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sometimes dreams die

February 21, 2015

There are nights I stay up all night because I was thinking hard, or reading a riveting book. But the night of 2/10, part of the reason I stayed up all night was that, as I turned off my laptop for the night, it did updates. And it got stuck on #9 of 22. For 5 hours. Basically, my laptop died, after a short illness.

Today is my first day back, on my own computer — but it’s a new laptop. We haven’t gotten the dictation software working yet, so I’m manually typing this.


An hour ago, I deleted my Twitter account.

A week ago, I had notified my 900+ followers that I would do so. A few people said some nice things. I wrote them all down.

I’m guessing, if this leavetaking follows the pattern of other leavetakings, I’ll never again hear from 98% of the people who said nice things (which were, themselves, ~ 2% of the followers I had).*

That’s part of why I decided the Social Media, Twitter edition, experiment had failed, and it was time to move on. I saw people all around me, all day, every day, making friends, becoming colleagues, hell, falling in love (as far as I could tell), and I . . . wasn’t.

I want an online way to make real friends, and Twitter wasn’t it either.

I’ve failed at this many times before, so it wasn’t unexpected.


Late last year, I submitted a poem to a journal, and . . . they liked it! They wanted me to make it longer!

{I’ve written about the complications of this before; not going to rehash them now.}

I made it longer, resubmitted. Had second thoughts. Withdrew it, revised some more.

Learned a lot more about craft and continuity and voice. I think the third version is one of the strongest of all of my poems to date.

Yesterday, they got in touch with me. My poem “doesn’t fit the [current] issue, but good luck with it!”


I just checked my Submissions: Poetry spreadsheet: 32 poems have been rejected, 44 times total.


Heard back from AROHO too.

< deep breath >

I’ve been… wait-listed. There were 159 applicants. In prior years, they’ve had 80–100 attendees.

Makes me wonder if they wait-list all attendees over the limit. Or do some people get actual No’s?

I was pretty certain I was going to receive an actual No, given the whole ‘out’ as a nonbinary-gendered person issue.

I didn’t want to go to bed last night because I was afraid I’d dream about AROHO again, now that I know I won’t be returning.

I can do math as well as anyone: if they got 2x as many applicants as spots available, lots of people are going to be disappointed.

This time, I applied as a poet, but none of my poems have been published (and maybe none ever will). I don’t have an MFA or a Ph.D.; I don’t even have a B.A. in English. I’ve never taught anyone to write, and I never will.

I just really like poetry.


I have this poem about the letter ‘W’ that’s really a portrait of me and my life, constructed with words (mostly) beginning with ‘w’. There’s a line in it about “being welcomed”, which has attained mythological status in my life because it has so rarely happened.

I really wanted it to happen here.

That’s what hurts much worse than the math part. People I met last time were welcomed back. They’re excited to go, and they’ll likely renew the friendships they made there; make new ones.


What I actually dreamed about last night, as far as I remember, was deciding that, starting now, I’m going to hold out for people/places/opportunities that are genuinely excited about me participating.

If there aren’t any people/places/opportunities like that, then I’ll just do things by myself, cherishing myself the entire time.

I have value. I matter to the world. I like & love myself.


*[[Edited to add: It’s emotionally satisfying to use percentages and proportions, but sometimes they don’t make mathematical sense. Like here. 2% of N is actually 0, which is not what I was trying to convey.]]

11 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2015 21:27

    As I said before, I’m very sorry to see you leave Twitter. 😦

    • February 22, 2015 12:50

      It could be I’ll come back. But I need a clean break before I know if Iteration 2 is a good idea or not. I’ll miss it. I’ll miss you and B the most.

      • February 22, 2015 12:56

        It probably won’t help, but only a very small percentage of people who follow me ever interact with me. It seems the way people interact online?

      • February 22, 2015 13:00

        I’ve noticed that too. But… I don’t actually have better luck offline. I’ll happily try to connect with anyone I meet that I like, but most will not be interested in me back.

      • February 22, 2015 15:37

        I don’t think it’s any different offline; I think it’s actually harder to make friends offline than online. In all my years here, for all the Midwesterners’ so-called friendliness, I made two friends. One is someone I’ve met before via a writing website. Another is a spouse of a writer, whom I’ve met via LJ. I have acquaintances here, but not friends who would be there for me when I am in need, which is how I measure friendships. Neither of those friends are people with whom I can socialize frequently. I see both more frequently online than offline.

        A good exercise may be asking yourself what would make you feel welcome; and what would make you feel like friendship has developed. People have different schedules and different levels of available energy of offline interactions (as well as online interactions).

      • February 22, 2015 18:29

        As an adult, almost all of my successful friendships have been people I met through work. Since I haven’t worked since 2009, that’s a problem I can’t figure out how to fix/change. {I’ve volunteered, tried Meetup, joined groups, invited people out for coffee, etc. Nothing has been effective in creating friendships where I could expect help if I needed it.}

        I think your suggestions are genius, and I will have to consider them carefully. Thank you for mentioning them.

      • February 22, 2015 18:56

        I lived in 2 different Midwestern states, over a span of 40 years. All of my adult friends were made at jobs, and I can only think of *one* where I saw the person outside of work. Definitely none of them were people I could rely on for help if I was in trouble. So maybe that standard is far too stringent, and I need to amend that. Maybe that’s not what friends do? I haven’t had any offline friends in so long, I don’t quite remember what I can expect of them.

      • February 22, 2015 21:26

        I think that people rarely develop friendships outside of a social context. School,college, and jobs provide such contexts, but most people rarely develop deep friendships with colleagues, that I noticed. Stress, competition, the desire to leave work behind while recharging all tend to contribute, especially the last, I think.

        Most people in their thirties and beyond come with a set of friends who, for better or for worse, have been there for a while and provide that sense of security/familiarity/affirmation; after all, developing friendships is always volatile for everyone, including neuroatypicals. What if the other person rejects you, hurts you? You have no idea how they will react when you need them, etc. If you feel people have apprehensions, it is not about you per se, but about the dynamics of developing new friendships outside of a social context that facilitates and supports it.

        People do socialize around hobbies/passions and in intense environments, which is why people like retreats like AROHO (there are other retreats!!)

        Creatives, neuroatypicals tend not to form those deep early friendships due to bullying, social isolation etc, so the good news is that creative geeks are outsiders willing to befriend people much later in life. Bad news is the almost inevitable geographic distance and the fact that everyone has neuroses, often major MI issues. You’re not the only fragile outsider trying to make friends with people who might reject you, we’re all fragile outsiders with rich history of rejection and hurt.

        And then, of course, people socialize in communities of practice, including online (e.g. the writing community; AROHO is also a community of practice, but it does not happen year-round, I think). Then, of course, you (generic you) start having questions about the practice itself (“Am I a real writer?!?! What if I never sell?) which may immediately translate into an insecurity about whether the people you socialize with in the context of your online CofP will reject you. And, all kinds of anxiety comes from that. But, do they truly and really reject you, or are you perpetuating fears/patterns from before? Those are tough questions but worth pondering, I think.

        If it helps, I had to live through many iterations of these feelings.

  2. February 25, 2015 21:33

    Ah, I’m glad I’m following you here. I just realized that you’d deleted your account. I miss things on Twitter. A lot. I don’t have the wherewithal to plan something, but I would definitely like to get together at some point for a crafty/creative playdate. I’m just getting into wet felting. Perhaps you’d enjoy doing that?

    The friendship thing is really hard. I feel like it’s taken me years to have people I consider to be good friends here, and so few of them really live here any more. Most of them have moved away. We have such a transient culture.

    • February 25, 2015 21:34

      This is artcollisions (Joni), in case there is some confusion. 😀

    • February 26, 2015 00:34

      I am awful at planning things as well, but a crafty/creative playdate sounds lovely! I’ve been wondering about wet felting for a while now, so that could definitely work.

      Nicer weather first though. With snow & extreme cold, I am barely leaving the apartment these days.

      {I made an announcement on Twitter that I’d be leaving. Was pretty sure a lot of people didn’t see it, but it felt weird to announce it multiple times, so I didn’t.}

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