Learning to Write Great Twitterature


I recently opened a Twitter account because I’ve been told that being on Twitter could help increase readership of my blog. I know I am late to the game. I just never saw the point of posting short blurbs. I enjoy writing. I am a writer. I don’t like limitations on my creativity, I want as many words as possible to express my profound and sometimes not so profound thoughts. I guess, however, at a certain point, one has to embrace new technologies. Hey, if my 97 year old grandfather can learn how to watch porn on an Ipad, I should be able to figure out Twitter, right?

Wrong. Twitter is the most confusing, convoluted mess of “tweets” and “retweets” and “hashtags” that messes with my already clutter-filled mind. All I know about Twitter up to this point, I have learned through watching comedy shows like 22 Minutes and Last Week Tonight. In fact, it’s only through television media that I know anything at all about the Twittersphere. Twitter is like another planet to me. People seem to be communicating, but at the same time, they are not at all. Just sound bytes. McLuhanI wonder what Marshall McLuhan would have to say about Twitter? I mean, as a society, we have really regressed, communication-wise. Ever read an elementary school reader from the 19th century? The things kids read in grades primary-6 back then is much more complex than what our graduating high school students are reading today. I wonder what people in the 1800s would have thought about literature presented in 140 characters or less.

Are Tweets “literature”? I’m sure some of you perhaps raised an eyebrow, maybe even two, when I used the term in reference to Twitter. Merriam-Webster defines literature as “the production of literary work especially as an occupation” and as “the body of written works produced in a particular language, country, or age” and also “the body of writings on a particular subject.” If you think about these definitions, Tweets are literature. Some people seem to make a career out of twittering, the social media site is certainly creating a large body of work reflective of the current age we live in, and the particular writing subjects are organized by the “hashtags.” (I think… I’m still trying to figure the damn thing out.)

Is Twitterature good literature? Hells no, but you can bet it will be studied in the future as the English language evolves. Will it become as iconic as the works of Shakespeare? I certainly hope not. And what’s the deal with the “hashtags”? Who came up with that? Do people put tags on their hash? I thought hashish was illegal? Do drug dealers actually put the prices on their product? I don’t frequent with drug dealers so I am legitimately asking.

Here is a list of what I understand about Twitter so far.

  • Tweet- a thought of 140 characters or less
  • Re-tweet- when you like a thought, you share it on your own Twitter page
  • Reply- I don’t know. I thought it meant you commented on a thread, but none of mine seem to show up
  • Send a personal message- self-explanatory but it doesn’t seem to let me send messages
  • Hashtag- topics your thought applies to
  • Following- people who you think have cool tweets
  • Followers- people who think your tweets are cool

So in my admittedly limited understanding of Twitter, I would say it is high school only larger. People spout off opinions without using supporting evidence, they follow and copy (retweet) the people who they think are “cool” and the whole goal seems to be to acquire followers (become the most popular kid at the school.) So basically, we are all trying to be Ferris Bueller. ferris_1 And there’s always at least one bully who nobody likes but everyone keeps tabs on: Donald Trump. Hey Trump, the only reason anyone follows you is because we’re all waiting to see what crazy thing you’re going to say next, but no one really likes you. Except for maybe the people who voted for you and the people who helped you rig the election. Anyone else wonder about all the accusations he made at Hillary over election rigging? One thing I know is if you want to distract from your own misdeeds a really great way to do it is to point the finger at your opponent. Worked with my brother growing up ALL THE TIME!
















“Ferris Bueller.” The Washington Times. <https://www.washingtontimes.com/multimedia/image/ferris-1jpg/&gt; November 13, 2017.

“Literature.” Meriam Webster. <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literature> November 13, 2017

It’s none of my business what other people think of me


It’s none of my business what other people think of me.

My therapist told me this. When she initially said it, she prefaced it with, “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but it’s none of your business what other people think of you.” It was, as Oprah would say, an “aha” moment. Sometimes even reality TV stars who become president of the United States have those moments when their stupidity actually makes some sense such as a July 2013 tweet:

I’ve just started blocking out some of the repetitive and boring (& dumb) haters and losers. They are a waste of time and energy!

Hmmm, Trumpy. I hate to admit it, but that’s actually quite smart. Ignore the “haters and losers.”  Of course, in Trump’s world anyone who disagrees with him is a “hater” or “loser.” And I am one of his haters and I’m sure he would say I’m a loser too. But hey, it’s none of my business what Trump thinks of me.

But it’s a difficult thing, isn’t it? To not care about what others think of you. In sociology, George Herbert Mead came up with the idea of symbolic interactionism, the idea that our view of self comes from what we think others think of us. And that all of our behaviours are based on that. How do you not think about how others perceive you? And how do you ignore it? Especially when you’re not Trump and you can’t just fire anyone who doesn’t think you’re awesome.

For anyone with anxiety, the mirror is skewed with thoughts of what we think others think about us. It’s inescapable. Every person’s behaviour is scrutinized for a deeper meaning which often leads to the worst case scenario. The barista at Starbucks gave me milk instead of lactose-free beverage because he wants me to be constipated. The sales lady at Old Navy brought me the larger size because I look fat. I didn’t get the job because they found out I have mental illness. None of these things are true. Except maybe the last one. Could it be?

Apparently, God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. I’m not sure that’s true. I think it’s something someone made up to make us feel stronger when we are in the face of adversity. Because sometimes you are given responsibilities by others in your life and apparently, or so I’ve been told, God gave us free will. If other people with their own free will decide for you what it is you have to do, then you can be given more than you can handle. Did they do it because they thought I could handle it? Did they do it because they don’t like me? Did they do it because they wanted to see how far they could push me?

It’s none of my business what other people think of me. Ignore the haters and losers. I’ll just bury my head in a pile of bullshit and breathe it in until the smell festers within and I can’t take it anymore. Block it out, blot it out, blog it out. Nevermind the racing thoughts, the fleeting thoughts, the negative thoughts. Everyone’s a winner, baby, that’s no lie.

It matters. What other people think of me. I want to be liked. Doesn’t everybody

By the way, if you don’t like me, you’re fired. But it’s okay, because it’s none of your business what I think of you.


Featured Image: Trump, Donald. Twitter. <https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump&gt; October 12, 2017.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could choose your neighbours?

6 a.m.. The early morning sun creeping into the windows, lighting up the world. Oh, the sounds of the dawn of a new day: the birds  are chirping and my neighbour is hacking up his  lung. Every morning I awake to the sound of a man coughing like a car engine struggling to turn over as he smokes his morning cigarettes in his garage before leaving for work.

Neighbours. We all have them. Even if you live in a desolate wooded area, you still have them. They may just live a little farther away. Or they may not be human neighbours. They may be bears, or deer or raccoons or some other kind of critters.

I’ve had many neighbours over the years. In the grand scheme of things, the neighbours I have in the city aren’t so bad. They may get a little rowdy on a Friday night, and cough loudly in the morning, but they are kind enough to bring my grandfather his supper every evening.

Some of the worst neighbours I’ve had were in apartments. Living in a small town, it’s rare to find an actual apartment complex. The best you can do are big old houses that have been divided into smaller units. These are the worst. There is no sound-proofing between units. You can hear everything: pleasurable howls of lovers in the mid-afternoon, the thundering thuds of a large, older lady who walks on the floor above, Muslim chants at 2 in the morning praising Allah, the clanging of empty, recyclable bottles on early Monday mornings. Their schedule becomes your schedule.

Sometimes it’s better to hear your neighbours though than to see them. The most disturbing image I have that I wish I could unsee is of a neighbour in his yard in the early morning hours wearing nothing but his under-shorts while doing yard work. He was a skinny, scrawny man, balding and pallid.

The worst part about neighbours, though, is that you can’t choose them. They choose where to live or somebody else chooses them for you. Right now one of my neighbours is a crazed lunatic with orange skin and a dead animal toupée/hat. As a Canadian, I had no say in the election of President Donald Trump.
Trump, as president? Who saw that coming? Who would ever have thought that a joke made on the Simpsons in the 90s would ever come to fruition. Now whenever I see hyperbole being used on adult cartoons like the Simpsons and Family Guy, I’m going to get a sickish feeling in my gut. What if that really happens?

The sounds and sights of the Trump presidency

When Trump was first elected, I felt the most fearful that I’ve ever felt. I remember in high school, I used to lay awake at night, worrying about the end of the world. That November morning when I awoke to the news that Trump had been elected, I thought “here it is.” I remember during the Bush Junior years, always being pissed off by the stupidity of Americans, but Bush is a moderate compared to Trump. I would give my left breast to have the Bush years back again. Yes, the years immediately following September 11th seem like a simpler, kinder, gentler time.

Do you remember the coverage of the first 100 days? Almost daily some new policy was being implemented such as the Muslim country immigrant ban or news broke of another scandal. Bets were actually being waged in Las Vegas on how long it would be before Trump was impeached. So now we’re not just betting on sports’ outcomes, now we’re placing bets on the presidency of the United States? It was swift and cunning how quickly Trump was able to take one of most respected and revered positions of leadership in the world and turn it into a joke.

But it’s not a funny joke. Yes, we can laugh at Trump, and I enjoy the Saturday Night Live (SNL) sketches and late-night fodder as much as the next person. However, when you really think about it- it’s not funny at all. A megalomaniac has taken up the office of president of the United States. Orange-man has his finger on the button every day. The Blue Man group would be more qualified for the job. At least they’d be more pleasant to look at.

We are approaching the one-year mark of Trump’s presidency in November. I imagine all the major U.S. television news networks will be doing “breaking news” reports on “Trump: the first year” or CNN will call it “breaking news” for sure. Apparently, stories that broke two years ago are still breaking news to CNN. What I’m noticing after almost a year of this nonsense is that I am no longer glued to the News Networks every day like I was. In fact, I am in hiding from the News. I didn’t even know Trump looked directly at the Eclipse until somebody else told me. I think it was around March that I got exhausted of the whole thing. It’s either you watch the news about Trump’s antics and live in a state of incessant agitation, or you isolate yourself from the news and social media in order to maintain your sanity.

The good news I have to report about my neighbour, president Donald Trump, is if I can’t hear him or see him, I don’t think about him. Then I just live my life in the most stress-free way possible. I know many people who write blogs are on social media a lot of the time.  Lucky for me, as a teacher, I’m lucky if I have time to squeeze in writing, let alone to be checking social media sites all the time. So it’s easy for me to bury my head in the sand. The best stress reliever in the world is to turn off from all forms of the media. I wish I could just as easily turn off the coughing hack of my city neighbours. I guess you just can’t have it all.