Writing and Reading Like It’s 2014. Will It Stick?

There are three alarms on my phone. If I’m being honest, they run my life. They ring when the sky is still pitch black and get louder and more annoying as the sun comes up. They don’t disturb the kids, but they do warn the cats that it is almost feeding time, and as soon as the last one goes off, they’re at my door, meowing like I might have forgotten them.. They’re unwilling to acknowledge that it’ll be a good hour or so before they’re fed, before I come out of my room. 

I barely see the screen when I begin to type, my eyes still blurred with a deep sleep fog. My legs still wobbly as they make their way to my desk. It was nine months ago I moved my desk in my room, rearranging work to fit this new life. I, like many of you, doubted if it would work, how we’d find new ways of working and living….

Our enjoyment of things would be reformed, and sitting out in the sun in a patch of grass would become solace. I worked and wrote through most of it. But none better than the times I put down my phone and got away. None better than the times I kept at it. None better than the times I read a small book, or a chapter of a big book, or watched a movie that thrilled me and reminded me of what it meant to live. 

Over the past few months, I have received comments, Instagram direct messages, and personal emails in response to my newsletters about the importance of continuing in this  format. In short, a thank you for not moving written content to Instagram only. Like me, many of you want something that isn’t social media.  I drink articles like honey tea, one after another, then another, too. And though I understand the world we live in–and understand the role social media plays in that–words, real ones, not captions under photos, have provided me with the vigor to make it through this year. 

Forgive me for writing emotionally about all of it. Sometimes I fear that doing so will become tiresome for my readers, or even for myself!. But the truth in this feeling about words was confirmed to me the other day while on a conference call. “Do not spin the story of the year. If we’re not honest, we can’t honor the year…how we have grown, what we have learned, how the pandemic has allowed us to see each other. Consider—consider what can we take from the year and plant with it. What was the experience, the learning and what’s still lingering— this is a way of coping.”  — Sonya Rnee Taylor 

To spin what this year has been would be a disservice to myself. And to you too. So I won’t. What this year has been is emotional. Words, however simple or complex they’ve appeared on a screen or in a book, have allowed for fullness in that emotionality. 

With the influx of media people turned bloggers via substack, or people like me who have kept their blogs and continued to write on them week after week (some, 270 days in), what is that thing that has us running away from social media as we currently know it? I love inspiration. I love conversation. I love sharing. But I loathe the feeling of isolation. And social media seems to amplify that. Long-format words, combats it. 

I can’t rid myself of it completely, social media. At the very least, it is central to my income as some brands want quicker and faster. They don’t see what I see in my email and messages every week. But this is where you are, where we are.It seems we aren’t returning to what we knew 2019 to be, but rather, how we found ourselves in 2013, 2014, and 2015, too. The old days of blogging. A slower and supportive place. A space that unlike those years,  acknowledges the political and personal growth of the last few years, but rejects the other end of it that keeps us emotionally stagnant and longing for something that doesn’t exist. 

What is that? And, I wonder, will it stick?

9 thoughts on “Writing and Reading Like It’s 2014. Will It Stick?

  • Reply Melody December 8, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Dear LaTonya, thank you for this heartfelt and beautifully written piece. It felt like a question, a meditation, and an invitation all in one.

    I came across your blog this June and was captivated by the sense of peaceful, rich contemplation in your writing. Like you, I “drink articles like honey tea, one after another, then another, too.” Like you, I find myself yearning more and more for deeper conversations (all whilst spending more and more time on social media). And like you, I commit to honoring this year, and life, by bearing honest witness.

    Thank you for the reminder that all of this is ok.

    p.s. As a fellow cat mama, your morning routine had me chuckling! My Junipurr does not meow for her breakfast, nay. She wordlessly hops onto the bed – THUMP! – then marches over to my pillow and begins licking all around my head. Communication comes in all forms, I suppose 🙂

    • Reply latonya December 8, 2020 at 2:03 pm

      Hi Melody!!

      Thank you so much for this wonderful note. And omg. I keep my bedroom door locked because I am an awful sleeper so they have no choice but to wait at the door and make noise. I’m sure if the door was unlocked I would be getting licked like crazy and they would be purring so so loudly.

      xox

      • Reply Melody December 8, 2020 at 4:13 pm

        Hahaha, that’s not only understandable but also commendable! We gotta have *some* boundaries and alone time/space to recharge 😀

  • Reply Grace December 8, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    Long time reader, first time commenter I think? I love your blog. I cherish it, along with a few others, as a real-time memoir, with new chapters every week. Thank you for writing it.

    • Reply latonya December 16, 2020 at 10:20 am

      Thank you so much Grace! I also love and appreciate your analysis of it. it is spot on. And sometimes (especially when I am discussing motherhood or life stuff like this) I think of it like that.

      Sending love

  • Reply Tar December 9, 2020 at 1:16 am

    Thank you for continuing to write in on both platforms. Your blog has maintained a sense of some “normalcy” for me. This has been quite a year and a lot both good and bad to take from it.

    • Reply latonya December 16, 2020 at 10:22 am

      Hi Tar, feeling the same. And I am so happy this space has been a spot of some well-deserved normalcy. Showing up and writing throughout it all has done the same for me

  • Reply The Dame December 9, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Girl, we must be riding the same waves lengths! Just wrote my first blog post yesterday a year to the day since my last one — about this very topic — with a lead-in on my Instagram which I’m leaning away from more and more.

    I’ve really grown fond of you and Erin over the course of the years I’ve followed you. I hope you both keep on keeping on. You’re grand and you both speak my love languages.❤️

  • Reply Nicole B December 11, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    LaTonya,

    Thank you for the consistency and honesty found within your writing space. We love it here. We learn here and we’re inspired here, so please find solace in knowing that there is a community of readers who need this very much.

    After walking away from writing for some time (i used to be a staff and freelanced writer for many publications) due to the distractions of life and being a new mom, I venture to this blog often to help ignite my passion again — to find my fire. You inspire me to once again get thoughts into words and words onto paper.

    So I thank you! Thank you for staying true and keeping this format alive!

    Also — any tips for balancing motherhood (with a two year old during this time) and writing? I find that as a writer I always needed to disconnect in order to tap into my creativity and process my thoughts, but the shift in where I am now doesn’t allow for that much.

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