where the writers are
I think of Henry Moore





I am still grappling with Twitter. I get cute little messages to my in-box about how so and so wants to connect with you or whatever. I don't know how to respond. Follow. Following. Not following. Strangers out of the blue flood in, foodies, writers, mothers, nature lovers, enterprisers, suspense writers, writers on Manhattan, publishers, dog walkers, house cleaners, risotto makers, experts on stain removal, counsellers on how to tell your son in college that it is time to get a part time job, people who make random statements, wonderful twittering people trending, surfing, doing whatever the twitter world tells or frees you up to do.

I still don't understand it fully. I have thirty followers the last time I checked. Most have two thousand. How would one keep up with this chaotic communication? It's too fast for me. Too removed from where I am. I can't respond. I don't know how and besides the cows came back this evening. Back into the meadow, the milking fields, behind the house. Two big white cows and one baby one. I never noticed the transition until I saw the farmer pass by out on the road on his bicycle in his high-viz jacket like someone escaping a burglarly. I knew then to look and took to the back window to view the beasts settled in all their glory. I suppose I could have tweeted it - 'cows back in north meadow' but I was never good at limiting my word count. Never fitting what I saw into the category demanded of me. I think of Henry Moore. Silly me, I know. Out in the bogs to be thinking about art and form. But yes, I did. Think of lines and strength and beauty and effect and stunning, stand alone beauty. Organic living art at my back door. God, my son came home from school and he wasn't through the back door before he said, Mom, the cows are back. I wanted to embrace him then. To say, Jesus, I must have done a good job on you. You used your eyes. You opened yourself up to something beyond the instant. Instead I said, of course they're back. Sure isn't it the same every year. Isn't it how its always been and he looked at me with a wise old look that I had not seen before and walked away, holding onto everything and nothing. When I looked back out at the cows I could have sworn they were looking straight back at me, but it must have only been the light, the false rumination of time, the twittering of light that can deceive, the monstrous span of time, the penetration of truth.

19 Comment count
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I am totally lost on Twitter.  Maybe someday.

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I'm just happy that you write

I'm just happy that you write so wonderfully, Sue. mx

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A beautiful piece

of poetic prose about right priorities, this. Let's not delude ourselves, Twitter can be good for commercial enterprises in getting their services known and creating contacts at either end of their operation, but it isn't designed for dedicated writers. In fact, authors mostly aren't very good at Twitter! (Having said that, the 140 character limit is great for developing sharp editorial skills!) It can also be fun commenting and replying.

But books aren't merchandise, however much the necessity of marketing is urged upon us.

Twitter is good for exchanging information, research advice, keeping in touch with current trends and opinions in our fields of interest, even gathering a readership to blog posts, but that has precious little to do with the selling of books or articles. Next to none, I'd say. Writers are expected to give their services free. But you and I, Mary, and a fair few others, write to capture the moments, to reflect, to unravel, to make sense of randomness. Our lives are enriched right across the board. The freedom to do that in our own way, without undue invasion of our personal worlds, can't be purchased at any price.

I don't see Twitter as a numbers game and try to limit those I follow in order to keep in touch with them. The introduction of advertisements is not helpful, neither is the new trend of users' images displayed in the timeline (instead of the choice of clicking on a link). Both distract from the substance of tweets and, with fewer users on the screen at any one time, there's less chance of important ones catching your eye.

Yes, I do often wonder why I hang in with it :) Mary, your post is like a breath of fresh air. There is sanity in contemplation of a landscape with cows! Rx.


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Thanks for your lovely

Thanks for your lovely comment, Rosy. I hope I didn't sound too tough on Twitter. I must admit it is nice to see that my posts are tweeted because that has to be a compliment, right?! Anyhow, I am enjoying the beasts in the back garden, moving in such an elegant fashion, totally removed as they happen to be from the world of keyboards and screens. I hope all is well with you. Weather very cold here - Small Dog sends a waggy tail salute across the Irish Sea. mx 

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Mary,I have a Twitter


I have a Twitter account and have no clue as to what to do with it.  I tweet that I have a new blog out and that's about it.  Every so often I get an email to remind me that I have an account, and then I go and look at it. I find I have lots of tweets to read (which I generally don't) from those that I follow.  I figure those who happen to follow me (a few people) probably do the same to my tweets (which means they don't read mine, either).  I got an account to stay current with my niece, but have yet to find her or my sister to able to follow them.  I  have trouble with 140 characters and the hashtag thing.  Perhaps it works for some people, but not me. 

I wish you better success with your Twitter account, and if you figure it out, I will sign up for your tutorial.  But please make it longer than 140 characters so I can take notes the old-fashioned way: with a pen in hand. ~nan

PS. Now cows I understand!

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...and then I go and look at it...

Funny, Nan, we must be both a bunch of 'twits'! MOOOOVE over. Okay, giddy hour is up. Thanks for reading. mx

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Spare yourself


I "tweeted" you a short article entitled "Twitter for Authors." My good friends aren't offended (I hope) if I don't thank them for every Tweet and RT and I'm slowly acquiring a working knowledge of hashtags.

Lovely post.



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Thanks, Jane. I will check

Thanks, Jane. I will check out the tweet. Hashtags? Wow, they sound illegal....mx

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Twittersphere Ingenue

Great blog - always enjoy reading your articles and your comments on Twitter chime with my own impressions about yet another technological 'advancement'.

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Hey, Nicholas, great to see

Hey, Nicholas, great to see you back in the room! Thanks for reading. Greetings from a dark, gloomy day in The West. mx

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A few thoughts about

A few thoughts about Twitter:

- On the plus side, it's helped me practice being concise.

- The more people you follow, the more likely you'll find something interesting to respond to. 1000+ gets you a good stream.

- Pick people who are interactive and/or post links to good stuff.

- You can't "keep up" with people, nor is it expected. I just pop in now and then, and read the most recent 30-40 posts in my feed.




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p.s. What's your handle? Come

p.s. What's your handle? Come find me - @marshallbooks

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Thanks for the tips, Kate.

Thanks for the tips, Kate. Much appreciated. Nice to see you. m

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I just sent you a request for

I just sent you a request for connection! Best, m p.s. what do you mean by 'handle'?

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Twitter name

Sorry, "handle" = old CB radio lingo for what name you go by.

What's your @____ name on Twitter?

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oh, marypwilkinson. I think.

oh, marypwilkinson. I think. I will have to check...!!!

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@marypwilkinson! Sorry about

@marypwilkinson! Sorry about that....

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Found you! I'm following you

Found you! I'm following you now, and tweeted to suggest my followers do the same. It's rather fun once you get going.

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Thanks a mill, Kate. Nice to

Thanks a mill, Kate. Nice to know you. m