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tweets and murmurs

I have been chatting on this blog for years, but I am not a real blogger. I am happy to share bits and pieces of my life with a charming and select community, but I am not part of the larger blogosphere. I don't use this forum to talk about my work or publicize my upcoming appearances. I only recently -- like, yesterday -- learned what a blog tour is. I am not knocking those who use their blogs for publicity purposes. Far from it. These people are, without doubt, acting in a more savvy and professional manner than I am. I should be less diffident, more web-aware. I should say, I'll be on Letterman tomorrow, make sure to watch... Thank you, Amazon, for making my new book pick of the week ... The problem is that I am too shy. And, well, the statements aren't true. And saying that I'll be at such and such a library, or this and that elementary school, or that I'll be talking to teachers in Saskatoon or dyslexic kids in Vancouver -- while true -- would surely result in little more than a shrug or raised eyebrow among my blog readers. So, you would all think, what? And you would be right. So why would I open a Twitter account? ( I know. I know. Close your mouths, okay? You are embarrassing me.) I can understand the popularity of Twitter as a way of connecting to strangers without having to follow them around. With a few clicks of the mouse you can find out what Charlie Sheen thinks about whatever it is he is thinking about. And he is a weird and funny phenomenon. I have to say, I find the whole thing kind of creepy -- like authorized (indeed encouraged) stalking. And when it's not creepy, it's dull. But that's our society. We invite the cameras into our homes. A few years ago I watched a scene -- there may well have been more than one -- of The Osbournes where Ozzy was sitting on the toilet, and I remember thinking: the only thing stranger than going to the bathroom in front of umpty million people is watching someone go to the bathroom. At least he's being paid. These days Charlie Sheen might (indeed he might) tweet about his bowel movement. He would be at the top of the Twitter tree right now, I guess. With all the one-named stars nearby, and the B-listers and C-listers lower down, and the specialists -- well known in their field but not prime-time popular -- lower still. And at the very bottom of the tree, drooping into the humus of the forest floor, me. I opened an account a few days ago and have posted some half dozen times. I have -- I confess it -- no idea what is going on. The caption in the picture up there sums it up. I feel like a teenaged driver taking the family car up and down the driveway. I'm having fun, but not going anywhere. 140 characters disappear in a flash. My tweets emerge sounding like haiku, or shopping lists. I should take lessons. And then, who knows -- I might even get around to using Twitter as a publicity tool. (Thanx Amazon!) My next book will go on a Twitter Tour.


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