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Archive for January, 2011

I’m not exactly a pro at this social networking stuff, but I do it. A little. And feel somewhat obligated to, sometimes.

Attend any writer’s conference and you’ll hear at least once in every session, something about: Blogging, Tweeting, Facebook, Technorati, and the ever popular, Platform. Because apparently, if you’re not social networking, you don’t exist.

Well, I’ve been blogging and tweeting for a while now, but as I said, I’m no expert. In fact it wasn’t until last week that I learned the purpose/meaning of the hashtag (#). There are days when I want to abandon all of it and hide in my room, reading and writing. When the thought of interacting with anyone on any level is just too much.

For one reason, every interaction harbors the potential for rejection. Those of you who are writers (and who isn’t these days) understand the dynamics of that. Except for James Franco of course, who’s been granted immunity against all rejection. But for the rest of us, well, it’s no fun and it does nothing to improve our writing or our social skills.

Now, I enjoy writing this blog, but that’s because I do it for me. I write it because I’m a writer, it provides me with some structure, and it’s a place to organize my thoughts and to ponder the bigger questions. If someone happens across it and finds it interesting, great. If no one does, great. I am delighted if my words touch someone, if they have an impact, or if they simply make someone feel that they are not alone in their struggles. And I am thrilled when someone takes the time out of their day to comment and share their thoughts with me. It’s a wonderful bonus.

But Twitter is different. For one thing, unlike the blog, people (followers) will SEE my tweets, even if they don’t read them. And because of that, I feel pressured to say something of value. My comments have to be witty or smart, insightful or thought-provoking, useful or profound. And at times, I feel the need to make them all of the above, which you have to admit is pretty hard to do in a 140 characters or less.

And then there are the statistics. I rarely pay any attention to my blog stats, but my Twitters status glares at me from the upper right hand corner every time I open the site. Twitter feels compelled to provide me with frequent updates as to my popularity.

Your Tweets 122

Following 139 Followers 61

Whether or not someone “follows” me is irrelevant. It’s nothing I have any control over. And yet it’s hard not to equate that in some way with my self-worth. Which I have to admit, is really quite bizarre. I don’t ask people to follow me. And I don’t follow people hoping that they will follow me in return.

I think I would enjoy the experience a whole lot more if I had no idea whether anyone was following me or not. Today I thought I lost 4 followers. Given my meager numbers, that’s a 6.7% loss in one day. I know it shouldn’t matter. And in reality, it doesn’t. But does anyone really need to know with that much accuracy, and that frequently, how “popular” they are?

The sad part of this story is, I hadn’t opened my Twitter account on that computer in a few days, so the numbers hadn’t been updated. Truth of the matter is, I didn’t loose 4 followers, I GAINED one. And suddenly I’m Sally Field, “You like me, you really like me.

Be well, Marco

(That’s (@MarcoDante) in case you’re interested!)

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Poems

Even though the house is deeply silent

and the room, with no moon,

is perfectly dark,

even though the body is a sack of exhaustion

inert on the bed,

someone inside me will not

get off his tricycle,

will not stop tracing the same tight circle

on the same green threadbare carpet.

It makes no difference whether I lie

staring at the ceiling

or pace the living-room floor,

he keeps on making his furious rounds,

little pedaler in his frenzy,

my own worst enemy, my oldest friend.

An excerpt from: “Insomnia” By Billy Collins

 

After many sleepless nights, I am finally rested and ready to tiptoe back into the blogosphere.

“Been away so long I hardly knew the place…Gee it’s good to be back home….”

One of the reasons I haven’t been posting is inertia. Once you stop anything it can be difficult to start up again. Conversely, once you start something it can be hard to stop….

Plus, I grew weary of talking about, thinking about, writing about, reading about…Drugs, Moods, Cycles…….

I felt stuck. The best part of writing for me was connecting with people, of knowing that, just by the virtue of sharing my experience, others felt validated, and in turn, validated me.

So, I’m still drug free. Still have my ups and downs, my good days and my bad. I will confess to having moments when I want to reach for the phone and call Dr. X to request (demand, plead…) a prescription for something, anything that might eliminate the ups and downs. But then I watch television for a few minutes and I am reminded, by the inundation of pharmaceutical company commercials, that more often than not, the side effects are worse than the disease.

One thing that just occurred to me, literally as I was writing this (another reason to keep at it) is that, subconsciously, knowing that I had sworn off drugs forever, I began to accept how I am. What I mean by that is, knowing that there would never be some “quick-fix,” or any fix for that matter, I got better at managing my moods myself. You see, I think if you hold out hope for some “cure,” you never become adept at living with, or managing whatever it is that you have. If you fall off a boat in the middle of a body of water and no one else is around to save you; you’d better learn to swim. You may not like it, you may swallow a lot of water, but if you survive, you know that you did it yourself. And you realize that no matter what happens, no matter how difficult things are, you can get through it. And you’ll be stronger and more resilient because of it.

So, what does this all mean? For one thing, it speaks to the dichotomy of life, the yin & the yang, the Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde of it all. The bipolarness of life in general, for everyone. I hope that you will join me on this new, expanded journey, this new format of looking at LIFE as bipolar, not just the disease. That you will offer up your questions, suggestions, your experiences, (your rants if that’s what’s going on for you at the moment), and occasionally a shoulder to cry on. And I promise to do the same for you.

Be well, Marco

 

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