As my yoga for writers online course enters its third week, I'm no longer as amazed by the willingness of the people taking part to communicate openly and support each other as I first was. But I am still surprised by the nice little warm buzz it gives me. I'm also grateful for the reminder that the connection between screenworld and the other one doesn't always have to be faulty.
I'm someone who, for my sins, works mostly online. I also have Bookface on permanently so that when tippy-tapping slows to a stagger I can be refreshed by the sight of cartwheeling kittens or Putin fisting Trump. 99% of what I see and read stirs me to feelings of impotent irritation with myself and my friends. While I'm tempted to weigh in with my oh so profound thoughts I know it would have no impact whatsoever. Likes and shares don't bring down walls - or prevent them being built - action does.
This feeling of impotency extends to the positive aspect of what screenworld enables. If I do a Gurgle search for any kind of advice I'm overwhelmed by options. Worse, ads for anything I look at start popping up like electronic carbuncles on what seconds before were unblemished websites.
The solution to not being part of the problem is, of course, to preserve one's capacity to stand a little apart for at least some of the time and attempt to not be swept away or give in to despair. But that's a lonely business. In any case, it's not possible to be outside of society.
Seeing the people on my yoga for writers course open up and help each other, even though they haven't met physically and may never has given me so much hope for the future. I'm thrilled that they're experiencing all the benefits of yoga for writing that I did. But it's just as important to me that they're connecting.
Watching a small community form is reminding me that our desire to help each other is just as strong, if not stronger, than the fear that leads to hatred that leads to building walls. And there's safety in numbers, as long as they're small.
The next Yoga for Writers course begins on 6 March. If you'd like to be part of a community of goodwill, sharing and calm in these Trumpulent times, find out more here.