social media away message

I posted a version of this on Facebook this morning.

CLARIFICATION

I don’t hate any one person.
I don’t hate any group of people.
I don’t hate any demographic.
I don’t hate.

I feel angry.
I feel hurt.
I feel concerned — not for myself, not for any religious institution, not for so-called “religious freedom,” but for non-white, non-gender-binary, non-straight, non-legally-protected –> READ: non-*privileged* people, a majority of whom went to bed last night and woke up this morning utterly terrified.

In accordance with my daily-challenged faith, I will state my belief that Jesus is Lord of all, even this whole debacle.
But I will not forget that He was also Lord during the Dark Ages, the Spanish Inquisition, the Trail of Tears, the Holocaust, ETC. His being in control does not mean we humans don’t find a host of absolutely horrific things to perpetrate against one another.

His being in control does not excuse any of us — especially those of us who claim to follow Him — from doing everything we possibly can to prevent those horrific things. Including keeping other humans out of power who perpetuate those horrific things.

I feel sad.
I feel love.

I live out Love.

RELATIONSHIPS

Some of you are aware of my heavy heart after a former long-time friend unfriended me a few days ago over this whole debacle.
Some of you will call me a hypocrite because I unfriended someone over this whole debacle.

This difference is that I didn’t attack or question the faith of the one who unfriended me.
The one I unfriended was never more than an acquaintance, and he attacked me and questioned my faith.

I don’t need that kind of unhealthy connection in my life.

I want to retain connections in which I exchange life (Life) with others.

I’m not sure that’s a sustainable thing via Facebook.

There’s more to all this. But I don’t have the words right now. If I find them, I’ll holler.

VACATION

I am taking a social media vacation. It will last at least until the New Year.

I will pop onto FB to manage my author page (facebook.com/courtcanwrite/). But I don’t plan to interact there on my personal account.

I won’t be checking private FB messages. If you want to contact me, please email if you have my email address, text if you have my phone number, comment on my author page, or comment on my blog.

Until further notice, I’ll be interacting on Twitter (@courtcan) only to promote my books and talk about writing.

My main reasons for this vacation (from Facebook) are that I’m tired of being personally attacked, I’m tired of having my faith questioned by people who know little to nothing about my daily life or my beliefs, and I’m tired of providing a space where people I love and respect bicker with, yell at, and aim “friendly fire” at each other (necessitating my intervention).

I’m just weary. And this isn’t helping the depression I’m still in treatment for.

I love you all.

Facebook ya in January. Maybe.

 

In the meantime though, I’ll for sure be blogging here. Stay tuned!

The Starship Enterprise and a Break from Social Media

Yesterday I posted this to Facebook / tweeted this to Twitter:

So…I decided a few days ago that I need a social media break. It’s starting at midnight, it covers Twitter and Facebook, and it will likely last a week.

notweetingI need this for several reasons, the main one being that I desperately need to finish my work-in-progress, the much-neglected Elevator People. Social media is a wonderful tool for connecting, sharing, horizon-expanding, giving, receiving…but it is also a fantabulous time-suck. I need to see if spending my social-media time on my novel instead will help me finally finish the darn thing.

Furthermore, Twitter and FB have been the sources of a lot of OUTRAGE over various and sundry of late. And I’ve let myself join in on it. Yes, there are many things that SHOULD engender outrage. Injustice and cruelty, illogic and conspiracy. Incomprehensible chaos…. I don’t want to hide from it all, because I recognize the importance of participating in the story of the world, even if that story is sad and gruesome and despicable (usually the sparks of the outrage). Social media is part of living in the future, and I want to be part of that.

But.

All the outrage is contagious. All the outrage is addictive. All the outrage, and I throw myself into it, and my blood pressure rises, and my spirits sink, and I can’t get away from all the pleading voices that clamor for my attention. I can’t think my own thoughts, I can’t feel my own feelings beyond the MUST REACT TO CONVICTIONS AND SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET!

nofacebookingI need to think, need to breathe. I need to be in my own head and heart and in the my-life that I can touch with my fingers and smell and taste. I need to rediscover what it’s like to hear see read feel imagine something and not immediately reach out and tell the worlds about it. I need space…the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise…. #kidding #notreallykidding

I need to live my life without status updates and hashtags for a while.

So I’m taking a break. I’ll miss y’all. I’ll have withdrawal symptoms, and I’ll wonder what I’m s’posed to do with myself.

Maybe I’ll blog. ; )

Maybe I’ll finish my book. Maybe I’ll write poetry. Maybe I’ll have apostrophes. I mean, epiphanies.

But whatever happens, I know for certain it will be good.

I’ll leave you with one final thought, and then I’m going dark. I’ll see y’all on the other side.

INVISIBLE ZOMBIE SPIDERS. FBthumbsup

Sweet dreams!

Freddy Mercury, Painting, and Ennui

Because I’ve had an icky evening (READ: pregnancy is not for sissies), and I haven’t the fortitude for delving deeply into anything, here are a few thoughts on current events both local and not:

Olympics 2012 Closing Ceremonies

º I know I picked up on the meaning of many of the elements because I’ve spent most of my life in Europe.

º I had no clue of the meaning behind many of the other elements.

º This go-round wasn’t as moving as the Opening Ceremonies, but I still enjoyed watching.

º George Michael could tone down his vibrato a bit, but I was still disappointed that he didn’t sing more than one song.

º The members of the apparently newish boy band whose name I’d never heard of and now can’t recall all look like Justin Bieber.

º Whoever that girl was, she’s no Freddy Mercury.

º The giant puzzle-piece John Lennon face was pretty cramazing.

º Also, regarding the last Olympic event I watched this morning: Basketball players are quite tall.

Writing

º I didn’t work on the Rethana’s Surrender sequel this weekend.

º Friday night, I woke up at 4:30am and didn’t go back to sleep until 7:30am. (Yes, I still count that as Friday night. Hush.) At 5:30am, my brain delivered the first line of a new sci-fi short story: “The joke was sleek, fast, and deadly.” And in the next sentence, a woman dies a particularly bloody death.

Accordingly, with the little time I had Saturday morning, I started writing the story. I wrote more than a page. I’m still not sure just what The Story of the story is, but the title shall be “The Joke’s on Us.”

If I can’t figure out where it’s going, the joke will definitely be on me.

º I’m also feeling an urge toward poetry. It’s been a long time since I’ve written any, and I suspect I’m overdue. Once upon a time, I wrote 15-20 poems per year. Now, I might do two. That’s what happens when you turn yourself into a fulltime novelist, I guess. But I shouldn’t neglect the poetic aspect of writing. It affects the noveling in good ways. I shouldn’t forget that.

Politics

 

Media

º Multiple times per day, I check Twitter and Facebook.

º I don’t know if I’m just desensitized or dejected or what, but recently, my internal reaction to both media has been, “I’m bored.”

º Recently, my internal reaction to the intarwebz has been, “I’m bored.”

º Lest you think this were a reaction to my commitment to blogging every day — as in, I’m blogging every day and so am simply dazed with the amount of time I’m spending online — I’ve had ennui regarding the internet for quite awhile now. There just doesn’t seem to be much to do online.

º Maybe this is a feeling I need to follow. I would certainly get more writing done if I did.

Art

º I miss painting. I’ve had a concept in mind for a painting for over a year, and what with cover art and other projects, I haven’t had time to put that idea to canvas.

º Now, considering the 8-months-pregnant tummy, I can’t sit down to paint anymore. And I’m too tired to stand up to paint.

º So will I ever get to paint this picture I have in mind?

º Since I haven’t been able to paint, I’ve been playing with my phone camera and self-portraits. I leave you with one of my current favorites. Please do click to embiggen for the details!

Against the Grain

Will You Be My Fracquaintribe?

Caveat emptor readtor:

This post might mirror my life: jumbled, disorganized, exhausted, frantic. (And yet, there’s a tranquil part, too, because I am SO THRILLED TO BE LIVING IN A HOUSE FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1996!!!)

You’ve been warned. ; )

Word cloud generated with Wordle.net

*ahem*

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the definition of “friend.”

I really started thinking about it when I first joined Facebook four years ago — and people started “friending” me. Not be-friending, mind you, just friending. Suddenly, “friend” could be a verb that didn’t require a prefix.

Friend Me! I’m Friendly! And I’m Not a Psychopath!

And it didn’t require close connection with the person in question, either. We got rid of the “be-” and, at the same time, got rid of the need for knowing someone before we call them a “friend.”

On Facebook, I discovered, friends were friends. Acquaintances were friends.

Annnnnnd…total strangers were friends! What?! Upon a friend-friend’s recommendation, I found myself friending someone I’d never met in person or even online. I trusted the friend-friend not to steer me toward a crazy person, so why not?

So. “Friend” no longer meant “person I spend lots of time with and trust with most aspects of my life.” In this brave new cyberworld, a friend was someone with whom I had a connection either through personal experience or through decent referrals.

How cozy.

Along Came Twitter

Since May 2010, I’ve been a Twitterer. Or a Tweeter. Over a year, and I don’t know the nomenclature for what I am. Identity crisis aside, I’ve been tweeting and re-tweeting for 14 months now…

…and, wonder of wonders, I’ve got better connections with my tweetlings (as I call them!) than with the “acquaintances” and “total strangers” whom I have friended on Facebook.

My tweetlings tweet and RT (read: re-tweet) about me, and I about them. I help them out; they help me out. There’s a lot of give and only a little take. Whereas Facebook “friends” will opine and argue (sometimes discourteously), tweetlings tend to be polite.

From what I can tell, the rule on Twitter seems to be:

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

I kinda sorta like that a lot.

Tribe Hummus*

The newest part of my What’s A Friend? Saga is that Dino Dogan of DIY Blogger NET invited me to join Triberr.

You can click through to read the whos and whatsits — but basically, Tribber is designed so that individual tribe members can automatically retweet each other’s blog posts, thereby giving each member access to the others’ followers.

I’m too new to tell, really, just how much Triberr is extending my reach…but extend my reach it does. When I tweet my blog posts, 339 followers see my tweet.

But through the members of my Triberr tribe, my posts reach 6,785 Twitter users.

That’s a lot of free advertising. ; ) It’s brought me some new connections, and I’m pondering setting up my own tribe. I’ll blog more about that in the future — so prepare ye for updates! ; )

Triberr members promote each other; simply by being a member, I’m doing something good for three other people. And by being members, those three people are doing something good for me.

Friends do that.

Fracquaintribes

So. What do you think of all this?

Ten years from now, will we still have friends?
Will we have acquaintances?
Or will we all be members of tribes or clans, less and less individualized and more community-minded?

Is any of this pointing toward a sort of hive mind?

Resistance is futile; you will be assimilated. All of this re-defining of relationships is interesting…but how far will it go before the intellectual exercise turns into a humanity we present-day Twitterers, Facebookers, and Triberrs no longer recognize?

If you’re reading this, you’re pretty much already in my fraquaintribe. So let’s talk. : )
______________________
*As I pondered the heading for this section, I Googled the word “tribe” for fun. “Tribe hummus” was one of the auto-complete options; it made me gigglesnort, so I kep’ it. ; )

33 Questions for My Readers

You mustn’t always believe what I say. Questions tempt you to tell lies, particularly when there is no answer.

–Pablo Picasso

Okay, my dear inklings. This one was inspired by Michael Martine, Remarkablogger, who apparently keeps a tiny camera tucked into the the folds of my brain and blogs answers to my questions before I know I have questions.

Without further ado or adon’t: I have questions for you, my dears. Pick a few and share your thoughts in the comments. Or answer all the questions, if you dare. Or ask some of your own. Who knows what might happen if you people start talking to each other as well as to me? ; )

Mac or PC?

WordPress or Blogger?

Disqus or Livefyre?

Facebook or Twitter?

Blog or e-zine?

Chicken or the egg?

Novels or short stories?

Poetry or journal?

Paper or plastic?

Tea or coffee?

Cream or sugar?

IHOP or Denny’s?

Restaurant or home-cooked?

Faith or religion?

Values or beliefs?

Parachuting or deep-sea diving?

iPhone or Android?

Data or Spock?

Kirk or Picard?

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Klingons or Wookiees?

Jack Bauer or Chuck Norris?

Bauer or MacGyver?

MacGyver or Jones?

Early bird or night owl?

Dogs or cats?

Oceans or mountains?

Jungle or desert?

Speaking or listening?

Silence or sound?

Stillness or movement?

Inward or outward?

Questions or answers?

And, above all: WHY?

Indie Author Freaks Out: Details at 11

In her Twenty Things NOT To Say To A Writer: A Handy Safety Guide, Laura Resnick tells us that a career of writing books “…is insanely competitive, disastrously unstable, and skull-crushingly difficult to do.”

My experience as a published author now encompasses exactly 13 days. So far, I have learned three very important things about this skull-crushingly difficult business, and I am going to tell you about them now.

3 Newbie Lessons from Getting Published

1. When promoting your book, start off strong — but pace yourself.
Thus far, Twitter, Kindleboards, Facebook, and blogging have been my greatest allies in promoting Colors of Deception. I’m tweeting and posting — and to my delight, followers and friends are retweeting and reposting. (Thanks, everybody! You guys are cramazing.)

The result of all this networking isn’t just book sales, though — it’s connections all over the place. It’s encouragements coming in from all sides. And it’s tweets and messages that deserve a personal response.

Right now, I’m happily responding, and I’m making the social media work for me. But I’m also thinking ahead to when I start my next writing project — soon. And when I start it, the networking must take a backseat. I might even have to lock the networking in the trunk.

Because if I’m networking all the time, I’m not writing. If I’m not writing, I’m not me. If I’m not writing, there won’t be any books to network about. So as I’m thinking ahead to the next big project, I’m reminding myself that when it comes to book/blog promotion,

I am a writer first and a business second.

Maybe third.

2. Not everyone will support you. And that’s okay.
I wrote a little about this last week, when I mentioned my tweet about others’ silence. Sometimes, that silence is a worse rejection than an in-your-face confrontation. When you publish a book, you want every single person you know to shower you with congrats. Not that you want heaps and oodles of attention*, but an acknowledgement would be nice, right?

Well, not everyone is going to acknowledge your accomplishment — and that’s okay. Do you acknowledge every single accomplishment of every single person you know? If the answer to that is yes, you can color, paint, and doodle me impressed. Me, I have to answer that question with no. And the reasons behind my negation are legion and would make a whole series of blog posts.

But it all boils down to this: Frankly, I can’t keep up with everybody.

And I can’t expect everybody to keep up with me, either. ; )

Here’s the deal, though: We don’t need everyone in our lives to acknowledge our authorial accomplishments. I think about it this way: When I lose tweetlings (aka followers) on Twitter, it doesn’t mean I’ve failed; it means I’m refining my audience. If people stop following me, it means they weren’t my audience in the first place.

The same applies to my books: If someone doesn’t acknowledge my publishing success, it just means that person isn’t my audience. Maybe they don’t read novels. Maybe they don’t read my genre.

Whatever the reason for their silence, it’s not the end of my world. It’s just the refining of my audience.

3. Book Launch Parties freak out my subconscious.
The Book Launch Party is tonight, and I’ll be posting about it on Thursday. Vintage timeless Coffee is hosting the shebang, and I know it’s going to be fantastic.

That knowledge, however, didn’t prevent the weird dream I had two nights ago of driving my dad to the book launch and heading the wrong way up multiple one-way streets. I tried making a U-turn in front of a lady in a red Dodge Charger, and she almost took the front of my car off.

Fortunately, I understand what’s going on here. I’m an introvert. There will be people at this party whom I don’t know. I’m an introvert. They’re going to want me to say something in front of everyone. I’m an introvert. There’s a reason I chose writing over a career in public speaking. ; )

In spite of my subconscious’s quiet little freak-out, here’s what I know:

I’m surrounded by a kaboodle of supportive friends and family.

Nothing bad is going to happen.

I’m going to have an incredible time.

___________________________
Are you an indie or self-published author?

Do you find this business “insanely competitive, disastrously unstable, and skull-crushingly difficult?” Why or why not?

What are your words of wisdom for the indies and self-pubbed?

What are your sub-/conscious fears about publishing, and how do you deal with them?

___________________________

* Let’s admit it: We writers do like the attention. 😉

Readers, A Question For You

This is my “off” day (I usually post on Tuesdays and Thursdays), but I have a question for you, my lovelies. So this seems like a good day on which to pose it. : )

Take a look below this post at all those “sexy” sharing buttons.

Which ones do you use? And why?

Which ones do you not use? And why not?

I’m doing a little blog maintenance, so I’m hoping you guys will help me out a little. Thanks!

In Which “Jesus” Works On My Novel

Well, folks. You’re getting a treat today.

Why? Because it’s one of those days.

If you know me in real life at all, you know all too well my penchant for scatterbrainedness. Most of the time, I can focus. Most of the time, I know FAR in advance what I want to do. I don’t necessarily live by a schedule — but I do know how I want my day to progress. And I get squirmy if I plan things and then don’t get them done.

On the other hand, there are days like today.

Today, my darlings, I just can’t focus. I should be writing for you a blog post of beautiful coherence and cohesion, something with a unifying theme. Something that makes sense as a whole.

Regrettably, that’s not going to happen.

Here are three random items instead:

1. Last week, my friend Patricia pointed out that I don’t talk the way I write.

It’s true. I don’t. When you’re engaged in verbal conversation with me, I don’t use phrases like “engaged in verbal conversation.” I don’t start sentences with “regrettably,” and “penchant” is not part of my everyday vocabulary. And I don’t talk so fast that you have to squint at me and tune out the rest of the world in order to keep up.

In verbal conversation, I hesitate a lot. My sentences are shorter. A lot of them don’t get finished. And I say “That’s funny” way more than any human being should.

What’s more, I’m an introvert. So, unless I know you well, or unless we’re among a small group of friends, I won’t talk a lot. I won’t go on half as long as I do on my blog.

I’m a writer, not a talker. Yes, I’m a sucker for great conversation…but with just a few people at a time. Preferably two or three. If I can get an individual to talk to me one-on-one until the late hours of the night, I’m almost in heaven.

YES! Give me that intimate meeting of the minds!

I promise I’ll keep words like “juxtaposed” to a minimum. 😉

2. Jesus reminds us of how important it is to have an actual plot in our stories.

One day, whilst meandering through Facebook, I posted a link to my friend Jessie’s blog.

Jessie had reviewed a book in which the plot was not clear. In my headline above the link, I pointed out that her post was a good reminder of how important plot is in any story. Another Facebook friend commented that at first glance, he thought I’d written “Jesus” instead of “Jessie.”

I kind of like the idea that good storytelling is a divine command. It fits my mantra: Created to create!

3. Once upon a time, Jessie’s brother John admonished me about my habit of self-deprecation.

From 2001 to 2007, the husband and I lived in Germany and worked with a small church there. I could write a whole year’s worth of posts on everything we did, but the short of it is that we helped out however we could (organizing, construction-working, wall-painting, encouraging, mentoring, counseling, etc.) and taught private, conversational English lessons.

Our financial support came mainly from individuals back in the good ol’ USA, so I wrote regular newsletters to all of those fine folks, telling them the whats and wherefores of our lives. And lemme tell ya, those newsletters were long. I had to force myself to condense each one to two pages.

Those pages usually had 0.4-inch margins.

I frequently apologized for the length of those letters.

Then my friend John wrote me an email. In his direct, no-nonsense way, he said,

Don’t apologize for anything you write. If you’ve written a long letter, it’s because you’ve written what you felt was necessary to write. You weaken the message of your letter when you apologize for it.

Well. That made me take a step back.

Long story (ha!) short, I decided that he was right.

I never apologized for a long newsletter again. People kept sending money, so I guess they didn’t miss the apologies.

My friend JT, a university student, has some fascinating ideas for a novel. When we sit and chat about it, he invariably shoots me a warning look and says, “If I wrote this, it would be controversial.”

I tell him what John told me.
____________

Inconsistent vocabulary.

Divine commands for storytelling.

NO APOLOGIES.

What randomnesses of your own would you like to share? Lemme hear ya!

Why I Think Writers Are Like Bats

No, I’m not talking about baseball. I’m talking about flying mammals.

Yes. I am of the opinion that writers are like rodent-ish creatures with leathery wings, sharp teeth, and rabies.

Okay, so maybe not the rabies.

I’m kind of winging it here (Get it? Winging it? Hahaha.), because when I first came up with the idea for this post, I was just drifting off to sleep. “Writers = bats” popped into my head. I woke up enough to grab the nearest writing utensil — which happened to be my iPhone — and “scribbled” something that would later jumpstart me into writing a coherent blog post.

The note I “scribbled” took the form of an email I sent to myself with the subject line “writers are like bats. pinging.”

My Computer Comprehension. Let Me Show You It.

Unfortunately, the body of the email remained blank. And “writers are like bats. pinging” is not quite enough to send a power surge of writerly inspiration through my brain. However, one works with what one’s got.

“Pinging” gives me a clue as to what I was thinking. (I’m sure you computer gurus are going to squirm uncomfortably in your seats at what I’m going to say next, but I’m sorry — it can’t be helped.) My understanding is that a “ping” is kind of like a computer’s version of a Facebook “poke”:

Computer A sends a signal to Computer B…
…(i.e. Computer A “pokes” Computer B) to see if Computer B is paying attention.
If B is paying attention, B sends a signal back to say,
“Yeah, I felt your poke. Dude.”

If I didn’t get that right, you computer gurus are welcome to tell me about it. 😉

The Return to High School Biology

Whether I got it right or not, my concept of pinging reminds me of how I understand a bat’s echolocation works.

The bat makes an ultrasonic noise that bounces off of objects and other animals, specifically the bat’s prey. The bat analyzes the echoes that bounce back; this lets the bat decide whether or not those tiny flying things right there are yummy insects or not.

Facebook-style poking: I poke you to get your attention — will you poke me back?

Chiropteral echolocation: I make a noise at you — are you edible?

Writerly sharing: I show you my work — will you give me feedback?

Writerly Facebook Bat

From Ping to Publish

I do believe, gentle readers, that this is what my almost-asleep brain was trying to tell me when I made the frantic grab for my iPhone in the dark and typed an email subject line that didn’t make a whole lot of sense:

When we writers share our work with beta readers, we’re asking them to give our project attention.
We’re asking them to read and analyze it, then communicate their resulting thoughts to us.
We’re sending a signal, hoping to get one back.

The same applies when we finally get our work published. A writer’s published novel is the writer’s attempt to ping, poke, and echolocate the world. Readers’ feedback consists of opinions, concerns, complaints, and, we desperately hope, enjoyments. These responses, these echoes, these answering pings let us know the shape of the world around us.

If we know the shape of our world, we have more reference points for relating to the world.

When we writers share our work, we find out what and where the world is. And that helps us know who we are.

Perhaps most importantly, echolocating our readers lets us know whether or not you are edible. ; )
_____________________

Fellow writers, what do you say? Do you feel like a peckish, pinging mammal with leathery wings?

What have been your best/worst experiences getting feedback from readers?

Fellow readers, what do you say? Do you feel pinged?

What have been your best/worst experiences giving feedback?