Index Cards & Jigsaw Puzzles

Added on by Chris White.



I’m trying to keep things tight-lipped on social media this year. Still, here are about a thousand January 2017-written words you’ll be just fine without.

I’ve become so accustomed to writing and sharing things on social media...things that shouldn’t be handed out so casually, so thoughtlessly, so broadly—or blasted so randomly by the prevailing social media algorithms.

For 2017, I’ve committed myself to hand writing comments on 5”x7” index cards whenever I feel some overwhelming desire to speak out on Facebook. This makes me stop, think...find a card and a pen, neaten my handwriting, deal with the rigors of no spellcheck!, snap a photo of the card, then post.

This Ludditian gambit has made saying stuff on Facebook a lot harder—made me far less likely to post unnecessary comments. (It actually feels like trying to communicate in a foreign country. You pick your battles. You only say what you have to.) But it’s also made the comments I do make, more personal. If you find a hand-written comment from me on your Facebook wall, that seems a bit more intimate, right?

(Or disconcerting, maybe? Creepy?)

I’m still occasionally posting comments/jokes on Twitter, but far less than before. I also take pictures (practice for film composition), but am sharing far fewer of them on Instagram now. This new think before you speak ethos is infectious. Maybe next year I can try cold turkey, but for now...hand-writing Facebook comments and a once a month blog post feels about right. It is making me more mindful about the noises I make in these forums.

Not to mention, this approach also helps shut out a great deal of the casually shared, randomized noises that feed the social media maw. So, for me at least, fewer articles, fewer hot takes, fewer glib distractions... 2017 is feeling more manageable already, more creatively productive.

So, to recap: once a month—the 17th— I’ll write something on my website and share the post via my personal Facebook and Twitter accounts. All other Facebook comments will be hand-written.

Oh, and please feel free to scroll right on by these monthly blog posts. The secret is, you don’t need them, I do.

P.S. If you want to keep up with my filmmaking endeavors this year, be sure to like/follow Chris White or Paris MTN Scout on Facebook and Paris MTN Scout on Twitter. And if you happen to be a friend or fan of the films UNBECOMING, CINEMA PURGATORIO, GET BETTER, or TAKEN IN...those Facebook pages will remain reasonably active/updated in 2017.

Gosling & Stone, LA LA LAND

Gosling & Stone, LA LA LAND

APPLAUSE AT THE END OF MOVIES. The audience clapped at screenings of both ROGUE ONE and LA LA LAND at my local cineplex. I’ve been in cinema screenings where people clapped before, but it seems like it’s happening more now. There really is a different energy/experience when you see a movie in a cinema...on a big screen, with loud sound...the whole strangers in the dark myth. Perhaps—since most of us are watching movies alone or with significant others/family at home now, or on the tiny screens of our handheld devices with earbuds locked in—seeing a movie in the cinema is powerful again. I hope so.

READING. I have no fewer than 15 half-read books sitting next to my bed. I start so many new ones, start them, never finish. Finishing a book is hard for me because I never really learned the discipline and practice of regular reading. But as a writer, I’ve come to understand that I need to read. I just write better when I’m reading a book. I’m more imaginative when I’m in a book. Heck, I have so much more to talk to people about when I’m reading a book. Emily is trying to hold me accountable for my reading habits (or lack thereof) in 2017. Every month, she’s giving me a new book to read...curated by her, based on a survey she gave me at Christmas. It’s like a personalized book club by a PhD-level reader. And it’s fantastic. This month’s book is Lucky Man, Michael J. Fox’s 2000 memoir. I’m already over half of the way through it and really enjoying it. Fox was my third Most Favorite Actor Ever growing up (Spanky McFarland was my first, Jerry Lewis my second). Turns out he’s an excellent writer and chronicler of life experiences.

END-OF-YEAR FAMILY LETTERS. I’m not sure there is a good way to write/craft an end-of-year family recap letter. Or, I should say, I’ve never read one that wasn’t pure garbage/self-promotional. I can’t read one without wondering what disasters, sadness, disappointment and fears lurk between the lines of this otherwise rosy treatise. And. Why would any of this information, good or bad, be useful to share with family, close friends, or acquaintances? Shouldn’t the people you love already know that you went to Hawaii in June and that your 8 year-old kid is reading at a 10th grade level? Sorry. This is one of those “judging other people’s life choices” issues... I know I’m not allowed to do that. Still, if I can’t rant, I will be forced to satirize. And I know that will just end up sounding super-mean.

WATCHING STUFF. It’s all people ever talk about these days: what they’ve been watching on Netflix, or here’s a thing on YouTube, or worse! proffering a clever theory about something they’ve just if there’s a secret, a trick to figure out in The Crown, or Breaking Bad. As a person who makes things to watch, all this chatter about shows isn’t encouraging at all. It makes me want to stop making things to watch entirely because isn’t it obvious that we all have better things to do with our time? I wish we could all stop watching these gorgeous-brilliant-best ever shows and series and work a jigsaw puzzle together instead. Jigsaw puzzles may be the best activity to do while making idle chatter with people you love. Even putting a puzzle together solo is great. It gives you a chance to process through all the thoughts that run through your head. Em and I are working on this jigsaw puzzle right now and having really stupid conversations while we do it. It’s the best part of my day.

SNL RECAP. I thought the Felicity Jones/Sturgill Simpson episode of Saturday Night Live was pretty strong...despite Jones and because of Simpson's electric performance.

Okay. Enough. If you’ve read this far, thank you. Now, get on with your life. Stop letting me distract you.

See you in February.