The whole world is Twitter mad once again, and even though I hold the platform at arm’s length, it is hard not to be obsessively scrolling over the tweets bouncing back and forth like discordant sound. Even if you try not to get embroiled, headlines and soundbites echo the 280 characters driving a wedge between us all. Thanks to these Twitter tantrums, hate talk replaces straight talk with the ease of a click. Perhaps that was not always the intent of social media.
“At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with “Twitter uprising” or “Facebook revolution”, as global media tried to make sense of what was going on.
But despite western media’s love affair with the idea, the uprisings didn’t happen because of social media. Instead, the platforms provided opportunities for organization and protest that traditional methods couldn’t.
In the words of one protester, Fawaz Rashed: “We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world.”” (Maeves Shearlaw).
But over the past two years we have witnessed the lack of ‘coordinating’ in these minute messages, in fact, dialogue across spectrums has sunk to the worst form of discourse thanks to a lack of social norms in social media posts. Or just some new allowance that we can’t back away from perhaps.
Today I had a colleague call me out for an error, which was fine, but they then threw me under the bus by highlighting the mistake to my boss. Yeah, whatevs, thankfully I have no real concerns there. I mean, I know my value and all that, but who needs more crap, right? So much bad news streaming through our stream. Always more fear. More despair. More bad shit for us all to endure. We search for that one light flickering in the shadows, desperate for one bright second in the dark. What to do? Head to the pool to shake it off the best way I know. Diving into the green and stroke after stroke letting all that cool water slide over my stream till I’m smoothed over again.
Not sure why specifically but I guess it’s the whole stinking pot of shit news that’s got me remembering icons. The great ones, who touch down for short snippets of time to do good for the planet. You know the type, those who cure, not infect. Not as almighty as the Christ or as grandiose as an übermensch, but ordinary folks who strive and march and work tirelessly for the betterment of other ordinary folks. I don’t know if those people just don’t make the headlines anymore or can’t yell over the frenzied hype, but I am desperate for their comfort, their strength and their vision. Desperate for those who can lead us out of the status quo state of collusion, corruption and chaos.
One of Vermont’s biggest strengths, in my view, is that it’s a place of tradition and a place of change: from legendary apple pies to snappy hard cider. A place with morals that allow for an expanse on the definition: Christian ministers perform same-sex marriage here. A state with an elected Republican Governor, Democratic Senators and Independents sprinkled throughout. People vote for people here, not party. People listen to debates or town hall meetings or their neighbors to get a full picture of the candidates. Political advertisements are a rarity, because Vermonters aren’t dazzled by sound bites. Maybe you feel the same about your community?
What makes creativity happen for you? That thing that gets you to a place where beyond fades in opaque light, just light, that when brush hits canvas or clay first forms or beads reorder in a new order or beats just tap themselves out or the pencil flies across the page, and beyond this spark of creation lays nothing you care for, like the crumpled sheets pushed aside in the night so you now lay exposed under the hot light of imagination. Consumed. You write. You don’t give a hoot about where you’ll end up on the continuum you just have to keep on moving toward that something. You make space for it, like every Thursday night you sit while the stream streams, and all that other stuff fades, the very stuff that might have made you cry or driven you crazy or made you cold just melts like July does on your back deck. And if you don’t write or paint or drum or dance or let yourself enter that space, then, well then something awful happens and you collapse, maybe you just shout or find yourself watching the evening commentary show that has replaced actual news, and you then, without much provocation, are on Twitter, scrolling through hundreds of characters issued by people who can’t talk to each other only at each other. You start to obsess.
Outside my window is nothing but fall perfection. The sugar maples are electric shades of red and orange; fire flames igniting hillsides with their brilliant hues while yellow pops all over the landscape too. Evergreens stand taller now, holding their forest color and reminding us that life goes on even while chlorophyll breaks down those leaves fading on the deciduous trees. Poetry alone captures this season of change. This moving on: an end and a beginning all in the same breath.
And yet, regardless of my present beatific state, it would be unthinkable to not mention all the suffering happening around our globe. Puerto Ricians are minimally months away from finding electricity or clean water back into so many dwellings swept to the ground by Hurricane Maria. California is inundated by the most devastating fires of all time; more than 50,000 acres are burning in Napa and Sonoma counties alone (The Washington Post). One need not look further than Texas or Florida to find unrivaled destruction this hurricane season. All man’s work. All due to our cavalier approach to having our way upon this gentle earth; us, we are the cause of so many of these epic disasters.