In my last post I described Klout as a Mean Girl.
It only seems fair, then, that I describe myself as a geek n00b.
So let’s go back.
Back to a year ago, before I met Klout, when I still had that shitload of time on my hands.
To the uninitiated, that’s Hollywood-speak for unemployed again.
* * *
I was still writing – I always write – always have, almost pathologically, every day since I finished my first “novella” at age 11.
This “novella” (honestly, without the air-quotes I’d punch myself in the face) was about a telekinetic girl — and a blatant, plundering mash-up of two of my favorite books at the time, The Girl With The Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts and Carrie by Stephen King. Both are excellent stories, by the way. (The “novella”? Not excellent.) So I wasn’t just sitting around the house doing nothing, eating bon bons. I had the decency to eat the bon bons while I was writing.
But despite my daily tours of duty at the keyboard, I was simply not finding The Thing, y’know?
The Thing that gets you up ten minutes before your alarm and makes your fingers itch to get going. The Thing you actually think about while staring at the TV. The Thing that stops you dead on the sidewalk and busts out an “Oh shit!” when you fit things together like puzzle pieces.
It had been weeks since my last job ended and I still hadn’t found The Thing yet.
To be honest, I was getting really fucking annoyed.
But I didn’t want to force it. Trying to force The Thing is bad juju — as any Writer will tell you, it only drives The Thing farther away. If I can Pottergeek out on you, The Thing is like Buckbeak the hippogriff: you have to bow to it and let it acknowledge you first. Otherwise it’s all talons and blood and regret.
In the meantime, I wrote what I could.
Relaunched the blog I’d kept during the Writers’ Strike of 2007-8. Spent several weeks writing also-not-excellent blog entries as I transitioned from screenwriting to prose (for me the change in media is like going from haiku to collage; I have to let my brain stretch out). Eventually stopped sucking like a jet engine. Mostly.
Wrote a couple short stories.
Wrote another chapter of the novel I’ve been working on for years. It’s my long-term passion project, my creative spouse (hey, I’ve known it longer than The Finance), my pearl of great price – that, with inflation, will probably cost $1000 a download on the SolarMechaKindle when I finish it in 2053.
But still, all those things, they just weren’t The Thing.
I felt like gnawing on door jambs like a rat.
* * *
So, since I couldn’t come up with The Thing, and I didn’t want to just sit there waiting for lightning to strike (that’s not entirely true – sometimes I wished lightning would strike – it’d have to be less painful than this Thingless sucking chest wound called What’s Next?, right?), I decided on another way to occupy myself.
As I was putting most of my effort into writing the blog at that point, I decided I’d make a serious go at promoting it, by engaging a potential audience through Twitter — because 50 Followers is awesome! And what’s a “hash tag”?
(Oh, Naïve Girl. You were so Naïve. I miss you.)
It’s important to note here that I am not at all comfortable with self-promotion, and my foray into Twitter was made under shrieking protest by my human-being-aversion. Even if I wrote a bestseller, if it were up to me, I’d hire a Mere stand-in for book signings and just watch on a secret G+ Hangout while I lounged in my home office smoking pot.
But then again, if you’re not at least occasionally trying stuff that scares the shit out of you, you don’t get to put “Writer” or “Artist” on the Occupation line of your income taxes.
You have to put “Giant Huge Pussy.”
And thus it was I leapt into the sea-froth of the masses and waded into Twitter, officially re-establishing myself on The Grid.
It was my third internet immersion since 1993.
* * *
First, in college, there was Usenet. Then after college there was The Bronze, with varying periods of involvement and abstention in between. But this was the first time I’d truly plugged back in since I started writing for a living over a decade ago.
Y’see, that’s the thing about writing for TV – when you’re working, you’re Working. And depending on the EP, you can be Working 12 – 14 hours a day – and that doesn’t mean tucked up behind a desk where you can at least check your email.
No, generally when TV Writers Work, they get locked up in a room together for hours on end and are forced to recount their lives’ most mortifying moments in an effort to A) make all the other damaged people laugh, and B) pray that one of them can transmute that misery into a workable story idea before 11 p.m. Please, god. Please.
Admittedly, while this process is somewhat therapeutic – in a traumatic sort of way – it doesn’t leave much time to tweet, Pin, Tumbl, G+, blog – oh, all right, fine – or Facebook.
(Though I’ve never been contaminated by that particular digital cholera, myself.)
My point is, this was the first occasion I’d had in ten years to genuinely rejoin the net community, to discover what had happened while I was gone (answer: omfg a really LOT, you guys! fuck yeah! <3). It was the first time I’d have enough time to return to my people – all those other invisible, introverted nerds I’d come of age with – though to my great surprise, we nerds had somehow morphed into the Old Guard, while moms and frat boys and (shudder) Big Corporate Shitbrains had joined the party, too.
So despite my initial reluctance, promoting the blog led to Twitter. Which I turned out to like, because it made me think on my feet and flay my jokes to the bone. I made some great connections: other writers, old friends.
Twitter led to gmail after I wrote to those connections – then swore if I saw “AOL?!? SRSLY?!? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!” one more time, I was going to kick somebody in the babyhole. So that’s where the gmail came from.
YouTube was its own thing.
Sometimes I wince, thinking of the cumulative weeks I threw down that well of median mediocrity – and yet I would watch (at least the first 20 seconds of) a hundred videos looking for one good one, or one I could tweet or email to somebody else, to “justify” my search and make it “meaningful.”
Yes, I, too, am amazed our species isn’t extinct.
But besides the make-up tutorials and toddlers crancing to “Put A Ring On It,” I was watching dozens and dozens and dozens of webseries. I was also evolving an idea of what a webseries could be, as well as an idea for one. The idea wasn’t The Thing, but I liked it and thought it was funny and what the hell, it’d be a break from the blog, so I wrote it.
It was optioned by an awesome production company by an awesome producer.
It never got made, but… welcome to Hollywood.
The only things guaranteed to get made in this town are Spielberg’s sandwiches.
After the webseries was optioned, though, I started to feel like I was getting a handle on things – like a sixth-grader beginning to memorize the middle-school layout.
Maybe I hadn’t found The Thing yet, but I was thinking in a new way, turning over new ideas. Something had changed about the internet while I’d been gone: it was no longer this distinct, disparate world people had to access through specialized equipment.
Now the internet was literally blending into the real world – this world – right here.
Because you could be sitting on a bus stop bench and suddenly think, “Bah! I don’t want to take the bus anymore!” And in seconds you could order, and pay for, a new scooter, to be delivered to your house tomorrow – using only your phone!
You have just made a radical transition in your real-world mode of transportation –
– and you haven’t even gotten off the bench.
I guess it goes without saying that Internet 3.0 enthralled me, just like those self-assured seventh-grade girls enthralled me when I was in sixth, still gawky and struggling to remember where my classes were.
And while I was wandering the new and only vaguely familiar online hallways, looking for the places I belonged…
…that’s when Klout, that glittery seventh-grade bitch, found me.
NEXT POST: The Final Installment
I’m Kloutta Here!: PART III
How I Was Scared, But Then Kicked That Mean Girl’s Ass