Friends, Romans, Countryman

Ya’ll make a pretty good habit of lending me your ear, and I thank you.

My last post seemed to strike a chord. No sooner did I get back from looking at that house I told you about,[1] then WordPress sent me a message that I had broken some sort of likability record. I’m always surprised when this stuff happens. And WordPress is so condescendingly validating about the whole thing: “Dang, girl – 306 people read that post. Good job!” or “Look at you, posting your 108th post. Next goal 110!” As if that wasn’t coming up on, like, Saturday.

But instant gratification. Ahhhh, it’s like the ice-cream truck for a nine-year-old. And even The Bad Witch is lured by the calliope sound and frozen delight of Good Humor. But we cannot live by chocolate eclairs alone. We have to find satisfaction in ourselves. (OK, it’s a crappy metaphor with a cliché punchline. The ice-cream man, who – oddly – happens to be in my daughter’s Calculus class, is outside and the kids took my wallet.) What I’m trying to say is that we have to validate ourselves. The random compliments of a computer algorithm are about as sustaining as an Atomic Pop. Nice and sweet — for a moment.

I am flattered by WordPress’ niceties and I am often more-than-floored by your compliments. I really enjoy the back-and-forth when we agree on a point and I like it even more when we disagree. [2]

On a typical day, several hundred of you read my periodic rants, but I doubt you all read every word of every post. I know you don’t hang on them. (God, I hope you don’t.) I know this because I know my readership – ya’ll are ballsy and strong. I have read many of most of your blogs. There are no wilting, needy flowers among TBW Files’ readership. Thank the lords.

My stats page tells me that The Files have been shared over a thousand times.[3] Tons of folks have come to find me on my “person” FB page and I understand that I will soon reach my limit to those I can “accept.” (A term that gets under my skin.) Only a small fraction of you “Like” The Bad Witch on Facebook (and she likes you back, btw), but that’s OK. The number of you regularly interact with me there make me happy – I love it! A few hundred of you tweet and retweet along with me, to me, back at me. And if you haven’t joined the ranks, I invite you to come on over. I do actually interact with people online; and I’ve made a decent friend or three like that. Social networking is great fun.

But it’s just that – social networking.

Like an Atomic Pop. The Bad Witch, unlike so many who misinterpret social networking sites for “their whole lives,” knows that thousands of “friends” and “likers” does not mean that thousands of folks are ever gonna show up at my door looking for bread and circuses. More than that, I don’t think it translates to a single disciple. Again, thank the lords.

Because I have heard/read the idle chatter/blogging of a would-be self-proclaimed-messiah, I guess I need to make a thing or three clear. I don’t like the word “follow” associated with Twitter or the blogosphere. I do not expect my readership to stand on their desks, having deleted Pritchett’s essay from their hard-drives, saluting, “O, Captain! My Captain.”[4] Because that would be dumb. And you are not dumb.

When I first joined Twitter (when it was brand-spanking-new) under my street name, I got a kick out of the term “Follow” as it had that stalkery flavor I immediately associated with Twitter. Now, I find the word “Follow” – what’s the word I’m after? – gross. Gross will do. It kinda implicates me as a leader of some sort. You are my comrades, my path-mates, my audience, and my sounding board.[5] And if you are fool enough to actually follow my lead, Lords have mercy . . . . My whole point of being here is to warn you of the potholes – the ones *I* fell in.

On Facebook, we are “Friends.” In G+ we belong to the same “Circle.” Why must WordPress use “follow”? I mean, it’s not like you would all rend your clothes and tear out your hair if TBW Files were to disappear. I think you could manage to live your lives and keep on making choices (spiritual, mundane, political, all of it) without my input. I’m just here to nip at your ankles like a yappy-dog – maybe prompting you to mind your step. But only maybe.

Mostly I’m here for me.

I’m just glad that I’ve found this space for me that doesn’t diminish you. In fact, some of you professed to have been lent a hand or two by TBW. This makes me say, “Hot dawg. I finally did sompin right.”

My purpose for blogging is that I have all of these thoughts that don’t solidify until I tell someone. You have become that someone (so, if anybody needs anybody in this situation . . .). Often I get what I think are my thoughts out on this little WYSIWYG box and – oops – it takes one or three or five of you to force me to articulate myself a little better. That’s when it gets awesome.

I see a lot of Facebook statuses (and fortunately no Tweets) that are little more than starving egos looking for a boost, some at the cost of cannibalizing others. And these folks are supposed to be “Friends.” Ouch. I know you know what I mean. I have also read a few blogs that have left me feeling like a bartender or hairdresser must feel at the end of every-other Thursday.[6] But I try to be a good community member and read them nonetheless. I figure, I have off days – weeks even; I give everybody a few shots before I surrender.

I don’t write this blog to validate my ego. If I did, I suppose I would delete the more contrary of your commentary rather than engaging openly with opposing viewpoints.[7] I don’t need yes-men. I’m not always right – who’d want to pretend such an unlikely thing? (Oh, wait. Egos.) My whole point of writing is not to prescribe – but to seek. Which is why I like it when you engage!

Like Whitman, I am launching forth filament, filament, filament out of myself till my gossamer thread catch somewhere.

In the end, it is in realizing that I have this filament within me – it is in knowing that I may cast forth a thread – that I find my validation.[8] Thank you for being there to catch – “O, my soul.” [9]




[1] The house/farm is awesome. I will not fall in love with this place, I will not fall in love with this place, I will not – –

[2] I have to admit, I kinda hate it when y’all disagree with shite I didn’t say. Makes me think I’m writing in Taglog.

[3] My question is, WhoTF are y’all sending this to? I mean, thanks, but y’all are wickedly weird! I can just imagine somebody saying, “I just have to show this crazy post about vaginas and Witchcraft to my Meemaw!”)

[4] Whitman, Walt. “O Captain! My Captain!” 1865. As referenced in: Dead Poet’s Society. Dir.Peter Weir. Perfs. Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard. 1989.  Touchstone Pictures, Silver Screen Partners IV.

[5] Do not be my disciples (as if you would). Do not be my “followers” (as if you would). I beg of you, do not be so dim-witted that you would believe every word I spewed forth simply because your find me amusing or charismatic or whatever it is y’all see in me. I see it this way, if you were dolts, I wouldn’t wanna talk to you no more.

[6] This is why, you may have noticed, I am not actively participating in blog projects anymore. It was a good run, eh? 

[7] I do wonder when you MSSG me on Facebook or send me private email why you don’t post here – is it because you’re afraid I’ll delete you? Nay, I only delete spam. I ain’t skeered.

[8]  Whitman, Walt. “A Noiseless Patient Spider.” Leaves of Grass. 1867. 

[9] Ibid.

Especially after the hellfecked week I went through and you remained interested and supportive. ❤