Late Sunday night I realised I hadn’t looked at Twitter all day. That never happens. I’m a Twitter addict.
Sunday was wonderful. We cycled from the East Village to Red Hook and back, via Vinegar Hill and Dumbo, taking breaks to eat and explore the various neighbourhoods along the way. It was splendid and I didn’t look at Twitter once.
This is very weird for me. I look at Twitter every day. Multiple times a day. Sometimes I feel like I live my life on Twitter. But there I was, not having looked at it once, and, well, I also realised I wasn’t feeling anxious. There wasn’t a heavy weight on my shoulders or a stone in my gut. So I decided not to look at Twitter again until after the Memorial Day weekend was over.
I spent yesterday writing. I wrote more than I have in a day for ages. About halfway through the day I decided to take a whole week off from Twitter. Just to see how it goes and to see if I feel like Twitter’s taking more away than it’s giving me.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Twitter. It’s the only social media I’ve ever loved. I hated MySpace. I never even signed up for FaceBook because it seemed too much like MySpace and the initial invites I received were all from people I haven’t seen in years for very good reasons.
I love the brevity of Twitter. Perversely, I also love people’s long Twitter threads. I love having conversations with people all over the world about a myriad different things. I love the activism of Twitter. I love how much I’ve learned from Twitter. About history, politics, People of Color in European Art, Whores of Yore. So. Many. Things. I love, too, occasionally being able to teach.
But last year my writing slowed. The endless lead up to the US election was painful because of the way the racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia of this country was spelled out in vivid colour daily. The Southern Poverty Law Center says there are 917 hate groups in the USA. There are 47 of those in my state of New York. Hate won and we have the Hater in Chief in the White House.
Like many others I’ve struggled to write while the world is this horrible. Especially with news stories about hate crimes, corruption, treason etc. breaking, what feels like, every few hours.
Twitter amplifies that effect. It also provides welcome distraction from it. But for me lately the first has been overwhelming the second.
I’ve been working on the first draft of this novel for two years now. Which, for me, is ridiculous. I can’t go on like this because writing novels is how I make a living. I have to get back into the rhythm of productive writing. There are more than ten novels in my writing queue. I have to finish this one and get to them.
So, no Twitter for a week and then, depending on how that goes, I’ll try to modify my use to only an hour or so a day. Let’s see if I can become a restrained Twitter user and if separation from Twitter will snap me out of my post-election despair at long last.
Don’t worry, I’ll still be calling my reps and staying informed. I’m not opting out of civic life just out of Twitter for awhile.
Wish me luck finishing this bloody novel! (Let me tell you it doesn’t help that this novel is about a psychopath in this brave new world of ours.)
PS If you need to contact me you can do so here.