summer fade.

Crap. It's the end of July, you guys. I'll be back to the grind again very soon. Crap.

This was a good summer. I cried a little, laughed a lot, danced and sang and swam, read a lot, wrote quite a bit, cleaned up randomly placed groups of toys in odd locations I like to call Lifestyle Art by M. I drank wine on my back porch while (wo)manning the grill, scooped out tiny tree frogs from that grill and certain death. I got 30 mosquito bites all over me that will leave scars, I just know it. I had a run in with a hot hair brush that will certainly scar right up. I have some heart scars that are less visible, too. I probably caused some as well. Which I am sad about.

But If I had to pick one favorite memory from the whole thing, I'd pick the Friday back in June I got to see my sweet girl kick Fear's ass to the curb and put her head underwater for the first time ever. And then do it again and again, and basically become obsessed with swimming underwater. My favorite part of the whole summer was getting to hang out and watch my land-locked Ariel transform herself back into a mermaid. With a spangly tail and a healthy fear of the deep end in case sharks are lurking at the bottom (which is just smart--because helloooo: SHARKNADO).

All in all, I'd say this summer had its hills and valleys, good times and sad. It had its laughs and sighs and road mishaps and memories. I'm sure this school year will be similar--Life's kind of just like that: yin complements yang. Live and learn. Growth from the bad and good. Letting go when necessary, making sad and hard decisions when faced with truth. But also some really ridiculous real moments of love and dear friends.

So I made a slideshow of some of my favorites from these moments of memories. I did try to upload better music--I mean, I had all kinds of cool songs ready to go for this (so! hard! to decide!): Leonard Cohen (whose mournful and gravelly voice I feel to my heart's depths), Damien Rice (who I'd throw everything away for and travel the world with...if he'd just ask), some haunting theme songs from favorite movies I'm dying to share with anyone and everyone...and finally, after hours of searching and indecision, I settled on Demi Lovato's version of Let It Go from FROZEN, since that was pretty much the theme for Summer 2014 at my house.

....only to find out kizoa.com makes you pay if you want to use your own music in your slideshows. And dammit, I'm tapped out, Internet. I can't even tell you how much I dropped on school supplies last week. Plus, now that I have a school age child? Holy pencils, it's just expensive.

So here's the poor person's version of a summer movie that should have, could have, had a far more sweeping musical score:  Summer Fade.

If I had to pick a theme song for this summer (that was NOT from FROZEN), I would pick THIS SONG:

Because I love this movie, Al Pacino, dancing, Leonard Cohen, and songs in minor keys. But not the end of summer. I do NOT love the end of summer. Thus: a song in minor key. But with happy dancing. (Yin, yang. Remember?)


book porn.

Interviewing one's self seems weird. Because I'm weird, I'm going to do it. Plus, at this very moment I'm supposed to be organizing my classroom library. Mentally and emotionally, I'm having a hard time dragging myself into my classroom, much less its huge mess of a little library. So instead, I'm going to rip off an Entertainment Weekly interview I read recently with my favorite writer and all-around awesome human being Elizabeth Gilbert. I'm going to pretend I work for Entertainment Weekly, and that Entertainment Weekly is actually interested in my responses. Then I'm going to respond to my own Entertainment Weekly queries. Which is totally not weird at all (in the world of blogging.)


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. As a child, I was obsessed (obsessed!) with both book and movie version. I would spend hours reading the books in the series (the first being my most beloved of all), hours re-enacting the movie in my room, and just generally loved (still do, quite frankly) the entire idea of a land that exists somewhere over the rainbow, where animals talk and there are good and bad witches and sparkly red shoes will take you any place if you just click them three times and wish very hard. If only real life worked like this.

In a related note, I was also a huge fan of all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. And the tv show. And often pretended to be a pioneer girl on the prairie. In a little house.


The Great Gatsby. Because it was like a soap opera, only classic literature. School opened up literature for me--I feel well-read today because of it. I'd be introduced to a great book (like The Great Gatsby), which would open up my curiosity for more, which would prompt me to go find other books by the same author or genre. I spent a good deal of time my 10th grade year reading a lot of early 20th century literature because of you, F. Scott Fitzgerald. I also learned to worship Dorothy Parker. So there you go.


As a teenager, I used to often sneak/slink off with a book my mom had. I've google searched for it, but I can't remember/find the title. Anyway, it was written in the 1960s by a mysterious woman calling herself "J." It was about sex techniques and ways to practice them without having sex. To this day, I cannot eat soft serve ice cream cones without feeling like I'm committing and/or practicing the act of fellatio in public. Thanks, "J." 


Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. They're my bibles. My go-to, what-the-hell-should-I-do-now??, go-to bibles. Prescriptions for life, I'd call these books.


The summer before my senior year in high school, we were given a reading list and, for each book, had to come up to school to take (and pass, with at least 8 out of 10 questions correct) a brief quiz--just on plot points, to prove you read the book.

The books I remember from the list were: Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (loved it), Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (loved), J.B. by Archibald MacLeish (I read this play 20 times, in an effort to figure out what the hell it was about, yet passed the quiz with an 8 out of 10 nonetheless), and King Lear

That's right--King frickin' Lear. By yourself. As a 17 year old ridiculous person who just wanted to hang out with friends and swim for two months. The theory was: we were going to read Hamlet that school year, and somehow the weird play J.B. and King Lear connected to Hamlet and somehow reading these first would help us when we read Hamlet. Did they? No. Do 17 year olds care about connections? To be or not to be. Nobody cares in July when they're 17. Even Hamlet knew that.

So I saved King Lear for last, knowing he'd be a doozy. I, Scout's honor, read all the other books and got a good, solid, honest 8 out of 10 correct on each of their quizzes. Not bad for a 17 year old who just wants to sleep in late and work on her tan.

Then I began King Lear. By page 5 I was in tears--no way could I read this play and every three seconds have to look down at the footnotes to figure out what was being said. Just. Speak. English, Shakespeare. I'm a 17 year old American girl who seriously doesn't care about your stupid horse.

So I went and got the Cliff Notes (which I believe are now called Spark Notes?). I read the Spark/Cliff Notes to King Lear. I took the 10 question plot quiz about King Lear. ....And got a 10 out of 10 on that quiz. Ten out of ten. Via Cliff Notes. I spent weeks really concentrating on the other books and couldn't even get 9 out of 10 right. I spent 3 hours on King Lear's Cliff Notes and got a perfect score.

There's a life lesson in that somewhere, but I feel it involves cheating and so I don't want to celebrate it too much. But here's a lesson from your Aunt Amy, kids: if they ever make you read Shakespeare alone, using the Spark Notes version is perfectly acceptable. Nobody gets hurt. And you'll get a perfect score on the quiz, with time to spare for the pool.


The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Good god, it's so horribly written. I think about all the wonderful books out there, all the books that could have and should have been made into movies by Ron Howard starring Tom Hanks that year, and I just want to weep that they picked this one. Please know: I love the concept behind it--I read it when it was first published because I was so fascinated by the ideas and the intrigue behind the story. I think Dan Brown did a really amazing job at some careful, extensive research.

But by page 40 of the book, I realized: oh god, this goes on for 556 more pages. Dear Dan Brown: they have things called thesauruses. And editors. These two tools are GOOD things for writers. And character development is always a good idea. And in real life nobody talks like these characters, Dan. And why are you re-telling the whole story at the end? Just end it, dammit. Wrap it up. Sincerely, all the other writers. 

Actually, to be fair to Dan Brown, I think he'd make an excellent screenplay writer. As I was reading the book, I kept thinking: they're going to make this into a movie. And then they did. And I thought the movie worked a lot better than the book. Dan, look into that! I bet Ron Howard will help you.


Anything by Barbara Kingsolver, Jhumpa Lahiri, Elizabeth Gilbert, all of Mary Oliver's poems, and all of Anne Lamott's essays on life. 

I also wish I'd written Cutting for Stone by Abraham Vergese--what a sweepingly told story. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger--mind-blowing, heart-wrenching, and magical all at once. All of the books in Deb Harkness's A Discovery of Witches series--like Harry Potter and Twilight, but for grown up women. And she's a professor of history, so the scholarly research behind the stories is superb. 

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle, and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison--all of these books are stories containing huge, deep life truths buried in gorgeously constructed, simple yet stunningly powerful sentences that speak to all humans, and will for ages. 


I love the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. At first, you think: oh, this sounds so trashy. But then you start reading and realize: no! This is a story. A beautiful story full of tremendous alchemy. Set in Scotland, with a lot of men running around talking English with Scottish accents. And a lot of sex. Win win win! 


Time travel romance. Specifically time travel romances set in the Revolutionary War era. I read a book called Out of Time by Deborah Truscott once, and it ignited my imagination. It's the book that led me to the Diana Gabaldon series. And made me wish I didn't love hot/cold running water so much, and indoor plumbing. And vaccines. And being a feminist. Because otherwise, I could so get into being a British soldier's wench in 1776. 


Bossypants by Tina Fey. I laughed so hard I cried. So I'm going to use that as my answer for both.

Oh, so many! Sometimes, movie makers get it SO wrong. But sometimes, Hollywood really gets it right and when that happens, I think it underscores why people tell stories in all different formats. I think you have to start with a good script--if they can write the novel in script format and it's good, there's your foundation. Add a thoughtful director, some gorgeous cinematography, talented actors, a careful editor, producers who aren't total douchebags, backdrop it all with a mystical musical score that echoes through the soul, and ta da! Storytelling Magic. 

Some of the movies I think got it right:

The Wizard of Oz (it takes a lot of license with the book...but it sparked the sense of wonder and magic in children of all ages in 1939 and continues to mystify and delight people 75 years later, and so I think it's safe to say: this worked. Proof: I show it as contrast/compare to the book to 2nd graders each year, and they are always delighted--they've already seen it, are already in love with it, and can watch it over and over again)

Peter Pan (2003) (oh my god, what a beautiful movie--how this movie didn't blow up the box office and turn into a classic, I have no idea. Like The Wizard of Oz, they take some license, but it's just breathtakingly beautiful, and so it worked as well. Proof: I also show this as contrast/compare for the book each year, and they are just awed.)

Interview with a Vampire (it really just re-told the whole story in visual format, and did so in a hauntingly beautiful kind of way. Plus also: Brad Pitt. )

All the Harry Potter movies (I haven't technically seen all the Harry Potter movies, but I've seen bits and pieces of them and they are gorgeous things to behold.)

Dr. Zhivago (it makes me sad my mom didn't let my dad name me after the main character Lara. If I'd only known when I came out of the birth canal! I'd have argued for it. Also, I would like this movie's theme song to play whenever I walk into a room.)

The Godfather (This is the ONLY mafia movie I can watch over and over again and again. I actually think it's better than the book (please don't tell Mario Puzo I said that). Also, I would like this movie's theme song to play whenever I exit a room.)


I'm just finishing up The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (please read this--it's magnificent). Then I'm moving on to The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian. And I still need to start 11/22 by Stephen King (it's been in my e-reader since October).


This summer I sat down and re-read a lot of my old journals, from 1998-present. Man, the late 90's and early 2000's were rough years for me. And Amy 2007 was just a wreck of a human being. All of it made me cringe. And pretty much a lot of what I write here makes me cringe when I go back and re-read it months later. 

I'm probably most proud of THIS entry. I think it's a bit too wordy, and I may actually have two essays in one, but it's about someone precious who helped me become who I am, and so. That's my proudest. 


sometimes you have to write in the margins.

I like lists (theoretically). Here's one I made in a desperate effort to pretend my summer break isn't ending:

1-Social Media. This summer has been a social media uptick for me. Of the 4 social media I frequently use now (this blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), I've deduced Twitter is the place where you mostly just talk to yourself (sort of like I do here). And I've decided to stop caring whether anyone answers me or not (sort of like I do here). I still say Instagram feels friendlier--I think the personalization of the pictures has something to do with that. And Facebook feels friendlier. But I try to keep my personal Facebook page limited to people I personally know or have a real connection to (translation: they all love me, I them, and it's just one big social media lovefest there most days of the week). I've had some strangers like some Instagram pictures of mine which is fine, but I (a) don't know how they found them, (b) don't know why they liked them, and (c) their Instagram accounts make me nervous (sketches of zombies and death things). Ah, the price of fame--you get some straaaange fans.

Also, I've decided to give the middle finger to all those social media marketing strategist overly opinionated people who say people like me are just wasting our time on places like this blog and Twitter since we don't have 10 million followers because we're not marketing ourselves hard enough (for some reason I feel like marketing myself hard enough may involve writing about myself in 3rd person, and I'm just not quite there yet). Plus, I've watched what some of my favorite famous and semi-famous people on Twitter have to deal with, and god bless them. Every single one of them. I can only imagine how much time they must spend blocking weirdos when they log onto their social media accounts. Life seems simpler and less stressful when you have less than 10,000 social media followers.

On the positive side, my writer hero Elizabeth Gilbert saw one of my tweets about her and favorited it. I was in my car when it came through on my phone and I screamed a little scream. A little wordsmith-y geek of a scream. And then continued to geek out about it for another 3 hours. Elizabeth Gilbert saw me! She saw my name! She liked what I wrote about her! Holy of holies! I bet she'd go out for coffee with me if she had time. She's my superstar hero forever and ever, amen.

2-THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS by Elizabeth Gilbert. I'm almost done with it. Oh, I love this book. I love this book immensely. What an amazing story she's told--on the surface you go, Hm. This is about...plants? But no! Well, yes. Yes, it is about plants. But plants are fascinating! Did you know this? Nature: it hides secrets that connect us.

So I'm reading, and I'm underlining and writing in the margins furiously. Things like: "______ is imagery for spiritual hiding." And: "Excellent character building here via dialogue" And: "Themes of Spirituality, Sexuality, Home, Nature, Love, Loss, Grief, Secrets." Or obscure things like: "Connections to the Divine" that clearly I wrote at 2 am or something. That's why e-readers are fine and everything, but I remain unconvinced the world will be okay without real books. Sometimes you have to write in the margins.

3-Social Media, part 2. Oh, wait! I just remembered and want to share this quote from AARP magazine, by another superstar hero of mine, Dame Helen Mirren (who I strive to be when I qualify for AARP magazine). Helen Mirren doesn't have Twitter (because I tried to find her) and she thinks this about social media but particularly Twitter:

"It reminds me of a stinky old pub. In the corner would be this slightly disgusting old man who sits there all day, every day. If you went up and talked to him, you'd get the kind of grumpy, horrible, moldy, old meaningless crap that you read on Twitter."

Yes, Dame Helen! I concur. That summarizes exactly what Twitter is. Dame Helen knows, smart lady. (Are you getting that I have developed a love-hate relationship with that place this summer? I love to read what's happening there and keep up with some of my favorite human beings and news of the world. And I've read some pretty fascinating conversations about the writing process and business of writing. On the other hand, it's also a stinky old pub and I don't know why I keep going there night after night...except. Well, because obviously I'm an alcoholic.)

4-My approach to Humanity--Online and Off. I've also concluded I'm like an overly friendly puppy online (and off, though some days offline are very hormonal, and I find very hormonal to be far easier to conceal online). I want everyone to be happy, and nice, and warm, and friendly. It always disappoints, amazes, and upsets me when I realize others don't feel the same. That, in fact, some people actually desire that others feel sad, and mean, and cold...and they want that because they're convinced making people feel that way builds strength and character by making one more determined. What?! That's a load of bullshit. And I don't know about you, but bullshit has the opposite effect on me.

Actually, now that I think of it...I may be more like Olaf the Snowman from FROZEN: naive, with a great inability to tell people No. Miss M and I have lines from movies we like to break out for no reason. Examples:

From WIZARD OF OZ: "Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking!" -The Scarecrow
From SHREK: "A cute button nose? Taut, round buttocks?!" --Shrek
From FROZEN: "Let's go kiss Hans! Who IS this Hans?" --Olaf (this is a good summary of how I react when asked to participate in most anything)

That' pretty much our repertoire at the moment--you'll be hanging out with us, hanging out with us, etc and so forth, nice conversation, and then suddenly: BAM! One or both of us will just lob one of those quotes at you, for no real reason. M is young; we're still building our random movie quotes portfolio. We hope to have at least twenty usable quotes by this time next year. At some point, we'll be a perfect party duo (until she hits 15 and is too cool for it).

5-Branded for Life. Did I mention I burned myself? With a hot metal hair brush and a hair dryer. It's scarring up nicely, at the right hand bottom of my neck in a prominently noticeable place. I have no idea how I did it--one minute I was brushing/blow drying my hair...the next I was yanking off a round metal brush from seared skin. I swear I was sober; it was only 9 AM. I keep looking at the burn mark, wondering what message the Universe was attempting to tattoo me with. Something that starts with the letter C.

6-Hello to Jason Isaacs (and Anne Heche). Here is where I promote (once again) the tv show DIG (remember? I promised Jason Isaacs on Instagram). They've had to stop production and possibly move filming the rest of the episodes to the USA--Israel & Palestine are a mess right now. I'm terribly worried about Israel & Palestine. I want peace. I want everyone to feel happy, and nice, and warm (see number 4 above). I hope that will happen for the people there, and I keep them all wrapped in strong, huge gobs of light and love that it will. I think I'm most upset by the stories I read about children who are hurt. No child should ever--EVER--be wounded or terrorized by adults who can't get their shit together. Children are a real passion of mine. I think every single child on this planet should go to bed healthy, fed, read to, loved, and safe. If that happened, I'm fairly confident we wouldn't have adults who can't get their shit together.

At any rate, I've already sold this television show to a handful of friends (one of whom lives in England and sadly realized it will be awhile before he gets to see it). So now I will sell it to whoever stumbles upon this blog entry. Go watch THIS:

It's a 6 series show--it has a beginning, middle, and an end (I do love a nice story arc). Plus also: mystery, ancient secrets, AND a crazy conspiracy theory that could make Sarah Palin and Pat Robertson both sound sane?! I think I'm going to be glued to the television when this airs (if only they'd also make it in paperback, so I could write notes on theme, character, story arc, etc in the margins).


bucket list gifts.

I have 15 days left to my summer vacation, then back to the bear pit. I hate that I even feel the need to call it that, yet that is what teaching increasingly feels like. On the one hand, I like that they are practically giving us call sheets to adhere to and scripts to read these days--this fuels my active imagination, as I'd like to pretend I'm a low budget, grade B horror movie actress day in and day out. On the other other hand--where's the heart? Where's the heart. (Some days August through May, mine is just broken.)

But I didn't come here to write about education. I came here to write about bucket lists. 

I have a bucket list--a To Be, To See, To Do list. I can't share it all with you here (it's very long), but over the years I've checked off a few things. Live in the Sonoran Desert? Check. Swimming with dolphins? Check. Running the Peachtree Road Race? Check (twice). Dancing naked in a summer rainstorm? Half-check (I had clothes on; can't win them all).

Here's a sample list of things I've not been able to check off yet:

*Travel somewhere ancient and mysterious

*Get in my car, pick a direction, and drive until I run out of gas, and wherever that is stay there for a weekend

*Hang out on a movie/television show set for a day and just...observe (I like to observe)

*Visit The Louvre

*See a play at The King's Theatre in London (it could be any London theater, really...I just like how imperially important "The King's Theatre" sounds and looks). (But I also like that London has an Old Vic Theatre and a Young Vic Theatre...I wonder what the difference is?) (jotting that down on my Bucket List right...now...find out what the difference between Old Vic and Young Vic theatres is.)

*See a Broadway show in New York City (how have I been to NYC three times and never seen a show on Broadway??) (possibly for the same reasons I lived in Arizona for 3 years and never once saw the Grand Canyon)

*See the Grand Canyon

I have many others on my list. What I don't have a lot of is "To Be" items. Lots of To Do's and To See's but not too many To Be's. I don't know why this is; possibly because I am mostly content with who I currently am? I am. I am content with who I currently am--and let me tell you: that was a bumpy, twisted, mountainous, hellish road to walk down to get to this place. I still have to dodge pot holes every now and then. And I've had to practically mental block out my entire 20's...if I didn't, I'm certain I'd need to take PTSD meds.

One thing I once had on my list was: "Develop a close, inner personal circle of trusted people." Over the years, I've been able to check that off. I often kick myself for choosing to leave support teaching and go back into high-stress, crazy classroom teaching...and yet, I do believe the Universe lands us exactly where we're meant to be at that very moment in time, even when that place looks insane and makes us say to ourselves: "What were you THINKING, choosing this?? Were you on CRACK??" Because, typically in these situations, the Universe also makes sure to surround us with people who will help us grow into exactly who we're meant to ultimately become. No one crosses your path by accident. Ever. Even the ones who make us say to ourselves: "What is that person's PROBLEM?? Surely they're a minion of Satan." And that's what going back into the classroom has done for me: hugely widened my circle of people who are the opposite of Satan's minions. (It's also widened my circle of people who ARE Satan's minions, but that's another post for another day.)

I have slowly come to realize what a gift other humans are. All humans are gifts; even the bad ones. (This makes me think of my poet hero Mary Oliver's brief poem "The Uses of Sorrow": Someone I loved once gave me/ a box full of darkness./ It took me years to understand/ that this, too, was a gift.) So sometimes the particularly bad people are gifts, because they teach us who we DON'T want to be and how NOT to behave. And it's a gift to have that knowledge, let me tell you.

But when you encounter angels disguised as friends, the GOOD ones, then isn't Life just so much sweeter? To know there are people out there who'd follow you off a cliff, who'd walk through fire to help you? And that this is a circular thing, because you would do the very same for them. Some days I am consumed with rapturous joy about this; I feel quite confident in saying nobody else in the Animal Kingdom does this for others they haven't given birth to...well, maybe dolphins do it for other dolphins. And whales. And elephants. But certainly not sharks or hyenas, though.

Wait--do you have time for a quick parable? 

Once upon a time (Wednesday to be exact), I was driving home from a teacher technology course and I accidentally hit a curb and ripped up my passenger side front tire. I pulled into a small driveway leading to nowhere so I wouldn't cause traffic jams or get hit, and called for help. While I was waiting, I vented about my situation on Facebook (to feed others' Schadenfreude) and a man came and stood outside my window, clapping his hands to get my attention. I rolled down my window, thinking he wanted to help me, because clearly I was in distress--my warning blinkers were on. Nope. He just wanted to yell at me for being on his private property. When I let him know I was in distress and had a flat tire, he demanded to know if I'd called someone. Finding out I had, he walked away. Jerk. If I'd sat there another 30 minutes, I'd have been desperate enough to have to pee outside...and I'd have done so all over his stupid, private property bushes. On the flip side, ten minutes after Grumpy Man walked away, my friend C was pulling up to check on me after reading about my situation on Facebook. She stayed with me until the emergency roadside help came. 

Light and dark, evil and good. They both teach us, but I find the light and the good far more fun and pleasant to hang out with, don't you? Darkness and evil only get you so far, and nobody brings you flowers as you lay dying at the end. I hear.

In a few minutes, I'm getting ready to spend a whole day with people who are of the Light, and are very very good. Don't you feel so much better after being around people who laugh and hug you, who inspire you to do things you've always dreamed about doing but don't always believe you have the wherewithall to accomplish...but they show you how you do have it in you? 

I love inviting people like that into my inner circle. I think it's nice to be someone who helps people cross things off their bucket lists...and to surround myself with human beings who help me cross things off mine. 

Plus, I know any one of the people I'm spending my day with today would be totally willing to drive back to that Grumpy Man's house, pull down their pants, and take one collective piss on his private property front yard. And listen to me: you don't find those kinds of friends just anywhere. Put "Have friends who'd pee all over mean people's lawns with me" on your bucket list. Right now.


social media thoughts, and a brief hello to Jason Isaacs

Oh, heartless July! How thy arrival dost break my heart. It is Jul 1, which means in about 28 days I will (deep breath) be back at school. Work. Oh, I cannot speak of this! I will not! My soul weeps for it.

So. Let's talk about something else....social media. Because I have thoughts in my brain to get out.

I've been instagramming (you can see for yourself HERE) and twittering/tweeting/whatever (you can see for yourself HERE) up a storm lately. So much so, I've started neglecting Facebook. Which I never thought I'd ever type or say, because Facebook has kind of been sort of an addiction for me for awhile. I find it great for feeding my Schadenfreude.

But here's a thing about me: when I start eating, say, a bag of a new kind of Hershey's kisses, and discover they taste really delightful? I'm all: Why stop at just one? Suddenly I'm waking up at 5 AM, with a massive migraine, I'm covered head-to-toe in chocolate, there's an empty bottle of Jack Daniels next to me, and I have no idea where my clothes are, why this naked plastic store mannequin is next to me or how it got there. I'm like a human version of  The Hangover. (But only The Hangover 1; the sequels were both crap, and I am many things, but I am not The Hangover parts 2 or 3.)

So this summer I've dived into the Twitter & Instagram worlds head first without checking the water temperature or depth which is usually how I like to do things, and I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. Since it's me: probably bad.

On Twitter, I have many more followers than I did June 1, but I can't seem to figure out how to make my number of followERS be bigger than my number of followING, which I hear is important to do (who knows why? not me). The problem is I keep finding cool people or organizations to follow, and once I follow one, then I end up following 2 million more. Because if the first piece of chocolate is good, just eat the entire box.

In addition, I'd say--ratio-wise, at least--for every one new female follower I get, I get ten new male followers. Which I'm fine with; I'm all about gender equality, and I like men. But I don't know if the male followers are following me because hooray! another writer!...or are they following me because they want a date? I don't have an answer to that, because nobody really significantly interacts with anyone on Twitter as far as I can see.

Such a weird universe, that place. So many people ignore you when you reply to one of their tweets or retweet or whatever. Or I'll have a nice interaction with someone and then that's it. Done. They're gone. It's like going to a party, meeting someone really cool, they ask you out for coffee and then don't show up. But I don't want to look weird or desperate or stalker-y so I leave it alone. I'm already worried about how much I use the @jasonsfolly twitter handle and reply to his pictures on Instagram.

Dear Jason Isaacs, (1) Hello to you and (2) I swear I only respond when I have something tremendously witty or positive to say. However and also: I promised him on Instagram I'd be completely ridiculous with my friends about promoting the TV show he's making right now. It's called DIG, I think it'll be on television this fall? I'm sorry I don't have an exact date. And it looks like it has all the things I love in a story. If you liked The Da Vinci Code--which I did not, sorry, but I liked the CONCEPT and the intrigue/ideas behind The Da Vinci Code--you'll like this. (I will be promoting DIG a lot here over the next several months. And on Facebook. And Twitter. Because I promised Jason Isaacs I would do this for him. I promised him.)

At any rate, back on track: social media. This is my summary of Twitter interactions: On Twitter, you meet great people. You make friendly plans and then the other person doesn't show up for the date or you get busy and maybe you don't. But when I tell someone I'm going to do something, I do it, so usually I'm the one who gets stood up. Yet I plod on nonetheless, because I'm a person who believes in the inherent goodness of people, and so I keep hoping...I don't know what. Maybe that a ray of sun shall crack through the dark underworld and reveal all the treasures to me? Like Buddha's Enlightment. But on Twitter. (Buddha happens to have a Twitter account, by the way, but he's not as funny as God. So I follow God, and not Buddha.)

Here's what else I've learned this summer--social media bad behavior:

Example 1--someone will follow me, I'll follow them back, and then they'll try to sell me something. Which...what? I get all excited and follow them back because, on the surface, they seem like they apply to my life and then they want me to sign up for something and hand them some cash. That's called Bait and Switch, isn't it?

Example 2--someone will follow me, I'll follow them back, and then they'll unfollow me. Like, were they just following me so they could increase their follower size, and then when I followed them they dumped me so they could DEcrease their followING size? That's douchebag bullshit behavior and when I discover it, I unfollow them and say a little prayer they eventually end up sitting all alone in the Reject Corner at the Twitter party.

Example 3--if you're famous, and you're doing some sort of project that somebody somewhere can turn into something political? They will. And they will come after you, attempting to use your fame and your social media accounts to get attention for their cause. And if you don't play along, they'll try to ruin you professionally and say all kinds of mean things to and about you. And that's douchebag bullshit behavior, too.

You know what that reminds me of? When I worked for Sears in customer service answering the switchboard/directing calls, sometimes I'd answer the phone and say, "Good evening, Sears, Roebuck, and Company. This is Amy, how may I direct your call?"  And suddenly I'd have to listen to a 20 minute screaming rant of a crazy person upset about a dishwasher they bought last week. Some people just don't get the thing about protocol and going through the proper channels. Because I was just the switchboard girl, and not really the store manager. Take it to the store manager, people; leave the switchboard operators alone. They're just college girls working part-time for minimum wage and don't even get health insurance. Take your crazy to the top, yo.

Social media: a wobbly bridge to walk across. Thank god I only have 75 Twitter followers to worry about (possibly 5 after this posts).

My conclusion: Instagram seems friendlier. And they let you have more than 140 characters.