Off in the Twittersphere

Writers’ Triggers: The daily newspaper is full of triggers. Today’s trigger comes from The Times, Sept. 2nd. The story from the United States is titled, “Lovesick doctor dies in chimney at her lover’s house.” As to the details: a 49-year-old, female physician (voted one of California’s favorite GPs last year) wanted to reconnect with her boyfriend. Unable to pry open the back door of his house with a shovel, she climbed to the roof, removed the chimney cap, and slid down the flue feet first. The flu narrowed  to just 4 inches as it went down. Three days after her disappearance, the housekeeper noticed a smell from the chimney and called police. The good doctor died of mechanical asphyxia.

READ: Black Water, 1992, by Joyce Carol Oates. If you are an American, the words, Mary Jo Kopechne, Chappaquiddick, and Ted Kennedy all bring to mind the downing of Mary Jo. Refresh your memory of the incident with a brief trip to Google. And then read the book – consisting mostly of Mary Jo’s thoughts as she slowly drowns in the Chappaquiddick. Wonderful stream of consciousness ending in unconsciousness.

  • Brainstorm issues that cause couples to fall out.
  • What is the backstory that led to the doctor’s fateful end?
  • Set a scene in which someone is trapped.


Would you rather be informed or entertained? That’s like asking if you’d rather have a piece of chocolate cake or a celery stick.

I’m reading The Independent which has a good blend of hard and soft news. On nearly every page I’m given pause to wonder. 

For example, the lead story in Tuesday’s, August 31st paper concerns the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to be held in Cancun. The thrust of the story is the IPCC needs to get its facts straight.

One fact is that by the end of the century, scientists estimate that the average global temperature will increase by 3.5 C. (Can that possibly be true!?) The consequence of such an increase is obvious, but misinformation in the IPCC’s 2007 report that the Himalayan glaciers would be history by 2035 (rather than by 2350) damaged the IPCC’s credibility.

With so many naysayers and skeptics as to man’s role in global warming, mistakes of this kind must not happen again.

So much for celery. Of equal interest is a page 2, chocolate cake feature called “The news in 140 characters.” The 140 characters refer to the number of characters allowed by Twitter. The paper’s staff chooses a range of twits “so you don’t have to.”

President Obama twittered: “The people of the Gulf Coast have demonstrated what it means to persevere in the face of tragedy and rebuild in the face of ruin.”

I have mixed feelings about this quote. On one hand, I admire the sentiment and the parallel structure of the quote. And it sounds like Obama, but is it Obama or is a speechwriter mimicking Obama’s style?  When would Obama have time to twit? Isn’t he meeting with advisors and world leaders? Wouldn’t he be better off playing basketball than sitting at the computer?

He is probably trying to bridge with his kids who are (are they?) on Facebook, but… I’m not so sure that I want a president who has time to Twit.

(I tried Twitter. My “handle” was 2twit2woo. I was rather pleased with myself, but coming up with a name was probably the best and the last of my twitting. Two days in and I couldn’t be bothered.)

The Dalai Lama Twitted: “In the modern world, the interests of a particular community can no longer be considered to lie within the confines of its own boundaries.”  True, very true. And we’ve come full circle: we’re back to global warming.

But, again, I wonder… there’s something incongruous about a spiritual leader, coming out of a trance, opening his eyes, feeling enlightened, and sitting down at a computer to share his thoughts with the world-at-large.

 Consider the word “wonder.” I wonder a lot. Usually, I wonder as in [to question]. But you can also wonder as in [to marvel]. Wouldn’t it be great if we spent more time marveling?

About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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