A couple of weeks ago, I created a Twitter account and joined the Twitterverse. Through observation and a few online articles, I’ve been navigating it as well as can be expected. I’m tweeting, retweeting, following, and favoriting.
Like any social medium, it can be a time sink, and you get out of it what you put into it. It’s difficult to be clever, current, and relentlessly positive in 140 characters or less. I admire everyone who does it well. It’s a skill that requires practice. I have opinions and thoughts like everybody else, but I don’t want to alienate virtual strangers with unwanted political discourse or bitching.
My ultimate intent is to meet new people, learn from them, and discuss things of mutual interest. And, of course, interest them in my own writing so they want to read my books.
One of the things many Twitter experts say is that you shouldn’t constantly spam Twitter with links to your book. This makes perfect sense: if my only experience of you is you stuffing a book in my face, saying, “LIKE HORROR? READ THIS IT WILL SCARE THE DICK RIGHT OUT OF YOUR PANTS” over and over again, I will get the impression that you’re not interested in anything else, and will just mute you from the timeline. However, there’s not a lot of air between constantly spamming links to your book and constantly spamming links to your writing blog, especially when the articles you’re linking to are a few years old. It’s still spamming.
Many authors on Twitter do this. I don’t understand it. Why follow someone if all they do is try to sell you something, especially if it’s a book you’ve already read?
One of the most off-putting things I’ve experienced is getting direct messages from people I’ve just followed, asking me to buy their books or like their Facebook pages. So it’s not enough that your typical public communication is “BUY MY BOOK”, but you also sidle up to everyone you meet and say, “Buy my book.” Don’t…don’t do that.
Typically, I reserve Friday posts for my hobby, which is baking bread. I’m brooming that this week because this is the last month Louis Awerbuck’s column will be running in SWAT Magazine. Louis died on June 24, 2014.
His friend Robbie Barrkman wrote a moving tribute to him that you can read here.
If you’ve never heard of him, it wouldn’t be a surprise, and Louis himself wouldn’t have cared one way or the other. He didn’t seek the spotlight. To call him a firearms and tactics instructor would be technically correct, but they’re labels, and labels are necessarily limiting. For the straight biography, visit his website.
I worked with Louis (pronounced “Louie”) on two instructional video projects in the early 2000’s: Only Hits Count, a combat shooting video, and Safe at Home, a home defense video. The leather-jacketed villain holding the hammer on the cover of Safe at Home is me (with hair).
Simply put, Louis was a man of respect. A brilliant tactician with real world experience that he never boasted about: it just informed what he taught and how he taught it. Self-effacing almost to a fault, and had an incredibly dry, clever sense of humor. His delivery was deadpan in a way you’ve never heard before. Sere. Arid. I can’t claim him as a friend, but I really quite liked and admired him. During my time in publishing, I’d worked with many, many combat shooting experts. Some good, some great, some mediocre.
Louis was in a class by himself. I wish I’d known him better. It would have made me better.
Requiescat in pace, Louis.
I’m going to tell you a secret that I hope you won’t tell anybody else. Keep it on the QT, if you please.
You ready? Here it is:
I hate hope. I absolutely loathe it. I work hard to eradicate it from my personal lexicon, and when I find myself using it, I feel embarrassed.
Hope is helplessness elevated to virtue. Hoping is everything you’re not doing when you want to make a change. Hoping doesn’t get you what you want. Hoping something happens or doesn’t happen has never made something happen or not happen at any time in the history of the universe.
At least with worry, you’re thinking about possibilities, and if possible, planning contingencies to mitigate that worry. With prayer, you’re acting positively according to the tenets of your faith.
If you’re down to hope, you’ve got nothing left. The quiver is empty. That’s not a place to be.
Obviously, there are certain things we can’t change: the weather, the outcome of a sporting event, the success of a surgery, etc. Things entirely outside of our control. In that case, what’s better: hoping, or planning?
Success means eliminating the requirement of hope in one’s plans. Success requires work. Hope requires helplessness.
My go-to bread recipe is Jason’s Quick Coccodrillo Ciabatta bread. The term “quick” can be a bit of a misnomer in our gotta-have-it-now society, as it takes more than three hours to make, but compared to other breads with overnight rises and a dozen ingredients, it can’t be beat.
|Puffy, wobbly, but on the peel|
|Goodness baked right in|
|Your obligatory cross-section|
|Look, look! I got the big holes!|