Twitter: I quit you.

I have finally done what I’ve thought about doing for over a year. I deleted my twitter account. After a protracted battle with myself about whether Twitter was really worth being a part of due to the opportunities it provides to speak with editors/agents/other writers, I just decided I can’t do it. While I’ve made some good connections there, it is more often than not, a time suck that just keeps me from doing things that are actually meaningful, like writing, critiquing, working on my craft.

I finally decided I need to write for myself and eliminate the distractions Twitter provides.

It would say it’s a sad day, but it’s actually really liberating.

I will likely be able to review more stories because of this as well.


On Competition In The Arts

I have a friend who’s a glassblower, and I’ve always been amazed how solitary glassblowers are at times. Of course, to blow the coolest, craziest stuff, you need a team, but many glassblowers have cliques and secrets of the craft that they don’t necessarily want getting out for others to use.

The way I’ve come to understand it, as an outsider to the glassblowing culture is this: If a buyer buys a piece of glass from someone else, it eats into your business because that buyer now has less to spend on your work.

Needless to say this creates a cutthroat mentality that spawns envy and lies. There’s a lot of shit talking in the glassblowing community of Seattle–or so I’ve seen. People dislike each other for a lot of reasons, but most are trivial. But it does seem strange and contradictory to me for all these artists to be fighting each other rather than helping each other.

In the writing community (that I’m a part of) things couldn’t be more different. The success of a friend, if he/she publishes a book or gets an agent is also my success, because I’m part of the community. I support them, go to readings, I’ll read their material and give them honest feedback. I’ll read their book. How does this benefit me in my own writing? Well, when I publish, get an agent, or give a reading–hopefully that community will be there for me as well. However, I understand that not everyone has a community like this. Not all writers have the support. And some see the success of others as a detriment to their own success. Their own success becomes a tool which they can hold above others who are not so accomplished.

Today, a famous writer, one who has written a couple books and is very popular, tweeted out that they could be seen on CSpan that very instant. The authors I follow on Twitter are the ones I respect and admire, and I commonly try to strike up conversations with them–which I’m sometimes successful at. So, jokingly, I tweeted that, “I hear [CSpan] is real popular with the cool kids these days.” It was a joke, in my opinion directed at CSpan more than the writer. I hoped to exchange some banter about the viewership, maybe even have a laugh about the experience of watching yourself on TV. But instead, I got a defensive response. “Shrug. What channel are you on?” This struck me as an exceedingly arrogant response (and my blogging about it now, may be even more arrogant, but I’m not sure). Instead of a chance to speak and have a laugh with someone who has read the books this author has written, this author used the success they have achieved as an instrument to hold themselves up while pushing another writer, someone who admires them, down. I don’t dwell on such things often, but this instance reminded me so much of the glassblowing community in Seattle.

The problem with this defensive reactionary response is that it pits artists against each other, when they should be working together. I understand that my comment could have been seen as a slight, but I ask myself: what kind of famous, successful author uses fame as a tool to make other’s feel bad about their relatively early career? What good does this do for them, but reassure themselves that they are important? This is a lot of judgement to put on this tiny interaction, but it’s one that is prominent within the literary world, and anyone who has watched interviews of Jonathan Franzen* knows what I’m talking about.

(He is not the writer mentioned in this piece. He thinks Twitter is the most base form of writing and that nobody who uses Twitter can be a good writer:

ADHD And What Is Meaning

You don’t know me, but I think I could know you–I mean, if you gave me a chance.

But why would you want to be my friend, not knowing anything about me and all, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, now, does it? So let me tell you a little about myself, just in case you’re interested.

I don’t know if you know much about learning disabilities, but I have one–one that’s common, but it’s also common like ADD is common. The type of condition someone has that is serious and impacts their lives in a serious way but when they tell people they have it those people say, “oh, I have that too.” And when I ask, really? They say something like, “Well, I’ve never been diagnosed or anything or taken medication for it, but I mean, I have a difficult time concentrating.”

These people are full of shit. Know why? Well, first off it’s because nobody is good at concentrating in this day and age. What with Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Tumblr and whatever else people use to distract themselves with–it’s amazing anyone can ever get anything done at all. Did I mention dating sites like Tinder–that too.

So, just because you have a difficult time concentrating and focusing your attention on something doesn’t mean you have ADD. And if you actually knew anything about ADD you’d also know that specialists in the field have dissolved the acronym ADD and really just clumped it into different categories of ADHD. The only reason I know this is because I have a friend who has ADHD and he’s writing book about how medication really helps him and how his 15 year old son has ADHD also and how they tackle projects and stuff as a team.

I don’t know why I’m telling you about him, because what I really wanted to tell you was about me because everyone likes to talk about themselves. And that brings me back to the social media thing–because if people DIDN’T like to talk about themselves they wouldn’t use social media because even though there’s a pretense of community on social media, the main reason people are on it is so they can show other people what they are doing and then have people tell them how great they are. Ever seen those pictures of professional, 20 something, travelers who take shots in Iceland on mountain sides, or in the rain forests of Costa Rica, or ripped dudes of their awesome abs, or hot girls in bikinis on beaches with big boobs, and all the comments are from people they half-know (or not at all) telling them how lucky they are and how everyone on social media wishes they could have those abs or that butt or those boobs? Well, I guess what I’m trying to say is that affirmation is the only thing that can give life meaning.