In light of the more serious challenges to free speech Twitter faces, and their inaction in rising to them effectively, bumping up the character limit from 140 to 280 seems largely irrelevant. What will we say in 280 characters that we haven’t been able to say in 140?
Masks are everywhere these days… and not just because Halloween is just around the corner. Sometimes we don’t even realize the masks that we’ve been wearing — the patterns and themes and synchronicities that have been lurking behind the mask of random chance in our lives — until someone else points them out to us. That’s sort of what happened to me when, by sheer coincidence (or was it?), a curiously thematic bunch of my poems all were accepted for publication during the month of October.
Petrarch had his Laura,
a phoenix feather for his pen.
Danté’s blessed Beatrice
sent him to hell and back again.
Rilke’s heart-sick panther.
Burns’ wee tim’rous beastie.
None tremble with the thrill I feel
whenever you retweet me.
Cynicism is just the mask that hope wears when it ventures out at night.
I have a few principles that I try to embody in my work as a writer, and I take them very seriously. One of them is, as Gandhi said, to “be the change that I wish to see in the world.” One change I wish to see in the world is an internet culture in which we rejoice in sharing the things we truly value most, the things that bring us the greatest joy and laughter, that stop us in our tracks with their beauty or poignant vulnerability or deep-rooted truth. I wish more people put as much energy into telling the world what they love and why, as they do complaining about what they dislike.
So I try not to complain. When I am drowning in grief or writhing from injustice, I try to own up to it as best I can and turn it into something beautiful, something that has meaning. Or at least something funny.
But sometimes it’s hard. Really, really hard.
That’s how sick we all are of this bullshit nonsense. You’re sick of it, too, I know. You’re sick of the internet outrage machine.