The Twitter Thing: I’m so Green

Twitter for blogpost

I’m no ingénue, but I am new to it. It’s a strange party. When I first went on there, I was like, “Holy shit!” The place was brimming and humming with activity of every kind, a total over-load of mind circuitry buzzing at me from the 14 inch screen. It was like a wave closing over my head.

It was an editor that led me to it, really. In her acceptance e-mail of a piece I’d written she said, “Are you on Twitter or Facebook?” and I didn’t answer that particular question right away, I went on Twitter and attempted to open an account instead. I typed in my email and up springs this jaunty message telling me there is already an account associated with this email. Turns out I’d already attempted to join Twitter three years ago, but only got so far as following Roger Ebert and Margaret Cho before I gave up and went back to a book, or YouTube videos of talking ravens.

So I go back on and spruce up the profile and all that business that takes way goddamn longer than it should, hemming and hawing over what info to put down so I don’t sound like some idiot and embarrass myself in front of…in front of whom? Roger and Margaret? And I find a picture that doesn’t make me look like a corpse and I start looking for people to follow.

So, back to that wave simile. Who to follow. I put my toes in the Twitter-water, waded in a bit. A couple of hours went by like a flash, my kid tugging my arm asking for food and I’m laughing my ass off at some cartoon of a girl humping a boy who’s trying to shave, marveling at old photos of Miles Davis, Helen Keller, looking at recipes and sites dedicated to ridding the world of plastic, crying at the injustice of the NYPD, cursing at the screen. “Heat some pizza!” I told my kid, and kept right at it for an undisclosed number of bad-mother hours.

I e-mailed with the editor again to send my little bio-thingy, but this time I’m ready for her; she’s like, “Are you on any social media, like Twitter, by chance? Because you could promote your story, and us, and we could promote you!” And I send an email back telling her the deal; that basically, no, I don’t use those–I’m a WordPress girl, but that I’ve found my account, I’m all over it and putting up a pic and crafting a profile.

I also tell her I am a neophyte and have no followers, as well as no clue. She e-mails back right away and tells me, “Great! I know lots of writers and editors, just go to my page and check it out!”

And I do that. I go to her page. I click where she says click….and….presto! I have just what I need–right there in front of me, in clever, witty, bold print, sprinkled with hashtags like happy confetti, all the fucking proof I need that there is not one single reason any sane person would keep writing and submitting and hoping and listening to all that workshop bullshit with all these insanely brilliant writers running around loose out there. Just forget it. I mean it. What was I thinking?

Ok, it wasn’t really like that. The initial shock wore off a bit and I started following those people, actually, and in turn, they followed me back. I went to the champagne fountain of Twitter and stepped right into the flow, I let myself surf in and out and get drunk and drenched on poems and essays, flashes and micros, banter, haikus and humor, and just reveled in it completely for a few days. And man, it was like a binge. It’s a river, roaring by–it could just sweep you right up and carry you away. But like a magic river, because it got me into a head-space where I just want to write all the time now. Maybe I even realize I don’t have a choice! It can have that effect, if you let it–the Twitter thing.

Advertisements

Making Stuff Up

story

by Heather Murphy

This should have a subtitle that says something like “Why Fiction Rules and Non-fiction Just Sits There,” because of my bad attitude. I get one of those when I’m feeling defensive, regardless of whether I’ve been criticized or not. But I do believe it, too. Fiction rules!  It can make animals talk and create entire houses made out of chocolate if it feels like it, because fiction is the bomb diggity. Hmmmph, so there.

You might have guessed. Someone has recently been making remarks about fiction as if it perhaps had a little too much fun at the party, maybe laughing too loudly, having too much wine. Remarks that might possibly have hinted that fiction was basically a K-Mart shirt, and non-fiction was a stately building, made of stone.

It wasn’t a big deal, really. I think I’m taking it too personally. But I don’t care. The comment was from a fellow writer, feeling stuck, or feeling exposed because of how nonfiction had left her with no emotional privacy. It wasn’t really directed at me, it was  just sort of off-the-cuff. She said that she might just start writing fiction. She’s said this before, like she was saying “I should have gotten a business degree instead, this isn’t working out,” but with no intention of getting a business degree, because that would be soul-killing and it was just something to say, something outrageous. But this time she said, “because then you can just hide,” afterwards.

And something in me recoiled in anger. The righteous wheels started spinning in my brain as I immediately began an inner dialog that kept me from hearing much else that night. I was thinking things like “if this line of thinking is logical, then cameras should have rendered painting obsolete,” and “nonfiction writers are self-centered narcissists! They just tell their own stories and express their opinions and perceptions, endlessly! They don’t have to create jack shit!” And even, “this is why reality tv is the dominating genre on the tube and there aren’t as many creative shows like “Northern Exposure,” because people prefer to peek into your fucking closet!”

Crafting fiction is not easy. Writing poetry doesn’t exactly allow you to “hide.” Recording what has happened to you or to the world and putting an interesting spin (opinion) on it is probably not easy either, and I love a good essay, but I’ve grown tired of countless memoirs and interviews, tired of the constant rehashing of reality! I need to escape! And reality is not a place people escape to.

See how I got all rattled and ended up mouthing off, here on my blog? It’s not because I have anything against nonfiction–I write essays and micro-autobiography all the time! In fact, it never would have occurred to me to make these remarks had I not felt defensive about crafting mostly fiction as opposed to non. I just do what I do. But it got me thinking and I do see this pattern of obsession with other people’s dirty laundry and I do see the increase of narcissism. Not in my friend, but in the genre of non. And I see why it has taken the lead in the publishing world. The thing is, fiction actually has the ability to completely nail down the quintessence of the human condition. Fiction is still watching when everyone else has left. It knows why you do the things that you do; the things you would never record or reveal. Fiction keeps going when you’ve decided you’ve had enough. It doesn’t leave certain parts out. It takes notes while you are dreaming and constructs collages with your experiences, your history, and makes art of them.