As I hurtle at the speed of light towards the Job Centre Plus - I say hurtle, but it's more like amble; I say 'at the speed of light', but it's more like 'at the speed of a man. A fat 36-year-old asthmatic man' - I find myself increasingly distracted by wallowing in things like Twitter. Which means, I think, that I need to take a bit of a holiday from it all.
At its best, Twitter is a ball pit; at worst, it's like a pit bull. And there's only so much 'having your arm chewed off' that can happen before you begin to think, "Do you know what, I am not entirely enjoying this experience as much as I once did." I don't mean to sound like I'm 'doing the flounce', whereby a person tearfully announces their departure from a forum, email list, social networking site or whatever, hoping that others will beg them to stay, that they are irreplaceable, and so on - because this isn't a flounce. It's just a holiday. A holiday from Twitter, or as you might like to call it, a twoliday. A twacation. A twiatus. Or a twounce, if you must. But honestly, this isn't a flounce. It's just me needing to take a bit of a break, then coming back. That's all it is. (Am I saying this for your benefit or mine? Well, as with so many blogposts, particularly personal ones, there's always that question, isn't there?)
Anyway, look. I'm not one of those writers, with all respect to them, who enjoys being provocative. I dislike it, in fact. Which isn't to say I've never been provocative, nor that I don't think there's a reason for people to be provocative. It's just that I prefer nowadays being a bit more reflective, more awkward to follow, a bit more convoluted, a bit more verbose. A bit more annoying. A bit more repetitive. You lose a bit of punchiness doing that, but perhaps that's no bad thing.
There's a place and a role for being provocative and upsetting people. Sometimes you have to upset people, to challenge them; sometimes there's a fine line between that righteous anger and just representing anger in order to make other people angry, and then revel in the controversy. Some things need to be said because it's important they are said; other things are better left unsaid, no matter how much you might want to say them. I just find that, sometimes for my taste, my writing has strayed in the past into the territory of being too spiky, too abrasive, too aggressive, and that's something I am trying to get away with. Again, this doesn't mean I don't like that style of doing things, or that I'm saying there's anything wrong with writing that way; it's just that, sometimes, for me, I don't think it's the right way for me to go. I don't like saying things just to stir up debate; it's just not something I like to do.
Anyway, being not someone who enjoys controversy, there are occasionally times when you end up being controversial, whether you want to or not. Sometimes if you have a name and a face you can be a convenient whack-a-mole for others, who enjoy slapping you down, even if you haven't, in fact, said anything especially hideous. Some people read what they want to read rather than what's there. All of which is fine, of course. It's part of the deal you sign when you write a blog in the first place. But I don't really blog in order to be a 'talking head' or a 'known face' or a controversial figure, or any of that. I'd rather headbutt a pebbledashed wall than turn up on some kind of Any Questions type thing. I'd be awful. I don't want that, and they're quite right never to have asked me; it would be terrible. I'm good at writing (and not a great deal else, as potential employers are keen to point out at the earliest opportunity, if they do at all) and that's what I like to do.
And despite what you might have heard, I don't object to people disagreeing with me. Still, it doesn't matter what I say; it's been decided that I behave in a certain way, and that's that. Denying it probably makes people even more convinced they're right. "Aha, you have said you don't object to people disagreeing with you," people who disagree with me will say, "that means that you know they're right when they say you don't object to people disagreeing with you." I shrug my shoulders. "What can I say then?" I ask. "I can't say I do object, because that's what you think, but I can't say I don't object, because that's what you use as proof that I do object." In other words, I have made the mistake, in the past, of not picking my ball up and going home. I must learn to do that more often.
Anyway, I don't mind disagreement. I don't mind being called names (a 'simpering pussy', 'tosser' and 'wanker' being some of the choice cuts over the past couple of days), though I do find it a bit annoying. it's just that occasionally it's a bit wearying to find people despising what you've written and saying all kinds of things about you, when you suspect they aren't entirely wounded themselves, but rather delighted they have an excuse to put the boot in.
Christ. I feel like deleting all of that and saying 'what a whining bastard', but I won't. So fucking what if I am? It's how I feel so that's how it is. If it sounds whiny, it is. I'm whining. I don't care if it comes across as not as stoical as I might hope. Why pretend? I can't be bothered being stoical. That's now how I am, and that's all there is to it. If I want to whine, I'll whine.
There will be blogging here, and over at the New Statesman too. I will occasionally pop up on Twitter, Facebook etc to say there's a new post up and I'd love it if you had a look. My latest thing for the New Statesman (about which people who know these things have said "I don't get why people bother to write this kind of thing" and "He just doesn't get it at all") is here, and I did a post here over the weekend. If you want to stay in touch via Facebook, or email, by all means do.
So. I am not going anywhere. I am just a bit of a burnt-out case when it comes to Twitter, right now. That's all. But I'll be back. (I think).