Unplugged-ish

No, it’s not the latest Kenya Barris show. (Although I recently discovered Black-ish, Mixed-ish, and Grown-ish on Disney+ and I’m really digging them.)

It’s about my complicated relationship with social media and what I’m trying to do about it.

On one hand, social media was how I interacted and connected with people in the absence of… well, properly developed social skills.

It’s also how I dipped my toe into the professional world — my first job after graduating was at a social media agency and I definitely learnt lessons there that I’ve taken with me throughout my career.

But it’s a massive time-suck. An easy way to mindlessly procrastinate. And an easy way to worsen one’s mental health.

I’ve alluded to my history of anxiety and depression here before, and plenty of social media platforms are not so great for that. Or they’re great for a while and then they’re reeeally not.

Recently, I decided to change the way I use Facebook. I culled my friends list down to family and what I’m calling my “close contacts” (a bit of COVID-inspired vernacular). I also unfollowed some pages that seem to disproportionately attract… a certain type of commenter.

And then I thought, screw all this crap — and uninstalled the Facebook app from my phone. It’s only been a few days but I feel better already.

A couple of days later, I decided to uninstall Twitter too.

It’s not a proper social media detox. It’s not even a Meta detox because I’ve still got a bunch of their other apps, including Instagram, which is still fun for me.

I also haven’t deactivated my accounts so I can always log in on a browser. I just figure there’s no reason why I need them at my fingertips constantly. Even if I find myself in a situation where live-tweeting might actually be beneficial/interesting to the world, I probably wouldn’t do it anyway.

So to cut a long story short, I deleted the Facebook and Twitter apps and I think it’ll be a positive move. Now to replace the mindless doomscrolling habit with something productive… like that second book maybe…

My interview with AllAuthor

If you’ve seen my sweet book mockups on social media, like this…

Mockup of Black and Blue by Lee-Ann Khoh displayed on the side of a bus shelter. A person sits on a bench looking out towards the street.

…then you can thank AllAuthor for those. πŸ™‚

Anyway, my recent interview with Mady Joshi at AllAuthor has now been published and you can check it out below:

Lee-Ann Khoh latest interview by AllAuthor Author of Black and Blue, Lee-Ann Khoh grew up in Perth, Western Australia. She used to spend entire weekends just reading books when she was growing up. She studied journalism before deciding to write her own stories. She has also written a story titled β€œAiden’s Flowers” in the collection, Flash Fiction Magazine – Issue 1. She is a sucker for beautiful bookish things. Read full interview…

Edited to add: Apparently the first thing I said in this interview is wrong. It’s one of those things you get taught when you grow up in Perth, much like “Black swans are only found in WA” which I’ve since discovered is untrue. πŸ˜„

Good thing I write fiction and not geography books!

Stuck in a rut

I’m in a bit of a rut.

Not a “depressed” rut (been there). I’m actually pretty good.

My job fulfils me. My family is great. My circle of friends is small but meaningful and that’s how I like it. And NCIS, a show I’ve grown up with and is basically a family friend at this point, just got renewed for Season 20.

In short, I’m happy.

It’s more of a “why aren’t I achieving more with my life?” rut. A “someday I’ll be old and I want to be better than I am today” rut.

I’m often tired.

I’m not reading anywhere near as much as I want to or should. (Related to the tiredness thing.)

I feel like I’m not making progress on Book #2.

Sometimes I think it’d be cool to take up [insert hobby here] but then I don’t get started or follow through.

Or I think about how I wanted to be a cartoonist with a syndicated comic strip when I was a kid and wonder why I stopped drawing altogether.

Rut-a-tut-tut.

I’m sure I’ll get unstuck but right now, I’m just typing it out.

And maybe taking a nap.

All the changing seasons of my life

A lot has happened since my last blog post, including Western Australia’s hard border coming down so maybe I’ll come sign your copies of my book soon. πŸ˜‰ But I’ve also been doing plenty of thinking. About how the world has changed over the past couple of years. And how I’ve changed.

Recently, I was chatting to a friend in America who asked me what my current passions were.

“That’s a good question actually,” I said.

Before the pandemic, going out for me usually involved live music. (That part is one of the more autobiographical aspects of Black and Blue.) But the thing about live music is that it often takes place at a venue where alcoholic drinks are flowing and people have no concept of personal space.

So I’ve always had to weigh up on a case-by-case basis whether I want to see the band more than I loathe the unwanted touching and germy bathrooms. Now I also consider the risk of spreading illnesses to someone who might not be as healthy and okay as I am.

But as my American pal and I talked about the state of the world, the loss of two years, work-related stress, not being able to see friends and family or go to events… we realised that one of the saddest parts for us might be seeing the worst in people we used to like and respect. The casual ableism… the conspiracy theories and spreading of misinformation… comparing their self-inflicted plight to the Holocaust… etc.

I brought this up with another dear friend of mine, who I’ve known since we were six years old.

“Not gonna lie,” they said, “As a queer, disabled person, I’m no longer surprised when someone I liked turns out to be garbage.”

Word.

Anyway, all that reflection also got me thinking about my 15-year love-hate relationship with Facebook, which has gradually become a Rolodex spanning my entire existence on this planet. At this point in my life, I’d rather keep things focused on family and friends I have an actual emotional connection with. (And managing Facebook pages, which is the main reason I can’t just delete/deactivate my profile).

So far I’ve culled about 200 people from my friends list and I’m sure everyone will survive without an annual meaningless birthday message from me.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of other social media platforms and apps that anyone can use to keep in touch or keep tabs on me… some of which are owned by Facebook’s parent company, so those zuckers still have their claws in me regardless. πŸ˜›

PS. If you’re up for 10 minutes of awesomeness, here’s the music video for “Estranged” by Guns N’ Roses, which happens to be the song I lifted this blog title from.

Estranged – Guns N’ Roses

Beautiful bookish things

A couple of months ago, I was looking for some custom bookplates and stumbled across these personalised author bookplates for signing from Fleur & Fable. I got some for myself because I’m a sucker for beautiful bookish things, and was very pleased with the communication and service. The bookplates also arrived quickly, which is no mean feat in COVID times. πŸ˜‰

Fast forward to the present, and I’m now an ambassador for this awesome Australian brand! So if you’re looking for gorgeous gifts for a book lover (who may or may not be yourself), check out Fleur & Fable’s website.

A Sharpie marker and a bookplate sticker signed by Lee-Ann Khoh, resting on top of a paperback copy of Lee-Ann's book, Black and Blue.
Book + bookplate + marker

I do get a small commission if you end up buying something via the links above. But hey, I’m just a simple girl trying to make her way in the universe. (Yes, that’s another Star Wars reference on this blog and I may or may not have yelled, “Now this is podracing!” during Chapter 5 of The Book of Boba Fett but I’m sure I’m not the only one.)

You can also nab a discount for yourself if you use the coupon code: LEEANN

The code won’t work for bundles and sale items but should shave a little off the price of everything else. And they ship worldwide! Even I don’t do that for my signed paperbacks at this point in time. πŸ˜›

Anyway, I promise I’m not going to turn into some annoying wannabe influencer. Just sharing something I find cool. πŸ™‚

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