Status updates:
Art form or cry for help?

Select epistolary ramblings
from the cyber notes of ordinary people
who aren’t used to talkin’ facebonk:

(A cautionary tale)

February 2008
Dear Laurie,

You opened my eyes to the Facebonk Update as art, albeit a minor art like basket weaving or handmade gift cards. And now, so attuned, you have me worried for your well-being. Must an artist suffer thus:

As recently as Jan 23 you were a happy-go-lucky rhyming fool. But clearly something dark and twisted your way came. By Feb 9, you allude, euphemistically I now realize, to a spa you had checked into for help: Laurie is getting an altitude adjustment in banffff. Yet, recovery proved elusive: on Feb 10, you described yourself as a contorted abstract expressionist tango; by Feb 13 you had entered the blank page.

It all happened so fast. I felt helpless, and guilty. (Oh why did I merely read, and not read in-between the lines! Why did I not see until now the quadruple f in banffff as a cry for help?) But, my feisty Facebonk friend, you emerged victoriously less than a week later not only with renewed optimism: Laurie has done it, but with advice for the rest of us: Laurie recommends the blue cat special. Alas, it was a short respite from The Abyss. Yesterday: Laurie MacFayden removed string theory and world peace from her interests. Laurie, no! If not string theory, if not world peace, then pray tell whatttt?!! (Please note quadruple t.) I fear it is only The Blank Page.

I can’t stand by. Not this time. Laurie why do you not reach out the hand that I extend. Why do you ignore the repeated notifications? Laurie, please, I beg you, take the bloody TV Trivia Movie Quiz. It is these common ties that keep us connected and safe from The Abyss. To quote the immortal Fonzy after he smacked the vending machine with his fist and retrieved a free cola, Aaaayyy.
Just try and match my 92%.



March 2008
Dearrrrest S,

Re: The interpretation of status updates

Please, fear not. I am not suffering. Not for my art so much, anyway. (The Edmonton weather is another story.) I am very happy to learn that you have been following my Status Updates. I think a bit of explanation is in order, however, regarding my oft-euphemistic, oft-cryptic proclamations.

(My initial attempt at clarification, in the form of a Comment below your Note, was thwarted by the Facebonk Note Police, who bluntly informed me that my “Comment” was too long by 8 characters, so I was forced to change it into a “Note.” Harrumph.)

Anyway, the Jan. 23 “rhyming fool” was a reference to the fact that the next day I was competing in the CBC poetry faceoff regional finals. Although my poetry seldom rhymes, I was, you know, using some poetic licence and trying to stay in the zen of the moment.

The “altitude adjustment in Banffff,” as you partly correctly deduced, referred to a 10-day writers retreat in the mountains … it’s the third time in four years I’ve treated myself (um, I definitely prefer this term to your “checked in,” which, frankly, has a bit of an unfortunate rehab/nutbar connotation) to a writerly winter getaway at the Banff Centre, offered to members of the Writers Guild of Alberta. Of which I am one. Member, that is. The gorgeous mountain surroundings, buffet meals three times a day, telephone switchboard and housekeeping services ensure that the writer’s time is spent in creative contemplation and not, god forbid, on mundane things like cooking, cleaning, answering the phone or even picking up one’s own towel from the bathroom floor. My previous stints here were not merely pleasant, but productive from a word-churning perspective; but this time the pesky altitude, a headache-inducing Chinook, and a complete lack of focus conspired to hamper my attempts at scribbling deathless prose. So, in order to feel like I was at least doing something bordering on the creative, I checked out a number of art books from the wonderful Paul Fleck Library and … visually devoured Feast of Colour, Women Expressionists, and Jackson Pollock … which is what led to the “Laurie is an abstract expressionist tango” update. Hey, what can I say; it was all about the visual.

“Entering the blank page” was a reference to me actually, finally, getting down to the business of writing. Which is what I was there to do, theoretically; not to stare at trees or wander into town in search of elk or hair-cutting salons and wine stores (whoops, too much information?) …

Upon my return to Edmonton, I wanted to update my Facebonk Status with something informative, yet ARTISTIC. Funky. Something that let my Friends know that I was back home, back from the writing retreat a stable but changed person, in a non-linear kind of way. I started with “home is where the art is” but that seemed way too corny. So I deleted that and settled on “Laurie has done it” because, well, because I wanted to leave my Status disciples wondering “what has Laurie done????” (Honest answer: NOTHING!!!! bwa ha ha ha ha)

Ahem. “Laurie recommends the blue cat special” is a reference to my series of blue cat paintings. It was thrown in because I just realized I didn’t sell any paintings last year. So I thought maybe it was time to get the ol’ blue cat juju workin’ for me again.

As for the string theory and world peace … I did not remove them from my Interests in my Profile; I believe that is the FB people playing with your head. I would never abandon world peace or string theory. (Even though neither of them has done much for me lately.)

And finally, re The Notifications … Ahhh yes, The Notifications. I don’t know if I can explain, really, why I fight them. I succumbed to the Super Pookand the Cat Bonk. And for a brief moment I allowed myself to get caught up in the virtual excitement of placing virtual pins on a virtual map in order to brag to less-travelled FB saps that I’VE BEEN TO MORE PLACES THAN YOU, NYAH NYAH … but that just seemed mean-spirited. Not to mention pointless. So I dropped off the map.

Now you, S, are asking me to take the bloody TV Trivia Movie Quiz. It is to weep. Because, in recent weeks, I have also been invited to add applications involving astrology, pink ribbons, cartoon characters, the stud of the month; to play something called srambulous, view a bazillion videos, view a squillion unsavory fun wall posts, determine which ’50s pinup girl i most resemble, determine what animal i most resemble, buy my Facebonk Friends Facebonk Drinks, drive a Porsche in some kind of fancy Facebonk Car Race, plant a Facebonk Tree, build a Library and display my books on my Facebonk Bookshelf … and on and on and on. Frankly, I just don’t have the time. I’m too busy working on my next hilariously cryptic Status Update. That and Throwing Sheep at people.

I do thank you for your ongoing efforts re: staying Connected and safe from The Abyss.

In fact, I’m thinking of starting a Facebonk Group called We hate the Abyss!!!!!
Would you care to join?

Best Regards,


2 responses to “correspondence

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