The author made good on his promise to give me an honest review as well. Got to love the benefits of social networking. His review ended with: “This is ‘Ghost’ meets ‘Psycho’. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Recommended.” Who wouldn’t smile? Praise for writing well gives me a lift and helps balance out my computer lows.

When viruses infect my PC, affecting my ability to write with Microsoft Word and connect with Windows Mail, I freak. Yesterday, a techie failed to exterminate the bugs infecting my Internet Explorer home page. Today, a different guru destroyed the virus but disappeared my Windows Mail. Both days my ear hurt from talking on the phone for almost three hours with a seemingly savvy computer technician.

After two hours of listening to the geek, a still small voice urged me to tune him out, practice Tai Chi, and write. I obeyed. Tai Chi’s slow movements grounded and soothed me. Soon I sat down and listened to the guy with half an ear. The other ear and a half strained to record my thoughts, which I wrote in a spiral notebook and rewrote for this blog post. Words spilled from my red ballpoint pen onto the white lined paper. The tactile touch of the smooth metal scribbling across the paper slowed me down and helped me think, and made me wonder why I wasn’t looking away from the seductive screen more often.

These days, I’m feeling fragmented from spending too much time fixing or surfing the computer. Venturing into new social media territory with my blog and learning about Google+ and Twitter and Author Facebook pages, I am investigating ways to bring my memoir to potential readers. I’m learning how to blog and write html code and book reviews so I can exchange book reviews with other authors. But on days when I look up from my computer screen and notice twilight’s replaced sunlight, my body’s stiff as a corpse, and my eyes are bone dry, I feel life passing me by. Although I sit in a chair in front of my PC, I’ve been away somewhere inside my head.

I miss being present, right here and right now. So I’m trying to surf the internet less, and turn it off when Barry comes home so we can talk and touch. I want to revel in breezy May afternoons like the one cooling me today, watch Myna Birds hop across the grass, walk barefoot through this lovely old redwood house in this city full of cultures and conflict and cars.

I hope you and I can be present for each other as well, sharing stories, pictures, and music in ways that support us both. I strive to remember that our interactions would be virtually impossible were it not for those glitch-ridden, conglomerations of bits and bytes we call computers.

Lizbeth Hartz is the author of the true crime, true love memoir Angel Hero, Murder in Hawaii, A True Story. Buy it on Amazon or sign up to read the 1st chapter free.

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