Friday, January 22, 2010

we interrupt this subject matter . . .

While I'm in the middle of writing about aging for 40 days, trying to work out ideas and flow for WRINKLE, this morning I'm going backwards to talk, yet again, about menstruation. Or more, to talk about why people don't want to talk about it. Or, perhaps, this post will look at how segmented society's become. Or, maybe the focus will be the shallowness of twitter. Or, in the end, the fact that no one likes me.

How will I magically wrap those disparate themes up in a neat little package?

Read on.

Last night I did my first tweetchat on twitter. For those not in the know, it's a real time twitter conversation (all posts being 140 characters or less), that anyone is welcome to participate in. You follow the chat by using a pre-determined hashtag which is a phrase preceded by a pound (#) sign. Last night's was hosted by a very cool website: They've chosen FLOW as one of their recommended book club picks for January and have been promoting it like mad. My hats off to such enthusiastic book lovers

I didn't do a lot of pre-hype for this event, figuring people would be interested in asking questions about FLOW. Or, if not about the book itself, then about writing, getting published, how to find an agent, what I'm working on next, what I've done in the past, my work routines, where my ideas come from, how to put a book together, how to write a book proposal, art rights, book design, self-promotion, public relations, book launches.

Truly, there are countless questions to ask.

And there are countless people on twitter who are writer wannabes. You'd think (I thought), some might be interested in discussing some or all of the above with a person with lots of actual publishing experience.


Five or six of my twitter friends stopped by to chat. The woman hosting was there. Two more people jumped in towards the end. And me. Later than evening a few people mentioned they were sorry they'd missed it but that was it. It was a lovely, lively conversation, but the opportunity for it to have been so much more plagued me throughout.

Was it that people, still, are uncomfortable talking about menstruation in such a public setting? Could be. I shared my most embarrassing story (leaking onto white carpenter pants in 8th grade and pretending I sat in wood stain for the rest of the day), and no one commented. Someone did suggest special spa treatments for PMS—I thought that was pretty brilliant.

Was it that it was hard to get attention in such a scattered environment? I sent messages to many, most didn't respond. I'm aware whenever someone writes to me but maybe that attention isn't how most people use twitter. In the end, I resorted to begging and even that only worked sometimes.

Was it that it's hard to have in-depth discusses on twitter? You know, it is. It's not easy to share long thoughts, have a vibrant give and take, expound on ideas when you have so little space. It's often very surface and then conversation shifts to something else. Digging deep isn't what twitter's about—I've found, when I really am connecting with someone, it turns to email, or phone, or some other form of less restrictive discussion.

Was it me? I have lots of followers, but know that most of them aren't particularly interested in me. I'm just another notch in their belt. My ego was bruised for a bit (and here's the aging reference), but I've grown up enough that that was ok.

I'm wiser than I used to be. I know the world isn't revolving around me. That for all I am and have to offer, I'm just another person in a sea of millions. Used to be, when every book of mine came out, I was sure that it would change the world somehow, or at least change mine. FLOW is by far the best received, biggest book I've done and my life is exactly the same. Although I do now own fabulous boots and a super funky vintage dress that I bought for the launch party. I've met Dr. Oz, been on TV, learned how to make promo films, can talk about subjects that used to make me blush just by thinking about them. My kids think I'm cool. I take myself more seriously as a writer than I used to. I'm not entirely sure is it's wisdom or realism that I've discovered, but having such a light turnout last night was fine in the end. When I was younger, it could have been devastating.

I'm at this crossroads. Do I rev it all up again, plunge into another project that will all consume me, or be ok with being here?

I don't know.

Day 5 is waffling about what's next.


Alexis said...

I wish I'd known about it! Please let me know if you do another one.

Lisa Adams said...

As one of the ones who DID stop by (though only for 1/2 hour) I can only speak for myself in saying that it was the 7 PM hour that was the killer. I think if tables were turned you might have similarly found it difficult to devote an hour to anything! In my opinion, it was about that. :) xoxo

Elissa Stein said...

To be honest, I had trouble maintaining it for an hour. By the end, Jack was on my lap, Iz was pushing for homework help, Jon was trying to orchestrate dinner, and my mom had called twice even though I said I couldn't talk.