They tell me that after 12 years of blogging I should have a bigger reach and more engagement.
I don’t have as many Twitter followers as they think I should and that is because I am part of Triberr.
“Jack, you know that real engagement is the key to success and you obviously don’t have it if you are part of…that.”
The criticism continues to roll in and I hear about my writing should be more focused and that it is a problem because it is not.
“Your readers don’t know what to make of you. You cover too many topics and sometimes not as well as you could or should. Tighten up.”
When the pause comes and they ask me to reply I say three words: Facebook Unlikes You.
Facebook Unlikes You
Hell, the truth is Facebook doesn’t just unlike you, it unlikes me too and it will continue to unlike me until it sees me pay for access to eyeballs.
Sometimes I think about doing it…paying for access to eyeballs.
Because if only more people read my words they’d tell me how impressed they are and say I am the greatest writer throughout all the land or at least 17 states.
Sometimes I think about doing it because if I jump off of the social media hamster wheel and let go of all of the shirttails I have been hanging onto what will I have.
Very few readers and fewer invitations to the finer blog functions out there. If I let go they won’t ask me to speak at the conferences or send me cool stuff to review.
That is the problem with being unliked by Facebook and not part of the bigger and better blogger cliques.
Or is it.
I don’t teach my children to chase love or attention by being someone they aren’t. I don’t push them to wear designer clothes to be like the cool Sneetches that have stars on their bellies.
Am I like this because Facebook unlikes me or because it suits me to be the lone wolf?
Maybe yes or maybe no.
If Stephen and I were to grab that cup of coffee he owes me I’d tell him there have been times where writing was absolutely about getting laid.
Because I was a 23-year-old writer and the words I put on the page sometimes helped me meet women.
Sometimes those words on the page broke the ice in a way that I couldn’t always do in person. I could be far more open and vulnerable there than if you saw me at a party or in a bar.
Though, it wasn’t always like that.
Twenty-some odd years later it is different because now the focus is writing to get happy but not because I am unhappy but because these words on the page provide clarity and understanding.
They shape ideas and create pathways that are of paramount importance to me. I have used them to shave and pare away the fluff and the extra.
I know exactly who I am and what I want.
Sometimes the path is hard to see and I am not entirely sure of where I am going, but I can alway sense the presence of my North Star.
I can always feel her and I know which way to turn and head, doing so even when it feels strange or I am uncertain.
It doesn’t matter whether Facebook unlikes me because I hear music.
A Rocky Roadmap
Three years ago I wasn’t here.
I was 1,497 miles away in a place that was a contradiction, life in a state where I knew I belonged but had no idea how it was I did.
Three years ago today or close to it I found the apartment that would become my home and prepared to move out of the hotel I lived in.
Blink once and you’ll understand how fast the time between now and then passed or did it.
Because sometimes I think it would be better and more suitable to ask you to pull a bus with your teeth.
It wouldn’t have to be far, just 100 yards…with your teeth.
However long it takes you to move it would be the equivalent of how fast or how long the time between now and then went.
The roadmap between then and now has been…rocky.
Though I haven’t always know how to get where I am going I have always known where it is I want to be.
For a while I thought I had figured it out and was following the map I had prepared but then something happened and it didn’t work as I hoped or expected.
Maybe it is because I spilled something upon it and I mistook an inkblot for a mountain range and tried to drive around or through it.
Or maybe when I mopped it up I accidentally inserted an empty desert where the city was supposed to be, I am not really sure.
The Hardest Part Of Parenting
The boy who used to see me as Superman and would imitate whatever I did has discovered none of us are infallible and or invulnerable.
I watched him try to figure it out, silently stood by and waited to see how he would proceed and did my best not to insert myself.
When it got complicated I didn’t say anything, I just strapped on my armor, hopped onto my horse and rode into the thick of it.
Did my best to show him what happens when dad says “fuck you to fear” and go roams wild through the battlefield.
Once upon a time he would have followed me, would have stood next to my side or just behind my hip and together we would take on whatever and whomever came at us.
But that didn’t happen here, so I watched and waited some more and then decided I had to clear a path and light a torch he could see.
It is too soon to say how it will all shake loose but I feel far more optimistic about it. Today I saw him walk through the clearing and I saw a smile.
Who cares if Facebook likes or unlikes me.
I write for clarity. I write to get happy and I write because I fucking love to write.