Today’s artwork: six 4×6 inch canvas panels. Collage, gesso, charcoal pencil, markers, pastels—well, pretty much the kitchen sink.

I did these for a swap with my little circle journal group. We mailed our books home this week, and we decided that we’d like to do more projects together. So, we set to work on a 4×6 Day of the Dead themed swap.

These five women have come to mean a lot to me over the last six months or so that we’ve been working together. We chat daily on Facebook, and we’ve spoken face-to-face on Skype quite a few times. When things go wrong, or when one of us wants to talk through an issue, or just wants to know how to do something, the others are there, with bawdy humor and support. It’s been good for me to have a little tribe of like-minded souls to talk with and laugh with and make art with.

And then, this week, something disruptive happened. One of our members was targeted by someone who disagreed with one something she posted on her personal Facebook page. Unfortunately, she left a lot of her posts publicly viewable, and allowed people to subscribe to her feed. Whoever this was started reporting her posts on bother her personal and business pages as spam. She was no longer able to comment on posts, or moderate her page. Sad and angry and hurt, this very generous artist has now deleted herself from Facebook—and our happy little group is no longer able to communicate with her as easily. Her presence is missed.

The Internet is a wonderful place. It allows people with the same quirks to find each other, and feel less alone. It also allows people to do things, and say things, they would never do or say if they had to look you in the eye while they did so. My friend was in the process of doing what I did several years ago: making it more difficult for those people to contact her. Each of us has had to figure out how to attain that very difficult balance between wanting to share freely, and wanting to be safe from people who enjoy bullying, tearing down, and just generally being mean.

Some days, it’s not so easy. Especially today.