I'd Like To, But I'm Writing

I get a lot of pressure to go to events sometimes.
I usually don’t go, in the end.
Sometimes I’m just burnt-out. I get that a lot. Being a genius is hard work. All those thinky-thinky hours, whew!
Or maybe it’s just the ADHD, the five-years-straight of working like a fucking dog, or only having one real week of vacation in those years, or the fact that I’m okay hanging out on my own. I dunno.
Maybe it’s that I’m really apprehensive of getting into a new social mix where I’m the new person and lotsa people are intrigued or want to be my friend. It’s a bit overwhelming. Being funny, too, is hard work. It’s a great party favour, so are inappropriate comments, and I’ve got both covered.
Me, I’m the same person I was five years ago. Happy to take a bike ride, or hang out alone and drink some wine, write, that kinda thing. I enjoy the quiet life. I REALLY enjoy the quiet life. I’m the “yeah, I’d like to live in a cabin in the woods, write the rest of my life, and avoid the mailing list” kind of person… but blessed with a good personality and disarming grin.
Actually, I’m kinda despising that my picture’s gonna be in a column for the online version of a paper that has 700,000 readers. My tummy’s turning.
Why? I really fucking love my privacy.
Know why I write well? I remove myself from life a little. Hang back. Watch all you people. I judge you. I pick up on your mannerisms. You don’t know it, but I’m there, people-watching.
For a bit there, I was using a “full” picture of myself on Twitter.
Then I got approached on the street. I was in a completely different mindset, thinking of something I wanted to write about, planning talking points. It freaked me out. Someone I’d never met before, exchanged maybe a dozen tweets with, but they read me.
It became about why I wasn’t following them. Well, I don’t follow most people. I’m not on Twitter to ratchet up my “friend” count. I don’t care if we have “the same friends.” I don’t give a fuck about being invited to parties and making mailing lists. I don’t want my drinks comped or my credibility propped up.
I just don’t care. It’s not ABOUT that for me.
I’m proud I’m getting featured in a column tomorrow. GOOD ON ME. Fucking right! I’ve worked hard on writing over the last five years. I WANT to be read. I WANT to have have resonance.
Sure, I’ve only JUST thrown my hat back in the sex-blogging ring, but girl’s got game. Just you wait.
But do I want my picture on it?
Yikes. Jesus. That’s new. I liked anonymity. I liked intrigue. All that’s gone. Now I won’t know if someone on that train read that column and noticed me doing X.
I  think I deserve a decent audience. I think my voice is needed on the subject of sex, just because there are people like me who think no one else is doing the talkin’ for them.
But being social?
Is that part of the job?
It’s SEX blogging. It takes ONE person other than me to do subject research, but there are workarounds for having that additional party, y’know? Why do I need a crowd, huh?
What ever happened to reclusive writers with addictions and surly dispositions?
Can’t I just be one of those but use my sense of humour powers for good on Twitter?
Do I have to gussy-up and come to your party?
I suppose there’s a balance.
I have friends. Good friends, time-and-dead-body-removal-tested friends.
And now lotsa people claim to want to be in that role. Eek. Take a number, there’s only a few spots, and everyone’s health is good!
So who do I befriend? Which of you is coolest — with “cool” being relative? Who among you has the most to offer ME as a friend — the right ideas and thoughts and plans for fun? Who among you can be goofy in my kinda way?
Friendship isn’t about who YOU want to know. It’s about what people best bounce off each other and bring out the most elements of who/what we are.
I’m seriously good with a handful of friends — people I can let down all the walls with, be myself, talk comfortably, and not apologize to for being absolutely inappropriate, which happens a lot.
Trust is a big thing for me. If you’ve read my stuff over the years, you’ll know that I think it’s probably the most important element in any relationship. It’s the be-all end-all of how I judge people.
Online, people have infinite ability to hide their true selves or be the biggest asshole in the world. Anonymity is an empowering thing.
Me? This penchant to blurt just about everything that comes to mind, and a total comfort with immortalizing all my idiocy on the web? Makes me pretty much the most honest person you’ll ever meet. I don’t dress my words up pretty for anyone, and I won’t say what you want me to say. I’m honest to a fault, and as trustworthy as the day is long. I think that speaks for the kind of person I am.
Maybe you can imagine how toughly I judge others.
I’ve had more than a few friendships start, and end, in the year that I’ve entered the Vancouver social media scene. People who collect social engagements like they’re status cards, or who have little moments where their overly-selfish self shines through, or inconsistencies in things said and behaviour — they’ve all come and gone on my watch already.
I enjoyed the attention at first, but then the variety of people befriending me increased and I didn’t know who to trust.
Pulling back? Smart. Judging folk? Brilliant.
If I’m happy with six friends, yeah, I can raise the bar pretty fucking high and see who clears the top. Especially when I know I’m that kind of friend. I’m not always “there” there, but I’m there in the right ways.
I’m good with people when I want to be.
But I’m good alone, too.
People still just don’t get it. Anti-social types aren’t all defective or socially challenged. I sure as hell am not.
You want me interested in attending? Make it a bonfire on a summer night — beers and hot dogs, flip-flops and fun people. No pretensions, no business cards.
I like people who see moments for what they are, who prefer to be on the outside of walls rather than inside ’em, who see the big picture and have big hearts, who laugh often, and who generally give/don’t give a fuck about all the things I care about, too.
Pretty simple. I’d rather dress down than up, laugh than schmooze, be under bright stars than bright lights, and hear the roar of waves rather than the crowd. I’m also better in living rooms than lobbies.
Keep your canapés and coat-checks. Those are special, rare events for me,  not a life fit for regular consumption.
Sociable? Sure. I got moments.
But you’re not HERE to be my friend. You’re not reading me on Twitter to be my friend.
You’re here for content.
If we both remember that, it’s for the better.

8 thoughts on “I'd Like To, But I'm Writing

  1. John Davies

    I hear ya… loud and clear. And I’m on page. You gotta do what works for you. I say it all the time and am trying hard to live it. “How ’bout you do you and I’ll do me.”
    One of the things that really gets in the way of meaningful interaction on social media imo is the baggage that is brought to the venue. By that I mean… lots of people make presumptions about other peoples reasons for engagement based upon their own reasons. I have to remind myself that everyone is up on here (Twitt-‘book’ of Face-‘er’ or what ever) for their OWN reasons.
    So do you have to ‘do’ social? It entirely depends upon your strategy (if any) and your endgame. If you are happy with what your personal style is bringing you then why change. If you are not… it’s time to re think. But, and again I say this all the time, the great thing is that there are no set rules on what works and what don’t. YOU get to inject your personality into your presence in whatever concentration or dosage you see fit. Wanna hold back a bit? Entitled. Wanna throw it all on the wall and see what sticks? Entitled. Focus on A rather than B… It’s all good. But remember that it is not a one size fits all world and as different as your intentions are from mine…my reception of your style will be as well. Best rule of thumbs? Comes back to—-> “BE YOU”. I sincerely believe that you are your own best selling feature. Only you can do you effectively. Mess with that formula and we got another ‘new coke’ fiasco. … And NOBODY wants that.

    1. Zoeyjane

      Excellently said. I could attempt to leave my own, original comment, but John, you’ve said everything in my brain (and more).
      .-= Zoeyjane´s last blog ..Redux =-.

      1. A Scribe Called Steff Post author

        Yup. I agree. Trouble is, I don’t think everyone gets that. Which is my problem.
        I once had a fight on Twitter because a dick kept pressuring me to come to a party after a week of waking at 5am for work. People don’t get it. They need to think beyond themselves.

  2. harrietglynn

    It can be quite overwhelming — the social media “scene.” At the same time, I found everyone at Northern Voice to be warm, welcoming and friendly. I went so I could actually meet people I’d been exchanging tweets/comments with for months in one place, a place we were all at to learn and expand and grow. I kept missing meetups and events and finally realized this was likely my only chance. I’m glad I went. Glad I saw your talk.
    .-= harrietglynn´s last blog ..“Family Matters: Blogging the Parenting Experience” =-.

    1. John Davies

      I Agree. I did not go to NV because I viewed the event as an ‘industry function’ and my use of social media is, for now, recreational. I would, however, have loved to meet some people in RL. (Present company included) But, were I a ‘pro’ user I could definitely see the value in creating and maintaining face to face relations. It is the norm in many fields to have industry functions. I’ll use the expression here again but I believe that it is not a one size fits all world and industry ties run far beyond the ‘know thy enemy’ agenda some people have going in. Finding personalities (and services / products or what ever) that compliment your own can really broaden your own scope.
      But pointing back to my original comments that not everyone is up on SM for the same reasons I also believe that to each their own. If you are comfortable observing from the sidelines…we have some real comfy seats over here. Sure I’ll admit to a bit of armchair quarterbacking. It’s easy to provide commentary when I don’t *really* have a stake. So take this discussion thread for what you will.

    2. A Scribe Called Steff Post author

      I’m glad you did too, Harriet. I’m looking forward to hanging with you.
      I’m glad I went. I wasn’t in a social headspace — I really go into myself when I have to deliver something like writing or speaking — so it wasn’t the best meeting opportunity for me, but I still met great people. Like… you!
      JD — I get what you’re saying & agree.

  3. TJ

    Bravo – great post. You’ve validated for me that it’s OK to want privacy while at the same time writing very personally on the web. You’ve also hit the nail on the head with the bonfire-on-the-beach style of socializing. I wish someone would invite me to a wiener roast!
    I attended your talks at Northern Voice and was spurred to start my blog. Thanks for your candor and inspiration, I look forward to reading your renewed blog posts and to writing more of my own.
    My friends tell me I have so many great stories to tell, I should write them down. My stories are very personal (and explicit!) which is my reason for discretion. I decided to write with a view to my eventual “outing,” so I am careful to protect the privacy of my partners first and foremost.
    I’m looking forward to reading your “back issues” to see how you’ve handled that in the past.
    Thanks again – TJ
    .-= TJ´s last blog ..{excerpt} =-.

    1. A Scribe Called Steff Post author

      Thanks, TJ.
      I think your own priorities are what’s important. I’m thrilled I inspired you! Yes, protect people, but go for it and write things down. Really dig into the meat of it.
      My trick is that I find you can remove details and alter things slightly, and it’s incredibly anonymous.
      Best of luck to you. 🙂

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