Modern Mythology

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I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m working on a novel but I haven’t really talked about it.  Part of this is that I don’t want to make false promises to anyone, and another part is that I don’t want anyone stealing my idea and doing it first.  But, considering recent events, this feels like a good time to talk about it in the most tangential of terms.

Some of you might be aware that yesterday hosted the Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Surfing competition.  I’ve never really paid attention to surfing, despite having lived in Hawaii for the past ten years, I’ve never really had any desire to learn to surf, nor am I the strongest swimmer or completely free of intimidation when it comes to the ocean (there’s monsters out there!); but I was utterly transfixed by this competition and I think it has a lot to do with surf culture and the legacy of Eddie Aikau.

To call Eddie Aikau a legend is almost a disservice because it implicates a fiction onto a very real man.  I’m going to try to describe his life here.  Internet, please correct me if I get anything wrong. 

Way back in the day (1968), Eddie Aikau was made the first lifeguard of Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore by the City and County of Honolulu at the age of 22.  It’s said that during his tenure as lifeguard, he made over 500 rescues and not a single life was lost on his watch.  Eddie was known to paddle out into waves upwards of thirty feet in height, braving waters others wouldn’t dare approach; not just in his efforts to save lives, but recreationally as well.  Eddie became a hero of big wave surfing and later went on to win the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championship.  He was kind of a big deal.

In 1976 the now-famous Hokule’a a double-hulled seafaring canoe of traditional design, made history by sailing from Hawaii to Tahiti without instruments or maps.  Using only ancient astronomical navigational methods, the journey put to bed the question of whether ancient Polynesians were capable of making deliberate exploratory expeditions of the Pacific or if the culture was scattered across the various islands purely by luck and random chance. It, too, was kind of a big deal.

The fates of these two were destined to become intertwined in one of the most heroic, and tragic, stories I’ve ever heard. 

In 1978, Eddie Aikau was selected on to the crew of the Hokule’a for its second voyage across the Pacific from Hawaii to Tahiti.  Not long after its departure, the vessel encountered high surf and inclement weather south of the island of Molokai.  The craft was damaged, took on water, an eventually capsized.  Afraid that rescue wouldn’t come in time so save the crew of the foundering boat, Eddie Aikau, a man with a sterling reputation for life saving, pulled out his surf board and took it upon himself to paddle the 12-15 miles, in high winds and dangerous swells, from their location to the island of Lanai for help.  Nine hours later, a Hawaiian Airlines flight, by chance, spotted emergency flares.  Shortly thereafter the US Coast Guard rescued the remaining crew of the Hokule’a.  The crew informed the Coast Guard of Eddie’s efforts and the largest search and rescue operation in Hawaii’s history was launched to locate Eddie.  No trace was ever recovered of Eddie Aikau; no body, no board.

Just take a minute and let that sink in.

In the early ‘80s, representatives from Quicksilver contacted the Aikau family about creating a surfing competition in Eddie’s honor.  The family agreed and in 1985 the first “Eddie” was held at Sunset Beach.  It’s an immensely prestigious competition wherein 28 of the best big wave surfers in the world are chosen by their peers an invited to compete.  The competition is only held when ocean conditions are right (wave faces 30 feet or higher) and as a result has only been held nine times in 31 years.

I’m going to digress here for a second.  Back when I lived on the mainland, I would occasionally see these bumper stickers or t-shirts which read, “Eddie would go.”  I never knew what it meant; who Eddie was or where he was going.  I know now, and it is the absolutely best part of this story.  It gives me the “chicken skin” every time I think about it.

The story, as I heard it, goes something like this.  Before the first Eddie competition kicked off, the waves at Sunset Beach were massive.  Conditions were extremely hazardous.  Rolling walls of water, the height of four-story buildings, pounding and crushing anything in their path.  The contest organizers discussed, and vacillated and argued amongst themselves as to whether to actually hold the completion or if it was simply too dangerous, while 28 of the world’s best surfers, lined up on the beach to honor the late Eddie Aikau.  Until finally one of them, Mark Foo, stepped forward and said, “Eddie would go.”

That sealed it and the phrase stuck. 

It’s such a simple phrase.  Three little words, not complex or clever, but knowing the story behind it gives it such gravitas and depth.  It’s the kind of thing that can be, and is, clung to like a life philosophy by many; not just in the surfing culture, but in all walks of life.  “Eddie would go.”

I bring this up because it underpins a big part of why I’ve allowed Hawaii to play such a heavy part in influencing the novel I’m working on.  Eddie Aikau’s story isn’t the only story of its kind in Hawaii.  There are a number of people and events in Hawaii’s not-so-distant past which have taken on these almost mystical attributes.  A sort of modern mythology of coincidence and happenstance which gives life in Hawaii a very spiritual flavor.  There’s a reverence for the history and the legend, a pride.  If the year were 1500 BCE, people the likes of Eddie Aikau, or Duke Kahanamoku, or Kamehameha I would be made demi-gods.  It would be said that they were of divine providence and their lives would be referenced by the great philosophers of ages to come.  You almost get the feeling, when listening to the right people, that given a couple hundred years that might happen anyway.

There’s a fairly popular trope in fantasy literature that says that our world, our Earth, was once a magical place and that somehow we ruined that.  That all of these mysterious and mystic stories and sites and relics; from faerie tales to Stonehenge, were all true and functional “once upon a time” but we’ve somehow buried it.  Now, I’m not sure if it’s simply because the Hawaiian Islands were only Westernized in the recent past, or if there’s something more to it, but there’s this feeling that permeates life in the islands. A feeling as though there is actual magic lying just below the surface and every so often, if you look really hard, or open up in just the right place in just the right way, you can experience it.

That’s what I want Hawaii to bring into my novel.

The Arena: The Break Down

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Last night the final results for the A Writer’s Recluse Arena Competition were announced.  I did not win.  I did come in second though, and that’s fine.

 

The first time AWR held the Arena I told one of the other members, via private message, that if I made it to the finals I was going to win with a love story.  I did, and I did.  This sort of set a personal tradition for me in the sense that now, in all the Arena’s (and some other competitions) I set personal challenges to win them with something a little more experimental.  Perhaps this is the reason I don’t win often.  Or perhaps this is my personal justification for allowing myself to not win often… I don’t know, that’s something for a psychologist to sort out.

 

This year, after several aborted attempts elsewhere, I told myself that if I made the finals I was going to win with a Comedy.  I’m bad at comedy, it’s not a thing I do well in text.  I’m told I do an alright job in person; that I’m a “funny guy” but when it comes time to write jokes, they tend to miss their mark.  I’m aware of this.  That’s what makes it a challenge.  Anyhow, here’s a little breakdown of how this year went:

 

ROUND 1:

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not proud of this.  That hasn’t changed.  The original Intro I was given to work with was interesting, but… not perfect.  In it, a beggar is confronted by a man who claims to be a “Futures Salesman.”  It’s a cool idea, this idea of a person who literally sells Futures.  There are some pretty wide ranging interpretations and implications for what this means and where this idea could go.

At the time I was given this intro I was in the process of determining the course of my own future.  Some things were not going well for me, professionally.  Work had become an exercise in frustration and endurance.  I was coming home at night angry and defeated and just in an all-around foul mood.  Not super-conducive to quality writing to begin with, but pile on top of it an Intro riddled with typos, inconsistency and a seemingly random assortment of story parts, and you end up with me getting really annoyed.

I found myself writing and re-writing this particular entry over and over; each time trying to incorporate every element of the Intro I was given while at the same time not contradict any element of the Intro I was given.  I try to do this with my own work; not introduce details which go unused, and not contradict myself.  This particular Intro made those efforts largely futile.  I went around and around with myself, arguing with myself, making jokes to myself, and just trying to make an unpleasant experience a little more enjoyable.

Ultimately, I decided the most interesting part of trying to make this work was the actual process of trying to make it work; my inner dialogue.  It was the most honest expression of how I was feeling and what I was dealing with.  Also, due to the way the first round of the Arena was constructed, I knew that even if I came in last place in the first Round I wasn’t going to be eliminated; so long as I submitted something.  So I did.  I’m not proud of it.

 

Round 2:

Probably my favorite of the four pieces I wrote and the one I was able to spend the most time with.  Round 1 had been cathartic, helped me vent, got some of the gunk out of the machinery so I could get into Round 2 feeling a little more… clean.

The Intro I was given involved a pair of gentleman, post-grad students, taking a taxi into the African bush in search of “witch trains” and there was some mention of a missing girl.  Another cool idea.  In the intro it makes mention of existing African folklore regarding these witch trains.  I figured rather than dive into this half-cocked like in Round 1, I’d actually do some research; look around for this existing folklore and see if I could pull any inspiration from that.

Unfortunately, that turned out to be a wild goose chase.  All I found about witch trains was this old CreepyPasta someone had written that had some really good reviews even though I couldn’t get to the end of it because I got so bored. From there I looked into the history of the railroad industry in South Africa which led me to the mining industry in South Africa which ultimately led me to this NPR interview where the author of this book about gold discusses what are known as zama-zama or Ghost Miners.

Now that is interesting as hell.  I listened to that interview about four times until I figured a way I could fit these Ghost Miners into the narrative.  Over the course of three nights, from about 10PM to midnight, I sat outside on my lanai writing.  I was nice, sitting there in the dark, in the quiet; it helped me to empathize, I think, with the characters as well since they spent much of the story in the dark, in the quiet.

Honestly, I don’t think this story could have come to me at a better time.  The drama at work was coming to a head; I was tense and unhappy.  But the act of researching this piece provided me with a distraction, the act of writing this piece (in the cool, fresh-air and silence of the Hawaiian winter night) allowed me to unwind, and the unassailable positivity of Kagiso helped keep my spirits up.

I finished this piece about two days before I quit my job.

Unfortunately, this piece is tainted by my second guessing myself.  I had originally written a different ending which I shit-canned in favor of circling back to the witch train element of the Intro.  I was so concerned with getting dinged for not incorporating the Introduction that I felt like I had to come back to it.  Ultimately, I think, it hurt the final product; the reviews agreed with that assessment.  I still advanced to the third round based on the strength of the rest of the story; but I should have trusted my gut.

I’m going to re-write that original ending and make a few other touch-ups and this one will be going in the Free Reads.

 

Round 3:

Coming off of Round 2, and into a new job, I was feeling pretty good.  This piece, tentatively titled “A New Model” was a lot of fun to write.  I sort of red-herringed myself with this.  The focal point of this Intro was Daniel’s birthday; or rather, his wife’s struggle to find the perfect gift for his big 4-0.  My own birthday was approaching at the same time so I was giving some thought to the passage of time.  I played around with the characters of Daniel and Cara, exploring their relationship and rapport with one another until I arrived at this bit of dialogue where Daniel says, jokingly, “Maybe I’ll buy a motorcycle. Or trade you (Cara) in for a newer model.”

Originally it was just a set-up for a joke about his advancing age, but it sort of stuck with me and I asked myself, “What if you really could trade people in for a newer model… Like a cell phone?”  That led me down a very strange rabbit hole of exploration.  The story took on a life of its own from there (which is the best thing a story can do) and I ended up touching themes I hadn’t really expected in what had begun as a pretty lighthearted little narrative about a 40th birthday.

I decided to go with my gut on this and not try too hard to incorporate the Intro, since doing so bit me in Round 2, and I think it paid off.  I got a little bogged down in details in a few places; but I kind of felt like certain things needed to be explained… The reviewers disagreed.  The execution isn’t perfect, but I really grew to like the idea and it got me into the Finals; so no significant complaints.

 

Round 4:

And we’re here, at the experiment.  Can Adam write Comedy?  The short answer is “No.”  I gave it a go, though.

My Intro was this very gritty, detail heavy, scene of just incredible violence.  There was blood everywhere.  Two things were happening here in my head; the first, I had committed myself to writing a Comedy. The second; violence is just not inspiring to me.  I don’t think I’ve ever written a violent story.

To me, violence is a failure on a philosophical level.  Violence happens when people fail at being human and become to primeval animalistic things.  I can be entertained by a certain degree of cinematic violence; but it’s not inspiring.  And that’s where I landed with this; cinematic violence.

I wanted to deconstruct the typical action movie character.  The guy who “saves the day” by just murdering everyone.  I originally wrote this as though it was taking place in a real life action movie.  As though reality actually played by action movie rules so long and the camera was on.  Michael, our “hero” is very into his role as the over-wrought action star.  The brooding anti-hero who plays by his own rules.  The other characters, though, don’t seem to be on the same page.  Michael is the only one who really seems to be on board with his role; he has these expectations that he’ll be rewarded for his behavior and doesn’t see that he’s done anything wrong.

I think this is where it failed on a structural level.  In order to do what I wanted to do, I needed everyone to either be “in” the movie, or “out” of the movie… But everyone hovers in this sort of in-between limbo.  Like, they’re in it, they’re participants, but they don’t quite accept it.

The reviews weren’t great, not all the jokes hit, and I didn’t win.

 

I did, however, finish the Arena.  I made it all the way to the finals, I didn’t drop out despite real life making all kind of demands, and (aside from Round 1) I wrote some stuff that I kinda like.  Yes, even Round 4 has it’s redeeming qualities.  So all things considered, I call this a success.

New – Free Reads: Empty Glass

With a sigh of resignation, Sally clicked off the headlamps and sat, arms crossed, in the white noise of the storm; collecting her thoughts. Childhood memories of campfire stories about rural axe murders and haggard, old men with hooks instead of hands bubbled up in her consciousness to take shape and loom at the edges of vision in the dark outside her rain-streaked windows. She twisted the knob that brought the headlights back up and pushed the lurkers deeper into the blackened depths, clicking the radio into action warding off the silence which seemed equally menacing.

 

Read More Here

 

 

Letters to Strangers: Face Tattoo

Danger of Death Metal

Dear Face-Tattoo,

 

Five Finger Death Punch is a shitty favorite band.  That’s where you lost me.  Admittedly, I was caught off guard by your sudden approach and desire to strike up a conversation about my t-shirt, but it wasn’t until that moment that I checked out.  That’s not to say they are a shit band (they are), people pay them money to make noise so they must have some redeeming qualities(?), just that as far as favorite bands go, they are a poor choice.

But let me backtrack a bit.  I’m not often approached by folks with elaborate, colorful face and skull tattoos.  That’s not really my clique.  Honestly, even for Hawaii where a certain amount of cranial tattooing is not entirely uncommon, yours were a little on the excessive side, so, yeah, I was a little guarded when you suddenly sat down across the aisle from me and started talking about my t-shirt.  A Perfect Circle is a great band though, so it’s clear your musical tastes aren’t completely terrible.  If you’d told me they were your favorite band, I think things could have continued more smoothly.

Actually, now that I really think about it, I’m having a hard time getting a handle on the conversation as a whole.  Did you actually want to talk?  Or did you want to just compliment my shirt and escape but somehow feel like you got roped into a conversation?  Because I would have been fine just not talking at all.  I had my headphones on, blasting out some Tragically Hip (which you interrupted), and was perfectly content.  You could have accomplished that goal by just pointing at my shirt and giving me a thumbs up. Then you’d have gotten a quick \m/ and we’d have been done interacting.  But instead you took this wild, shotgun approach to small talk which I, as a general rule, dislike.  So I tried to engage, anywhere I found something interesting, but you kept bouncing around.  Let’s do a play by play here:

 

YOU: Hey man, I like your shirt.

ME: Thanks.

YOU: You ever seen them in person?

ME: Uh, yeah, once. When I lived in Portland.

 

So far so good.  I’m a little hesitant at this point because, again, I was in the zone and you have a face tattoo.

 

YOU: You lived in Portland? I’m moving there October 13th.

ME: Oh yeah?

YOU: Yeah. Some other people have said I should move there.  Said I’d fit right in.

ME: Yeah, I can see that.

YOU: How long have you lived here?

ME: About ten years, now.

YOU: Yeah?

ME: Yeah, moved out in ’06.

YOU: Been here about six years myself.

ME: Oh? Where’d you moved from?

YOU: Houston. Texas.

ME: I hear you guys have your own Portland down there; Austin.

YOU: Yeah. I’ve never been to Portland so I thought, “Fuck it.” And I bought a ticket.

ME: (chuckled)

 

Then there’s this long pause.  If you wanted out, this was your chance.  Full disclosure; at this point I was still itching to put my headphones back in.  Could have made a clean, not at all awkward break right here.  Just a quick, “Well, it was nice talking to you.” And this all could have been over.

 

YOU: I sing in a death metal band.

 

What?!

 

ME: Oh yeah?

YOU: (Voice noticeably deeper than before) Yeah, I just have one of those voices that works better with growls.

ME: Okay.

YOU: I also sing, like clean vocals.

 

Okay, completely left-field info here.  I don’t even know what to do with this; so we get another weird pause.  I’m not sure if you really want me to inquire about your band, or if you’re trying to justify the face tattoos, or just trying to impress me.  I can understand where you might be trying to justify the aesthetic because, at this point, I’m having a really hard time looking you in the eye.  The ironic part is that it has nothing to with the designs on your skull.  See, you have these super light blonde/ginger eyebrows that just disappear completely on your face.  I was really trying to figure out if that was the color or if you had shaved them off.  It’s really off-putting when you can’t see someone’s eyebrows; there are so many facial cues stored there, so being unable to see what yours were doing was making it really hard to read your face.  You know, aside from the actual words on your face.

 

YOU: So, what kind of music do you like?

 

Ugh, the dreaded question.  Here’s the thing.  I like music, I like talking about music, I’m a snob about music.  I have a really hard time classifying music.  I’ve got a personal distaste for labels when it comes to certain things; books, music, politics, philosophical or religious leanings…  Labels are for objects.  Things which are static and unmalleable in their nature; 1/4” Wedge Anchor that’s an acceptable label.  Labels create assumptions in everyone, they try to tell you in as few words as possible huge amounts of information about a person or thing; they lack nuance where as people, their beliefs and their arts are constructed entirely of nuance.

It’s because of this that you end up with shit like this, and this, and this, and this, and this.  Everyone wants to be and feel unique, but there’s also this desire to belong to something.  At the same time, we love to categorize things.  So you end up with as many musical genres as there are bands to embody them and people who say things like, “Well, it’s really sort of a grindcore-jazz infusion with country-hip-hop accents and a strong inner-city Motown vibe; but the greatest inspiration comes from 80’s era Neil Young.”  That shit’s exhausting (also it sounds terrible, nobody do that).

 

ME: Oh, I’m on a pretty wide spectrum.  I stay mostly in the “hard rock” area, but my tastes run the gamut.

YOU: Cool.  How old do you think I am?

 

Okay, man, you gotta work on your segues.  And what a strange question.  It’s like  asking, “Hey, you wanna try to offend me?”  But I guess I’ll play along.

 

ME: Uuuuuuuuh, 28?

YOU: I’m 24.

ME: Okay, not too far off.

YOU: Five Finger Death Punch is my favorite band.

 

Shit.  Here’s the issue, despite the awkward lack of conversational transitions, up to this point I was at least partially interested in this discussion.  We had some common ground musically, you’re moving to a place I had lived, so there was stuff to talk about there, and, though it’s a little awkward to learn before even learning someone’s name, you sing in a death metal band; I’ve never known anyone who sings in a band… Death metal or otherwise.  There’s surely some artsy fartsy conversation that could be had there as well.  But Five Finger Death Punch? I mean, you’d think that if you sing in a death metal band, your favorite artist would at least be within the commonly accepted bounds of death metal like Opeth or Paradise Lost, both great bands that I love… My reflex was to pull a twisted up face and say, “Really?” but I held off.  I’ll try to be diplomatic about this…

 

ME: Oh? Yeah, I’ve got a few years on you, more of a ‘90s music guy.  I’m 36.

YOU: Oh… You don’t look 36.

 

Long pause.

 

YOU: Anyway, sorry for bothering you.  Just wanted to say I like your shirt.

ME: Alright…

 

And then you went back to your original seat.  So, I’m not sure what killed that conversation.  Maybe I screw my face up a little at Five Finger Death Punch.  Maybe you decided that a dude 12 years your senior wasn’t someone you could relate to?  Maybe you ran out of awkward segues?  I don’t know.

Whatever the case, I can promise you this, I’ve had time to process and regain my footing.  You caught me by surprise last time, but the event that we met again, there’s gonna be a rematch and you’d better be ready to defend that choice of favorite band.  Because you’re wrong.

February: Sisyphean Snowballs

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February, finally. 

Wait, let me preface this with an apology to my Facebook friends.  I don’t know why WordPress insists on posting this entire thing to my feed (and, by extension, your feed), I’m trying to figure out a way to saw it down to just a couple paragraph blurb.  Until then, I’m sincerely sorry.

This smallest of months has, so far, become the coalescing point of a number of big things for me.  The largest of which is probably that I quit my job of ten years to pursue another avenue of employ.  To date, this new direction has yielded positive results and promises to continue to do so for some time, so, that’s a big deal.  The most notable of those results, even more so than the bigger paycheck, is the retrieval of time.

I used to commute every day for nearly two hours in each direction; two and from work.  I don’t know how familiar you are with the traffic situation in Hawaii, but it’s a mess.  Generally, I’d carpool in the AM, and take the bus home.  This typically resulted in me getting up 6:30AM to arrive at my office somewhere between 8:00 and 8:30, then I’d put in my time and leave the office at 4:00PM to arrive home somewhere between 6:30 and 7:00PM.  My current position, though, gets me up at 5:30 in the morning, but home before 5:00PM.  Yes, I have to get up an hour earlier, but ultimately it’s a net gain… And I cannot overstate how wonderful those extra hours are. 

I, now, get home from work and actually have time to relax!

Used to be I’d come home, quick food, watch a little TV with The Wife while I eat, and hit the sack shortly thereafter.  Some nights I’d stay up for a few extra hours and tend to my Zen garden, or even get some writing done.  All depending on how anxious/ambitious I was feeling.  What I’m saying is that time was a commodity and trying to do anything with it resulted in a trade of something else.  Most often sleep.  Now though! I get home early enough to do things and get to bed at a reasonable hour; and it’s showing.

I never really realized how taxing my previous job was on me mentally.  It started out small, an over the course of roughly a decade it just got more and more soul-crushing.  Like if Sisyphus were hauling a snowball instead of a stone, and every time it rolled down it was a little heavier to carry back up. By the time I left I was so stressed out I actually dreaded leaving just because I knew how large the load was that would eventually be placed on someone else’ shoulders.  I felt bad, like really bad, like my guilt physically manifested in a full body rash two days before I quit, bad. 

But all that’s gone now.  My new job is more hand-on which has me going home more physically tired than mentally exhausted, which is good for writing and sleeping.  I used to dread looking at the word processor in the evenings because it’s what I did all day long.  Now I get home and I have ideas, as well as the time and tolerance to put them on paper.  The guilt rash cleared up in about four days, an I’m sleeping restfully again; which is great.  Laying that snowball down was one of the most difficult and gratifying things I’ve ever done.

Despite all that job quitting and such, January went off without a hitch.  I clubbed my writing goal to death and racked up a final word count of 13,517 words for the month; which, while not exceptional by any measure, is a big deal for me.  That’s about half the amount of writing I did for the entire year of 2015.  So, good on me for meeting my goal.

The 10,000 Club is still a thing an I’m still part of it going into February.  In fact, I’m over 5,000 words in already for this month so… Huzzah!  Now, I’m sure some of you (one of you?) are probably curious what I’ve been working on.

The largest contributor is definitely AWR’s 2016 Arena competition.  I can’t talk a lot about that just yet because a big part of that competition is anonymity an it’s still going on.  What I can say, though, is that the first two rounds were completed in January and resulted in in one “story” which I am NOT proud of, and another which I think could shape into something good.  There is talk about doing a re-write competition after the Arena and I will probably revisit that second story there, but until then, you can read what I’ll now call the “rough draft” here.

I did another thing in January.  The astute observer might notice that I made some minor renovations to this here blog.  Including, but not limited to, the inclusion of a Twitter feed.  Yup, I joined the #Tweeterverse (is that a thing?).

Twitter is strange.  It’s weird place that I don’t know if I like or not.  I had originally signed up because I saw it as a really great way to get a seen by a lot of eyes really fast; and for that purpose I can still see the potential.  The biggest issue I have with that, though, is that it’s really easy to just get lost in the sea of it.  There I so much information moving so quickly, unless your Tweets have a bright flashing neon sign, I doubt anyone is going to see them.  You’ll note that mine do not.  So, the first thing I did was reach out two a couple of friends who use Twitter (Hi Stan!) and check their list of Followers and Followees and just follow a ton of them; the logic being that at least some fraction of those people will turn around a follow me back just out of politeness. 

That worked, to some degree and over the course of the next two weeks or so I racked up slightly over 100 Followers.  That was oddly gratifying.  It’s like I knew that I didn’t know 99 of them, and that 99 of them didn’t know anything about me, but it still made me feel good to get that little email notification that I’d hit that milestone.

There’s like this illusion of importance with Twitter.  I knew going into it that it was there and since I was aware of it I’d be able to resist it.  But then, after a particularly aggravating day at work, I see this Tweet from @POTUS in my feed talking about the state of renewable energy.  I, of course, had something to say about that and popped off. 

As soon as I hit “Tweet” this little voice in my head went, “Oh, burn! You just mouthed off to the President, yo!” (my inner voice is a tool, BTDubs). As though Obama himself was going to read it and give a shit.  Then a day or two later, I notice I’ve got a new Follower, @ladygaga and my dumb ass brain goes, “Whoo! A famous person is following me! I’m interesting!”  Even though I know that; one, it’s probably not actually her; two, it’s was probably just part of a mass Following spree like I did; and three, I don’t even like or care about Lady Gaga (Note: @ladygaga has since stopped following me, but @ginblossoms have started; which is great because I actually like their music. I’m interesting!) 

Then, of course, there’s the downside.  In the last two days or so, I’ve lost about 15 followers.  I don’t know which ones, specifically, but I can’t help but wonder why.  I’m sure some are just automated cullers, others are probably just people cleaning their feeds of folk they don’t know, and potentially, there are probably one or two who’ve actually read my few Tweets and said, “To Hell with this guy.”  I don’t know.  But it doesn’t change the fact that there’s still this little insecure tool-box of a voice going, “Wait, what did I do? Can I make it up to you? Come back!”  So, yeah, apparently I’m susceptible to the illusion, despite the bonuses to my WIS check.

Anyway, ultimately February is shaping up to be a good month.  I’ve got a couple new projects in the works and some new old fiction I’m touching up with the intent to post probably this weekend; so be on the lookout for that.  So, until next time fan(s?), follow me on Twitter @warningsignsblg and make me feel better about myself.

The snowball is melting.