Tag Archives: twitter

Unplug and burn it to the ground

An excerpt near the end of my fiction novel about a woman named Sam who is in her late 20’s and a techno-crazed mess who gets herself in all kinds of crazy trouble on a grand scale, tentatively titled ‘Based on True Tweets’. Some of you may remember her and posts on this blog from that piece. I’m threading it together in my head, albeit in tiny slices of moments in a workday when I’m not deluged with minutiae of tasks but she’s still there, trying to work her way through me!


She unplugged herself. She pulled the power bar out, yanking in an abrupt, angry pull so everything went black all at once.  Then she picked up her iPhone and deleted her Twitter account. “Are you sure?” Yes. I’m fucking sure.

She sat in the silence that followed. She heard a small dog bark repeat itself like an apartment minuet and she realized she’d never heard the dog that lived above her before. Tweets had obfuscated her ability to be aware of her surroundings. Digital noise had filled her mind with clutter and in her hampster-wheel life, she’d mistaken the noise for a kind of promise. She had dulled the sharp points of her judgement with replies, retweets, and a kind of sharing that had led her as far away from her self as an information highway possibly could.

In that moment, Sam realized she had to move. Everything about her apartment reeked of desperation. She would have liked to burn it to the ground and stand in the ashes so her feet smelled of smoke and effort and survival. She’d have to settle for a storage locker and a suitcase. Slightly less dramatic, but she would at least know there were ashes where they should be: in her heart, snuffing out the danger that had lit her world on fire in the first place.

She shook her head in disbelief. It all seemed so simple in this moment. At what point had she woken up? She found it hard to believe she could have been so asleep, so utterly unaware of her own destruction. She had to acknowledge she alone had chosen to walk that road to find love, that she had led herself into those places,  kissed men not to find love but to prove it didn’t exist. She only wished she could run down that road now and pull her self back, tug on the coat sleeve of her misjudgment and prevent the inevitable moment when her illusion had turned on her, revealing its true dysmorphic disorder in all its glory. She wanted to whisper to that self: This isn’t what you think it is.  It never will be.

She stood still in the middle of her apartment unwillingly turning back to the past one last time for a look at his face.

Over. Get on with it. Stand up. Move. Pack. Burn it all down. Get your shoes on for chrissakes said an instructive voice in her head suddenly. For some reason, it sounded like Holly Hunter and it was kicking her ass. She left her laptop on the table, her iPhone still plugged into it and wrapped a scarf around her neck absently as she fumbled for her keys in the glass bowl. She’d waited for this moment, when she finally stepped in and saved herself. It felt like tap-dance happy. It felt like salvation. It tasted like a communion wafer that never melted. She wondered, as she closed the door, what her father would think then realized she didn’t care anymore.


Filed under Fiction

Getting to the truth of the matter

I create in the digital workplace and so I use a lot of social platforms, yada yada, and I’ve noticed there seems to be this race to get the newest, the most viral, the most influential tool possible so ‘I can have a lot of friends and have a great Klout score and show all of this off to everyone in the whole wide world!’ Indeed, there has crept into everyday conversation a sort of sick measurement stick that I am not at all down with.

In fact, I’m writing a Transmedia Code of Ethics for myself and those I collaborate with because as I begin to work on larger Transmedia projects, I am realizing how idealist I really am. I keep wanting my experience with people to be like it was when I worked in the theatre, where we all sat around a table, read a script, and began to craft and shape the vision of the playwright. We would move from the table to the stage, incessantly talking to one another, from lighting to props, sound designer to actor, director to stage manager, and then, finally,  all of us collectively to the audience. Then people clapped and gave us money.


What I love best about the theatre was our absolute dependency on each other. If I did not put a certain prop at the right time in the right actor’s hand, and the lighting cue was missed, the show would fall apart. At every moment, the show depended upon, was entirely reliant upon, all of us as a moving entity, working seamlessly in the dark with watchful eyes.

What came after opening night was an euphoria that only this kind of intense collaboration can bring. The pranks offstage to mess with the actors (I was never guilty of this of course), shenanigans’ of the actors purposely missing lines, booze smuggled backstage, last-minute frenzy of costume changes, and then the moment when the lights come on and you realize you made it through! Followed by the stern reality of the Director’s ‘notes’. But woven into the experience was always this sense of family, because we needed one another in order to get to the vision of the storyworld we’d created.

This is what I’m trying to create and this is what I’m up against: people talking about themselves versus the art, people preening about their ‘followers’, people eyeing your client list like hyenas, people wanting to use you to line their own back pockets. It’s disheartening. Actually, its total bullshit.

I think this is the ugly side of digital. This incessant desire to blow up personal brands like great ego-driven helium balloons that hover and vie for attention, crowding out the notion of creativity and collaboration and shared vision. I wonder, is it possible to get back to that table of theatre, where I can sit around with a group of talented people, and feel like family? Trusting implicitly that it is the art, not the commerce, not our personal brands, not our number of followers or likes, not our goddamn personal agendas, but rather, the exhilaration and devotion to the craft that is at stake? That together we are only able to create this art and must depend on trust to reach that place.

Is it too utopian? Too naive? Perhaps. Perhaps.

But I believe, as John Keats famously wrote that ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’. I won’t settle for less.


Filed under Non-fiction


(A little excerpt from a fiction piece I’m working on…:)

She looked over at him in the dark. He slept soundly, his head rolled sideways, sunk into the feather pillow, the tops of his eyebrows poking up and throwing tiny shadows across his eyes. The wooden slatted blinds allowed enough light in to keep her up. So did her own mind. She reached over, fingers crawling around on the night table searching for the stem of her wine glass. Warm, flat champagne. Even expensive champagne eventually tastes like shit at 4 am. Checking again to makes sure he was asleep, she slowly eased her body out from under the comforter. She shivered before her feet hit the cold wood floor and crouching Grinch-like she tip-toed out of the bedroom.

Her skin protested in goosebumps as she made her way in the dark down the long hall to the bathroom. She knew she’d find a robe there, because it was like a goddamn hotel wasn’t it? Bowling alley hallways, austere gray furniture, bad art, crisp white textiles and a sort of forced hospitality that made her feel like she should be able to call a front desk. But all she had was her iPhone, sitting in the dark, on the toilet, the soothing heat in her palm as she clicked open Facebook. She smiled at her brother’s video of Sammy Hagar, who in hell even remembers that guy? Somehow it comforted her, in this place where she could never feel she fit her own skin, even as his hands were constantly touching it, from her toes, to her knees, her neck…Fahget about it she told herself in a Tony Soprano voice and stood up to walk towards the kitchen. She noticed a little ‘1’ on her Twitter and clicked to view her mentions. She absently thought how vain she was but then, if that was true, so was the rest of the world now.

The hollow fridge was bachelor bare.She cut a hunk of dried Brie and poured a cold glass of Pinot Grigio. Sitting down on the kitchen stool too high for any normal limbed person, she read through his DM’s. Her tongue savoured the cold wine and she pulled the soft velour around her shoulders. Could he not afford heat? God it was cold. She suddenly heard the floor creak and wanted to sprint, where? What was her problem? Her nerves were like guitar strings strung and twisted, all jangly and frayed and splintered, but it didn’t show on her face as she smiled and kissed him, the smell of sleep and cologne on his neck as he held her and cupped her breast.

“What are you doing out here babe?” he asked.

“Couldn’t sleep” she said flatly and got up, resigned, padding back to the bedroom. She was too tired for anything. Too tired to talk, think, love. Least of all love.


Filed under Fiction

How Twitter is Like Marriage

For Twitterists’ worldwide, it is common knowledge that our Twitter habit is a daily investment and one that we have committed to wholeheartedly. But for those considering getting into microblogging, there are a few things to consider first before you commit to Twitter. I often say to clients that Twitter is like marriage.

Here’s why:

1. Commit. Enter into the union or in this case, the Twitterverse, with the intention you’ll be there every day, for better or worse.

2. Be diplomatic. Don’t expose a mommy blogger’s spelling mistake for the sake of winning. Be magnanimous in your relationships.

3. Be supportive. Give shout outs to your tweeps when they need them. Retweet and mention the young entrepreneur you know is struggling to build their business. It’s like virtual roses–a little love goes a long way.

4. Contribute consistently. Be a long-term partner. It’s not all about you. Contribute to the conversation and deepen your relationships so they can live offline.

5. Be loyal. Play in your city’s sandbox. Support local causes, events, businesses’.

6. No eye rolling. Being sarcastic, patronizing, or giving a virtual eye roll is not being a good partner and it certainly isn’t be a good tweep.

7. Crack jokes. They say that shared humour is what sets great marriages apart so unbutton the collar a little, let your humour show through in your tweets, it’s okay to be entertaining!

8. Don’t go there. Avoid diving into topics you know will incite a riot, fight, or cause you to lose your credibility. Bad taste is bad taste, be professional. Play nice.

9. Shut up sometimes. That’s right. Zip it. Over-tweeting is like someone shouting in your face. It’s rude, childish, and will only alienate you from the community.

10. Celebrate success. Be a cheerleader but make sure you’re cheering for yourself only 20% of the time–give positive daily support to your relationships on Twitter the remainder of the time and you’ll receive lots of micro karma back.

Unlike marriage, however, Twitter doesn’t require any big fat diamond but don’t kid yourself–it will cost you. But most Twitterists’ will tell you it’s so worth the committment.

*Note: this post also appears on my business website, www.whatisyourstory.ca because it’s a weird hybrid of personal and business.

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Filed under Humour, Relationships