I’m back. But is anyone else still there?

What a half-hour I’ve just had! Wait, allow me to start again — I’ve already gone and irritated myself: what a half an hour I’ve just had. It’s half-an-hour, not half-hour. I’m not American. I’m very much British.

There, I feel much better now.

So, as I said, I’m back. Back with this blog post. Back writing on this blog, and for the first time in 3 years, no less. And it nearly didn’t happen. Why? Because I couldn’t find my bloody freaking password now, could I. Actually, I couldn’t even remember the Username I have for this Blog. In fact, it was only down to my previous self’s total and utter obsession with writing down passwords and saving them on random, un-labelled memory sticks — fantastic habit, that is — that got me out of this hellish debacle. Feels like backwards time-travelling, in a strange sort of way. Obviously I’m better than I think. Clearly, at some point in the past I sensed that my future self would become utterly useless — something that was hardly a surprise, I suppose, given my previous failures. But still, I’m proud of my past more forward-thinking self, even if it was also a bit too negative, almost waiting for me to go and fuck up. And, who knows? Even today I might have done something incredible to future proof another mistake my future self is yet to make. I suppose I’ll find out in time like the rest of us. I just wish I had an inkling of what that mistake might be right now, as I’ve already lost half-an-hour. The way the world’s looking, I may not be able to lose another. There may only be a few hours left…

Got a bit sinister and dark there, didn’t I. It was bound to happen. I mean, Donald Trump? Anyway, enough of that.

The real question is…is anyone else there? Who knows, not me. And do I care? No, not really, not a bit. After all, it wasn’t like this blog and the writing within it ever made me any money and acquired me thousands of readers, was it? (No, no it wasn’t and it didn’t.) Not that money and having shit-loads of readers is important, but, well, you know what I mean, I’m sure.

Still, it’d be nice to know that just someone is out there. Is anyone? You don’t have to answer, don’t worry. Not that you are, or were going to, but, well…

Funny what triggered me writing this blog post and the existential despair of forgetting a long forgotten password, actually. I was just on that strange Twitter thing — also for the first time in absolutely bloody ages, but in a less stressful know-the-password situation — looking about, seeing if I had any Notifications, and then I found myself looking at a nice Tweet that someone called Tommy had sent me (age forces me to think that I must put weird new-fangled words in italics and there seems no way out. I can’t see it getting better. And now those italics have started to manifest in strange facial expression versions of physical italics whenever I’m forced to say a word like Snapchat). Well, sent the world. But primarily me, I think (I really don’t understand all the new technology, balls to it).

Anyway, this bloke, he was called @tommy66788. Tommy Lawn, as a matter of fact. And Tommy, this Tommy Lawn, he’d carefully used his limited number of characters to ask me if I once wrote a blog post about cowboy boots (something that seems to consistently occur every year or so, as it happens). Made me smile, it did. To this I replied that I did indeed write it, and, as is hard to comprehend for someone who still takes at least a day to reply to an email, Tommy wrote back almost immediately, crushing my mental capacity to fathom just how someone can be so incredibly fast and also live any kind of life. I’m not vain enough to repeat what he said here, of course, but it was nice, anyway. Tommy said that he’d bought some cowboy boots from Texas in America and that he liked the article. He also said that he wears his cowboy boots non-stop. Yes Tommy! To Tommy, I salute you. As mentioned in that post about the boots I bought, I find it and have always found it brutally difficult to turn corners while wearing my cowboy boots. Perhaps I have a special sort, I don’t know (or perhaps it’s me who’s special? Seems it’s looking likely). Or perhaps the corners round here are particularly challenging. Either way, I’ve inadvertently gone and said about 5 times more than Tommy did in his one single admirable tweet, and pretty much said almost all of what he said. Maybe it’s time for me to re-think how vain I actually am after all…

It feels pretty damn good, anyway, this writing a new blog post thing. Let me tell you.

Now I think back over the past 3 years, I’m struggling to really work out why I disappeared from this blog altogether. Were myself and my partner dealing with the miracle of bringing up quintuplets while I simultaneously ran a multi-national business? No. Have I found myself too busy to write words on a screen in rapid succession? Occasionally I have, but then again…somehow I’ve found the time to catch up with both Home & Away and Neighbours, usually one after the other on Channel 5. I suppose, then, the biggest thing that’s changed in the last 3 years is my work and the direction of it. I used to be exclusively a freelance copywriter, but nowadays I’m more involved in video and TV production.

One thing that I know has had an effect on my writing is having this massive iMac computer. See, I didn’t just wake up one day and decide I needed a 27 inch computer and a ridiculous amount of hard-drive storage. I needed all this stuff to do my video work, you see, that’s why I bought it. You might be sat there thinking How would a great big computer prevent someone from writing? And it’d be a fair question. But here’s the thing, my friends: the moment I got my big computer, something changed. Something got disconnected. Where once I’d been able to sit on the sofa and write my blog posts in leisure, blissfully ignoring all other responsibilities and delighting in musing about all kinds of inane crapola, I now had to sit bolt upright at my desk in a completely new position (my laptop had died by the time I got my new iMac). Gone was the connection I’d had with my laptop. With my laptop, there was something about the proximity of my hands on the keyboard and the small screen that seemed to create a kind of emotional pact between me and the small, uselessly underpowered machine. The new iMac was great for video and graphics work, but it was about as useful as a Ferrari if you wanted to grate some cheese when it came to writing long-form stuff (could you grate cheese on a part of a Ferrari? In hindsight I am sure you can. There’s probably a bit you can have custom adapted specifically for it. I feel ridiculous, in hind-hind-sight-sight, for even bringing it up).

What’s silly, in an even more elongated version of hind-sight, is that I’m writing this on my iMac, and it’s fine. It’s happening. I’m doing it. Clearly I am. But something is definitely missing. So I think a new laptop might be on the horizon. Actually, I think it needs to be. I’ve missed writing this blog too much for it not to be. I love creating videos and I love producing art, but writing…well…there’s just something about writing…and I need a small underpowered machine again. Who knows? Maybe I’m undergoing a kind of rapid backwards evolution of some sort. Maybe in a year or two you’ll find me with a bit of slate and a load of chalk.

3 years, eh? A lot can change in 3 years. Look at the UK! Look at the state of the world! So much has changed that I don’t know where to start. Which suits me well, as a matter of fact. Because I’ve written enough for one night, so I’m not going to bother. Yeah, that’s the spirit.

I am going to bother to write my WordPress Username and password down, however. I realise that it isn’t wise to do that, but then, what is it wise to do? Only last week we were on holiday and there was a really steep slope that wasn’t wise to drive up in a shitty hire car, in the ancient village where we were staying, and I went and did that and got stuck half way to the top, didn’t I? Yes, yes I did. And a whopping great nightmare it was, too. Ah, you have to love an ancient village. We really should have hired a horse instead.

This has been fun. It really has. I forgot how therapeutic writing is, when it’s not the most frustrating thing ever in the history of the world. My goodness writing is so frustrating but also so necessary. What a strange combination. And now I keep thinking Could I ride a horse? Probably not. Definitely not. I don’t know about you but I’m really quite scared of horses.

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Diary Of A Twitter Convert (And It’s My Blog So If I Want To Be Grammatically Incorrect And Put Everything In Capitals Then I Will, So There)

Google, when I said Salamandermutantdogthing, this salamander dog toy wasn’t quite what I was thinking…

From now on, when people ask me what I think of Twitter, I’m going to say I think it’s amazing, I mean really genuinely amazing. But it wasn’t always like this. In fact, once, I was anything but like this. As anyone who knows me personally will be well aware, I used to be one of those people with an unjustifiably strong aversion to all things Twitter-related; sitting around like some post-apocalyptic grumpy person, moaning that we don’t call each other enough (actually I do think these kind of people have a point). And it definitely wasn’t that I understood what it was all about (I didn’t). To be honest, as recently as a few months ago, I just didn’t get Twitter, and even when people tried to talk me round, I found it hard to believe that I could gain anything much from it.

Twitter, I thought, give me fish chips any day (don’t try and draw any parallels between battered fish and potato — there aren’t any, I just really love fish and chips).

I know, that’s a great attitude from an indie author who relies on word-of-mouth and social networking to sell paperbacks and ebooks (UK, US) of his debut novel (it’s called The Number 3 Mystery book. It’s more or less one big long running joke).

But there it is. Just like I mostly refuse to eat a chocolate bar upside down — it always tastes weird and wrong when you do that, getting the flavours all back-to-front, although from time to time it makes a nice change, especially with the taste sensation that is the legendary, the sumptuous Double Decker — I can be exceedingly stubborn when it comes to networking, too.

(And my fish and chips being the right size portion, too, but that’s enough about fish and chips. It’s not like I’m hopeleselly addicted or anything.)

And now I must prepare myself for the backlash, because as much as I have gained hundreds of new followers recently, I also possess a staunch army of grizzled old-school friends (and school friends) who will stop at nothing — Rambo-style — to spread evil nonsense gossip about Twitter and those who use it.

“It’s a load of crap,” one particular person whose name rhymes with slur might say. “I’ll skin a cat before I go on Twitter.”

I hope he doesn’t have my epiphany.

Another: “I’ll never follow anyone, following is for dummies.”

And another: “Chris, do you actually ever do any work? You always seem to be blogging.”

Actually that one does have a point: I am always blogging (at least right now, it may slow down soon, we’ll see). Especially recently. A lot seems to be going on in the world and what can I say? I like discussing it. Even if only with myself.

More to the point, what these narrow-minded — cue a second backlash, both on and offline — people are missing is so great that the very act of distilling it into this one blog post gives me that annoying feeling you get when you open up a tin of fish and the fish flicks everywhere all over you (will anyone ever sort out that problem?! Seriously, how come I’ve never seen anyone with an invention for that on Dragon’s Den?!).

Here, then, if you’re still reading, are my all time top-10 reasons why Twitter is amazing, splendid, wonderful (even if it makes me nauseating). And if you still want to have a go at me or send me messages pretending to be someone I don’t know with enormous breasts and an alarming fixation with Double Decker’s — you’re hilarious, Steve, really — then please, feel free.

(And if you are Steve then I really do know where you live.)

1) People who use Twitter are often bored. I am often bored and over-worked. This means that often, while I try and get away from work and take advantage of my self-employed status, I’ll look at Tweets. Because many bored people have written them, they often make me laugh.

2) People you don’t know follow you — good, kind, decent people — and send you direct messages and it makes you think I tell you what, that’s the kind of person who, if I had to, if I absolutely had to, I might (maybe) share my chocolate with. But probably not.

3) Enthusiasm: Twitterers, or whatever the hell we are, are raging-hot-missiles of enthusiasm and desire and loves and hates. I think that’s brilliant. Also, when a total stranger on the other side of the earth wishes you well, purely because they have a keyboard and eyes and you have a keyboard and eyes, snap!, there’s something really fantastic about that. This is wonderful when you have just watched Eden Lake and the world seems nothing more than a demented sphere of gone-wrong politics and hoody scum.

4) A different perspective: you may have woken up after a dream where you were wrestling a giant dog which had been cross-bred with a salamander, bright pink like a prawn and vicious as hell (a trait salamanders lack, I think, but bear with me, this is a dream), but then you sign in to Twitter and realise that other people have also had weird dreams! For example, Teddy in New York dreamed of nightmarish utopian visions where everyone looked like Sarah Jessica Parker and could fire lasers from their breasts, no!, and Lisa from London dreamed about Hawaii and how it was actually a dream — you see where this is going… — and all that sand and glorious sunshine? Sorry, it was just a very big practical joke. It makes you feel good to know that yes, other people are also weird as well. And I thought my salamanderdogthing was bizarre…

5) Twitter keeps you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the outside world. Essential when you never actually see it.

6) The world is full of lovely people, kind people, people who do care if you get hit by a bus (they just wouldn’t know it). Don’t you think it’s a shame to never interact with anyone?

7) When people re-tweet you it makes you go Ahhhhhh.

8) When people direct message you to say Thank you for following, and now I promise you eighteen steps to enlightenment and £50,000 by next week! you think: I’m so glad I’m not the only optimist out there.

9) Smiling faces make you smile.

10) When you do eventually go outside, you know more than your friends and, for some people, I tell you, that makes a nice change.

Did you enjoy this post? Well, if you did that pleases me! My disability-related comedy novel, The Number 3 Mystery Book is available in paperback here and from Amazon UK. If you live in the US, you can get it from Amazon US here. Thanks for reading and goodbye.

Want to read another post about this Twitter phenomenon? Then click here to go to Leigh’s blog!