Lives are shaped by chance encounters and by discovering things that we don’t know that we don’t know. The arc of a life is a circuitous one. … In the grand scheme of things, everything we do is an experiment, the outcome of which is unknown.
You never know when a typical life will be anything but, and you won’t know if you are rewriting history, or rewriting the future, until the writing is complete.
This, just this, I am comfortable not knowing.
Today, every day, that’s the deep end I’m swimming toward. I think that’s where most of my heroes lived their lives: finding the place where drowning becomes floating, and where that which surrounds us becomes that which supports us.
No week seems to pass without some tweeter or other having their handle felt by officers of the law. So if you don’t want to be one of them but you do want to communicate in 140 characters, here are my 10 Golden Rules:
- Twitter IS publishing. Putting it out there for others to read is publishing. So don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t be happy to see on the newsagent’s shelf with a picture of you above it.
- You think you know the law of libel. You don’t. Nor do any of your friends. I have had grown men telling me on Twitter this week that repeating a libel is not itself libel (it is) or that if you don’t directly say X is a rampant Y, but just hint at it then it doesn’t count (it does).
- If you’re an obscure nobody who no one follows, but who wants to say something rude sort-of privately, don’t do it under a trending hashtag. You will bring the wrath of thousands of strangers down on your hapless head.
- Some people LIKE the wrath of strangers. They’re called trolls. If you feel yourself bridling at repeated rude comments aimed at you and your cherished views then just BLOCK the offender. They disappear as if by magic.
- You are hurt. Wounded. Someone has questioned your talent or integrity. You wish to howl with online pain. Don’t. Those who enjoy your discomfiture will gather like crows around a carcase. Laugh. Put up a smiley.
- That brilliant retort you have composed, replete with pungent sexual or violent imagery, which will utterly destroy the Twitter foe who has, despite my advice, so annoyed you? Cherish it. Roll its 140 characters on your tongue. And then, for God’s sake, DELETE IT.
- Don’t tweet while drunk. You think it’s clever, and funny, you giggle and dribble at your own brilliant verbiage. But you are opening wide the gates of Hell. Morning will come, cold and clear.
- Don’t EVER meet a jolly Twitter companion, even one you’ve been ff’ing (suggesting people follow you every Friday) for months. Not without a police report. I learnt the hard way.
- Get yourself a decent avatar (picture) on Twitter. Not that default egg or the eye slicing scene from Un Chien Andalou. For everyone else’s sake.
- Lastly, the golden rule, the rule of rules. Never, ever tweet anything about anybody that you wouldn’t say to their face. There’s a REASON why you wouldn’t say it to their face. They might hit you, or sue you. So why would you want to tweet it?
Read more: “The unhealthiest falsehood spread on social networks is that users are living lives of constant glamour and hilarity,” says Libby Purves
We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.
Joan Didion via Brain Pickings
But it is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar, unwilling to explore the unfamiliar…Artistic revolt, innovation, experiment should not be met with hostility. They may disturb an established order or an artificial conventionality, but they may rescue us from death in life, from robot life, from boredom, from loss of the self, from enslavement.
Anaïs Nin via Brain Pickings
Another installment of writing advice from Helen Dunmore from Brain Pickings:
- Finish the day’s writing when you still want to continue.
- Reread, rewrite, reread, rewrite. If it still doesn’t work, throw it away. It’s a nice feeling, and you don’t want to be cluttered with the corpses of poems and stories which have everything in them except the life they need.
- Learn poems by heart.
- Don’t worry about posterity — as Larkin (no sentimentalist) observed ‘What will survive of us is love’.