BE HERE NOW with Caroline Paquita / by Hope A


For August's Keep Writing postcard, artist and illustrator Carline Paquita wants to ask you a few questions about how you use your cellphone.  Founder of Pegacorn Press, her feminist queer publications deal with the trends of society and forces opposing the expected flow.  She sent me the illustrations for this card and I designed it, including choosing to print a pink and purple split fountain on slick stardream paper, making for a glittery card that was tricky to print. 

Here are my answers to her questions about ways I limit screen time.

  • My phone lives at my desk.  At night, and as much as I can during the day, including when I leave to teach a class.
  • FB is for business only. I never installed the app, I removed messenger and my private profile is not public and I have no friends. I make batch posts once every 2 weeks for events for my business.
  • IG is mostly business.   This is where I struggle.  I am starting to post and check only once a day because even with no personal profile and a limited number of people I follow I still mindlessly scroll sometimes.
  • Timers for everything. This is a trick that works for me for staying focused when I do computer work but I have started doing it in the studio too. I set a 30 minute timer, stretch after every 30, and work on one project for those 30 minutes. Sometimes it is simple like "I will clean up my desk for the next 30 minutes."  Sometimes it is just a timer to not check my phone and work on whatever I am drawing for 3o minutes. Usually I leave myself 5 minutes every hour for email and IG but even that seems like too much. Sometimes I set a shorter timer if I need to finish up something. 
  • Limited notifications & do not disturb . My screen only shows that I have a text and from who.
  • My phone is a mini-computer. After numerous incidents and unrepairable devices, I have started treating my phone like the tiny computer it is. I do not carry it in my pocket. I have a phone that is slim and easy to hold (bigger ones are too easy to drop). I try not to walk and look at the screen ever.  I leave it inside or at home when I am with friends, unless I am riding home alone at night. 

I tried going back to a flip phone last summer. I originally had a version of the pink flip phone that Caroline mentions.  My died the day I moved to Oakland. I've been through a few phones since then. I tried going back to the flip phone, the one I had was so slow I stopped answering messages. And since I still used my phone for work, I had an internet only device. It was more time consuming than just having a reliable smartphone. 

That's where I am at. I am trying out this once-a-day IG check. I'll let you know how it goes. You can post IG from your computer with a few tricks, so maybe I'll try that. 

Im also working on driving less. My studio is over a bridge and a little far or me to bike every day but I know how much better I feel so I will try. I'm always making small changes to work towards a better healthier me. Slowly. Slowly. 

Want to get a card with a question for you an answer every month? Subscribe to the Keep Writing Project.

Want to see all the responses I receive to Caroline's questions? Check out this.