Once, I got subtweeted. Or I think I did; the thing about subtweeting is that You Never Know (also, it doesn’t stand for “subtle tweet,” as I initially believed. Nor does #nofilter mean that a post is real-talk honest). I had just fired off some cheery ~140 character missive about how trying to get people to like my novel is like begging strangers to love my imaginary friends—which, okay, not the smartest thing I’ve ever said, but it’s the internet—and then, a few tweets later, an online acquaintance (“Follows You”) quipped something about—and I’m paraphrasing—how painfully earnest some people can be.
Twitter is weird. My own digital nativity notwithstanding, I don’t quite get what it’s for (whence my tweets of John Dowland lyrics, jokes about paleography, and the inexplicable #seachantyoftheday). If it’s supposed to be my platform, I don’t do enough self-promo (as in “UM HELLO MY BOOK IS ON AMAZON“), and if it’s supposed to be for friends only, well, I can’t shut that gate once the Twitter cows have gone. I follow a hodgepodge of actual IRL friends, nifty news sources and blogs (hello, @Medievalists!), and writereditoragents who seem like they’re up to cool things.
Which: earnestness. Am I earnest? Sure. I really love writing. I like my job a whole hell of a lot, too. And I love what I write, which is where it gets weird. Some stuff I write ends up on blogs that are so super-cool that they would probably never use a compound adjective as dorky as “super-cool.” Sometimes I’m canny and ironic and au courant with zeitgeisty satire. But the larger portion of what I write—by an order of magnitude, wordcount-wise—is earnest. Imaginary friends, playing in a Scrivener jungle gym and getting up to adolescent hijinx. I love it! I love doing it! I want to share it and make it happen so much that I will do even dorkier things like go to bed early, not live in Brooklyn, and just generally enthuse. It may be hip to be agnostic, but I’m a believer. I always have been.
Okay, so, quo vadis with all this, Thornburgh? Just some hope, since hope goes hand-in-glove with earnestness: I hope other people are equally afflicted. I hope Huey Lewis was right. Because when people believe in stuff, I lend them so much credence I don’t care if I ever get it back. I’m subtweeting the whole world! Please keep on caring, because I care about people who do care. #nofilter #earnest