What I learned this week

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That CK Williams has died. More than two weeks ago! One of my heroes. This is the first thing I have missed missing and not knowing about instantly since leaving Twitter and FB. Does it make me any sadder? I am already sad. My sadness and reaction to his death could not be less relevant to the story.

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That Céline Dione has had more than 54 million hits on the video channel which plays My Heart Will Go On. I have still not seen Titanic.

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That you can buy a house in Falmouth for £250,000-500,000.

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That Clive James has leukaemia. Clive James! I thought he was dead. Didn’t I read that on Twitter? One of those hoax things probably. He has a column in the Guardian Weekend. All about Not Dying. I have always loved his prose. I really love Clive James’s prose.

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That there is a new (unauthorised) biography  of Ted Hughes in the world. I know this because I have been sent it in the post by the publisher. It is huge and looks like homework. I opened it at page 1 and can report that it reads like a thriller, not homework at all. Then I thought: even if I finish it I will never know what really happened. None of us will.  I have a note from him somewhere…

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That two of my friends were up for poetry prizes, and that neither of them won. There is nothing like a poetry prize to make me feel on the far edge of disappearing forever. (Maybe I already have.) I realised I was kind of relieved, because I did not want to write to one and say well done and not the other. They are the best sort, what Van Morrison calls ‘real soul people’. I know this because they show up and take time to communicate with me outside of social media, like we used to.

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That nothing can substitute for carrying a notebook everywhere you go.

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That I secretly want Wales to beat South Africa and Australia to win the whole thing.

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That I still have no idea how to use my iPad.

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That when I logged off Facebook for the final time I noticed that I had 22 notifications and one message responding to my post about no longer being on Facebook. I actually laughed. Did they not read it? How can I see your message or your response if I am not there? Instead I am here. All week, as the comedians say.

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That, judging by the reaction to my decision to leave FB (via comments on this blog and in private communication), I may be on to something. If we all followed through and left, think of all the novels we would write and bridges we could build and new ideas we would have.

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That I woke up one day and realised that Labour is a busted flush. I even wrote to tell them. I have torn up my fledgling membership card. That I feel guilty and relieved in equal measure. But mostly relieved.

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That I still miss [………]

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That a friend came up to me at a poetry reading and thanked me for writing about painful things. I said thank you and that it was not like I had a choice.

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That I missed the reading of a friend because I did not know about it. That I feel bad about this. That I feel bad.

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That I am still not good at asking for help

17 comments

  1. Kevin Casey

    I think your Facebook notifications comment underscores the fact that much of FB, etc. isn’t so much about communication, but about externalizing and memorializing our thoughts — the audience/recipient is in many cases an afterthought. It’s like the ubiquitous posted photos of people’s various meal choices, but instead of “this is something that I ate,” it’s “here is a thing that I thought.”

    And I believe this makes your comment “think of all the novels we would write” even more relevant, since people’s desire to graffiti their lives with “I was here, I was here” tweets is akin to the writer’s creative impulse. If all social media users — not just writers — channeled that impulse into posting content of a certain depth, written with a certain attention to form, then FB could become a massive, living poetry library. But, alas, it’s usually “here’s another photo of my dog…”

    Also – Wales to beat South Africa and Australia? I’m pretty sure I will never understand anything sports-related that goes on beyond the borders of the US 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anthony Wilson

      That’s the best miniature essay on postmodernism I’ve read, thank you so much. Externalisation! Of course, that is what is going on. You’re right. Which is different from noticing I think.
      Thank you for your kind and wise comment,
      Anthony

      Liked by 1 person

  2. socialbridge

    Anthony, how could you not want Ireland of that poetic rugby to win the World Cup?
    I’m off to a Paul Durcan reading on Wednesday here in Waterford. What more could anyone ask for?
    As for FB, are you sure you’re gone. I thought I was from about 7 months ago and discovered to my horror that I’m still there in theory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anthony Wilson

      Hi there. ‘My profile’ is still there. And this allows my posts to still link to it. But I am not there, and I’m not logged in to it. That’s the difference.
      Re Ireland…I just don’t know. Welsh uncle. Secretly admire Australia. None of this is scientific. Or personal.
      Still want Ireland to progress, though.

      Enjoy the man Durcan. Apparently he’s a hoot.

      Good wishes
      Anthony

      Like

  3. john foggin

    Much as I am in awe of what you have done with your immaculately woven webs, I find two things very difficult to forgive in this week’s post. First, that you have hit on a particular list in a particular way. ‘What I learned this week’. Simple, elegant and endlessly productive. There is no reason why you should not stay with the formula forever and ever, amen. But because you did it first, the rest of us weekly toilers can only grind our teeth, look up at the sky, Lear-like, mouthing: WHY NOT ME ? WHY ?. Second (and I think this is actually unforgiveable) you have decided that you can bring yourself to light a candle for Wales. Wales! Wales who we regularly play off the park and then watch them scuttle under the posts in the dying seconds. All I can say is, Light it at the shrine of St. Jude. The rest, as they say, is silence.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tania Hershman (@taniahershman)

    Hi Anthony,
    I’ve left Facebook 4 times – the final time a year ago! I never regretted it, I’ve not missed anything, as far as I know 🙂 I love Twitter, but have also had long twitter breaks, just to know that I can. Whatever anyone needs to do is the right thing for them right now, right? Or something like that! Lovely post, thank you, as ever.
    Tania

    Liked by 1 person

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