The Deep End

Social media is the bane of my existence. Its become a way for people to try and attain some sort of fame, front a facade to hide behind of, or collect a large bouquet of followers to sell to.

Artists use it to get the word out on their work. I do that by writing these articles and posting some of them on Facebook. To be honest I don't really know who reads them. I don't go around asking, "Didya readit?" It's not that I don't care, but I sorta don't care. Some people have told me off hand that they’ve read a post I’ve written. I mean, I'd love it if everyon did. The crazy thing is that I don't speak to most of the people that I'm connected to on Facebook. I can count the number of my close friends on one hand.

When I ride the train during rush hour, I find myself swimming in people facedown over lit pieces of glass. Not that I don't do that. I do. But I spend more time people watching, and there's not much to watch.

This isn't a commentary about how our society is slowly being drained of real human connection. Though, they are.

As a writer, I spend a lot of time alone because I'm either writing or critiquing my fellow writers' pages. I love the work. I also go on long hikes and walks and fall into my introverted side and become introspective. But all of that gets lonely at times. Then I go on Facebook and everyone is liking and commenting and having a jolly good time. So it seems that if I don't participate in all the likes and commenting and gushing over how good that plate of food looks, then I don't exist. I'd rather like and comment and gush over what's happening in person. That's more fulfilling than who has liked my shit on Facebook.

In what is claimed to be the longest study on happiness, Robert Waldinger states that fulfillment in life comes from real human connection. The deeper the better. That's what she said.

Now I'm presented with a choice. Do I do what everyone else is doing and put full effort into building my social media? Or do I try for deep connections with people?

Why not do both?

Both are time consuming. And for me one gives me no real satisfaction. The habit of social media is to collect followers and likes. You become a bean counter of sorts. And like material wealth, it's never enough. So you continue chasing and accruing, chasing and accruing...

It's fun at first. Much like eating a lot of candy. It's not very nutritious, eating all those empty calories. 

However, forming deep connections can be difficult for me because my sensibilities are raunchy with a little bit of dry humor mixed in, peppered with a bit of hot temperedness, toss in some uncomfortable questions, and top it off with a heaping scoop of sarcasm. That's a mixture most chefs would be like...

Most of the time I'm not an asshole. I'm not asking women if I can slap their plump butt. But it's no surprise people who can't handle my mess of a personality run for the hills. Hence...count my friends on one hand. The most obvious solution is to dial my sensibilities down a notch...maybe all the way. Like take a tranquilizer gun, point it at my butt cheek, and yank the triggah. Eventually I'd wake up and be my old self again.

The real solution is to find folks who are willing to jump into the deep end of the crazy pool with me. Just to be clear I'm not that crazy. I don't go around flashing people. I don't do hardcore drugs. I don't torture animals. I torture people with my sensibilities, but I don't physically hurt them. Unless it's sexual where it hurts so good. I'm liberal so I'm accepting of people from different cultures, backgrounds, and the like. In other words, I'm aware enough where I'm not hurting anyone. If people are offended by me, then so be it. They can climb out of the deep end and scream running. I'll just float all by my lonesome.

Love

I had written an article about know it alls. Now, since I'm the sole author on this website, I sound like a know it all. But if you've read those articles, I do point out mistakes that I've made and don't hide from them because I'm human, and humans make mistakes. Cuz we be humans.

In that post I had talked about reading my friend's book, her first. She had asked me to, and I asked her what kind of feedback she wanted. Honest feedback, she answered. And that was what I had given her, and I was very conscious of any judgements that had welled up. In those moments, I usually put her book away and turned my attention back to mine. When I critiqued her novel, I had focused on structure, major grammar faux pas, and story and character development. I did advise her to take any suggestions that I had made with massive grains of salt. Well, massive grains would really be chunks of salt. Whatever.

On Memorial Day, I had sent her an email to see how she was doing. Not necessarily wondering what she thought of my notes, but to see how life was going for her. She lives in a different state. We had been friends for a long time, around twenty years, I think. We had met at the martial arts school that I used to attend. And we've experience each other's ups and downs.

She has yet to return my email, and she's usually pretty quick with those.

As I've written in another article, sometimes chapters in our lives end with the writing off of certain friendships. And maybe for her, she has closed the book on ours, which saddens me.

However, if it was due to my feedback, then I completely understand. Essentially, I attacked her baby.

I've heard this said many times. Writing the book is the easy part. Getting it out into the world is the hardest. That doesn't make the author's work less important to that author. Despite the number of books being published per year, each one is precious. That also doesn't mean each one will see the light of the public, nor is the public's response any real measure of success. Though, it'd be nice!

Writing a book is a lot like love. Being in a relationship is risky business. We risk our hearts, our sanity, our very souls for love, not to mention time. But the risk is worth the reward. What we get back from another human being, that connection that we all seek is oh so amazing and beautiful.

So it is for authors. We risk our hearts, our sanity, our very souls, not to mention time, to put into words what life can portray in a single moment. But the risk is worth the reward. What we get back from the process, a better understanding of ourselves is oh so amazing and beautiful. For all us authors out there, let's put everything we have into our books because doing anything less would insult the love we have for our stories.