Bullfighting on Twitter

This past Monday, I’d had it with Twitter. Rather than give up, I took the bull by the horns. Because that’s what we do here.

I deactivated my Twitter account @everydayepistle. Please follow me now @AimeeWhetstine if you like. 

matador, as seen in the Plaza, Kansas City

matador, as seen in the Plaza, Kansas City

Inquiring minds want to know. Why this change? Why now? Here’s the skinny:

1. Forgive me for being undiplomatic, but I hate Twitter.
Maybe I just don’t get it. People have explained Twitter to me as a cocktail party where you can chat with absolutely anyone. How cool is that?!

Eh. There’s something to be said for hanging out at a barbecue with people I already know. Dear Mr. Zuckerberg’s endless string of arbitrary changes is tiresome, but Facebook is more my speed. There’s context to Facebook—mutual friends, profiles, photos, a virtual paper trail of posts, comments, likes. Yes, some people present falsely, but only the hopelessly diabolical can keep up a Facebook farce for long. True colors shine through.

Meanwhile, Twitter is context-free. Commitment-free. A breeding ground for trolls and propaganda. It’s easy to hide behind 140 characters. Olé!

Unless you have a gazillion tweeting friends or followers, Twitter is also like an echo chamber. It’s you, standing alone in the arena, waiting for the bull to rush you. Your tweets disappear into the chaos of the crowd. Who knows where they’ve gone or who’ll read them? Who knows if anyone will read them at all or if you’ve just wasted two precious minutes of your life distilling a profound thought into an acceptable tweet. There isn’t enough time in the day, folks.

And yet, if I want to write, if I want to participate in social media, if I want to connect with people in the 21st century, Twitter is a necessary evil.

2. If I write it, my byline needs to be on it.
Ross Douthat has more than 21,000 followers on Twitter and follows 110. Peggy Noonan has nearly 75,000 followers and follows 85. Beth Moore has more than 300,000 followers and follows 50. Seth Godin has more than 260,000 followers and follows no one.

These are a few of my favorite writers. They don’t follow. They tweet and leave the following to others. They invest their time doing what they’re obviously good at and what I suspect they enjoy most. Notice it’s not Twitter.

They tweet with their own names—except for Seth who uses @ThisIsSethsBlog. It’s rather spiffy to use a cool Twitter handle, brand name, or blog title. It’s just that for me, for now, I want ownership and accountability. I’m no Peggy or Beth, but I want you to know who’s speaking and who you’re speaking to.

3. It’s time to clean house. 
The terrorist attack in Boston was less than two hours old this past Monday afternoon when a writer I was following tweeted something beyond irresponsible. I’ve told you here before that if you so much as breathe the wrong way on my child, Momma Bear will make an appearance. Well, kicking my country when it’s down isn’t a good idea either.

Liberal news outlets have carelessly, callously promoted inappropriate ideas since the bombing, but this writer was first to do it on my feed. I’d mistaken her for someone she isn’t. I’d been gored.

I've heard Spain is nice. Photo credit: Contando Estrelas

I’ve heard Spain is nice. Photo credit: Contando Estrelas

And you know what? It’s my bad. I’d assumed without knowing. I’d trusted without verifying. Her response to my calling her on the insensitive tweet showed she clearly couldn’t care less who I am or what I think or even how her tweet insulted citizens who still love America and emboldened those who hate us. (By the way, if you live in America and hate America, please consider moving. Abroad. Think of how much happier we’d all you’d be.)

That was the last straw. Within 24 hours, I’d closed my old Twitter account and started over, determined to make a fresh start. Ah, catharsis.

Between you, me, and the fencepost, I’d like to continue writing about things that are important to me, but life isn’t a popularity contest and Twitter doesn’t have to be a blood sport. Read and follow if you like. Block me if you don’t. I’ve got work to do. As myself. As Aimee Whetstine.

God bless America.

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

Pasodobles Españoles by Pepe El Trumpeta.

I cannot be the only person out there with Twitter malaise. Can you relate? Or if you love Twitter, won’t you kindly share a tip or two?

photo credit: Contando Estrelas via photopin cc

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Filed under America, blogging

10 Things I Learned on My Spring Blogging Break

Hi. How you been?

solution focused

solution focused

My spring blogging break lasted longer than expected. Lots to tell you. Where to start?

Amy at Using Our Words writes a regular column of 10 things she’s learned each week. She’s the boss of this format, which I am not—and she’s funny, which I am occasionally. In homage to Amy, here’s my list of 10 things I learned while I wasn’t blogging.

  1. “Vacation” doesn’t capture the magic of a trip to Disney World. “Triathlon” would be closer.
  2. Sometimes the answer is as simple as giving the dog a new toy.
  3. There are a lot of mean people on the internet.
  4. Two and a half hours is a looong way to drive to the nearest Loft.
  5. Moms don’t exist until they’re on the phone, applying their makeup, or sneaking a nap at which time they’re indispensable and needed right away.
  6. When your stress level reaches a certain point, you can actually feel your axons and dendrites ache.
  7. Writing takes time. Writing well takes time and editing.
  8. Opportunity costs stink.
  9. Skype rocks.
  10. A good pair of khaki shorts never die.
still kicking

still kicking

Carry on.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT

Something good this way comes.

Guess what? (No spoilers if you know what.)

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Filed under blogging, humor, life

Going Shrimp Cocktail

cold turkey?

cold turkey?

Somehow, someway, we made it to spring break. Hallelujah!

Change is fast approaching. We got some things going on here. I hope to tell you more soon. For now, I’m taking some time off with my guys to regroup.

I’ll still be around, so it’s not like I’m going cold turkey.

It’s more like I’m going shrimp cocktail.

Yes, chilled shrimp cocktail with just enough fresh horseradish in the red sauce to stir the heart.

shrimp cocktail, photo credit vanhookc

Now that hits the spot.

See you on the other side of delicious.

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Psalm 62:1 NIV

Not for a Moment by Meredith Andrews. Beautiful, beautiful song.

Thank you for blessing me with your readership. Happy Spring Break!

photo credit: vanhookc via photopin cc

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Filed under life

BlogHer Runs Women and Guns Story

Photo credit Marie Bowers2

click to read ‘How Gun Ownership Empowers Women’

Women and guns. Guns and women.

Will she ever stop writing about this? 

Yes, I have other things to say. Come back tomorrow.

Today I need a favor.

BlogHer published a new story I wrote. No matter what side you’re on, please go, read, comment, share. Our country deserves to hear many voices in the debate about Second Amendment rights. Post haste. Go now.

How Gun Ownership Empowers Women

I can lose my hard earned freedom if my fear defines my world.
One Girl Revolution
 by Superchick!

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Filed under America, women's studies

Women and Guns Photo Essay

photo credit: Windy Borders

photo credit: Windy Borders, pistolsandpumps.com

My research to write about women and guns has connected me with many thoughtful, intelligent, brave women gun owners and enthusiasts. It’s been an honor to hear their stories.

They’re a beautiful bunch.

Take a look at a dozen of the photos they sent me. They communicate a simple, yet profound message: the entire United States Constitution applies to all American citizens, male and female.

United States Constitution. Bill of Rights.

photo credit: Elisabeth Sitton

photo credit: Elisabeth Sitton

Second Amendment. Bearing Arms:

photo credit: Theresa Wegner

photo credit: Theresa Wegner

A WELL REGULATED MILITIA

photo credit: jldphotographyblog.com

photo credit: jldphotographyblog.com

BEING NECESSARY 

photo credit: Charla Balogh

photo credit: Charla Balogh

TO THE SECURITY 

photo credit: Christel Oliphant

photo credit: Christel Oliphant

OF A FREE STATE, 

photo credit: Val Wagner

photo credit: Val Wagner

THE RIGHT 

photo credit: Jesse Bussard

photo credit: Jesse Bussard

OF THE PEOPLE 

photo credit: Marie Bowers

photo credit: Marie Bowers

TO KEEP

photo credit Neena, hooeycritic.com

photo credit: Neena, hooeycritic.com

AND BEAR ARMS

Tiff with Gun

photo credit: Tiffany Nevil

SHALL NOT 

photo credit: Sallie Molina

photo credit: Sallie Molina

BE INFRINGED. 

Now hear this: One Woman Army by Kate Earl. A brilliant, new favorite. There’s a sweet twist at the end of the video, so watch the whole thing.

cwgcover

Chicks with Guns by Lindsay McCrum

If you liked this post, you’ll love Lindsay McCrum’s stunning book of photography, Chicks with Guns. Real women with the real guns they own.

You’ll also love The Debutante Hunters, a documentary short by Maria White. The film, featuring Lowcountry women who hunt, won the Audience Award in the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The Debutante Hunters will be released on iTunes this spring.

Disclosure: I am not being compensated to promote Chicks with Guns, The Debutante Hunters, or the U.S. Constitution. 

If you’re a woman who owns a gun and would like to share your story, please email aimee (at) everyday epistle (dot) com.

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Filed under America, women's studies

Speak Out

This past weekend, I read an article in The New York Times that crushed me: The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking

That story, coupled with Modern American Poetry’s photo essay of the Holocaust, reminded me of a quote from Martin Niemöller, a Protestant pastor who spoke out against the Nazis and spent seven years in concentration camps.

Niemoller

How could so many people know what was happening right under their noses and not speak out? What do you know about that’s happening right under your nose?

Will you speak out?

Speak out for those who cannot speak… from Proverbs 31:8 NRSV

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Filed under America, words to remember

Women Gun Owners Shoot Straight

Today my first story about American women gun owners was published on The Broad Side, an online women’s opinion magazine.

Photo credit Charla Balogh

click for Women Gun Owners Shoot Straight About Firearms, Violence, Second Amendment, photo credit: Charla Balogh

I’m grateful to the women gun owners and others who generously shared their personal stories for this post. Their impassioned narratives inspire me.

You know that Titanic feeling you get the moment you realize you may have hit the tip of an iceberg?

I’m astounded that my informal request to hear from women who own guns is still yielding heartfelt responses. It’s as if women gun owners haven’t been asked to comment on our country’s current gun debate. Or, if they have been asked, their perspectives have largely been ignored.

I don’t own a gun, but the research I’ve done so far about gun rights gives me pause. What if I want or need a gun in the future and can’t get one because the government says so?

What if, by not exercising my Second Amendment right to bear arms, I inadvertently jeopardize that right for my fellow citizens like the law-abiding women in my article, not to mention for myself, my son, and generations of Americans yet to come?

Our Founding Fathers (and Mothers) must be rolling over in their graves right about now.

Photo credit Marie Bowers

photo credit Marie Bowers

My head is spinning with story ideas to follow (including plans for a photo essay of all the wonderful pictures the women gun owners sent me). But for today, I ask you to click over to The Broad Side to read Women Gun Owners Shoot Straight About Firearms, Violence, Second Amendment. Whether you are pro-guns or pro-gun control, I’d appreciate your thoughtful and respectful comments, and I’d covet your shares of the post.

The Broad Side admittedly skews left. Publishing an article like this is a big step for them, and I admire their courage to do so. I hope you’ll join me in demonstrating how listening to different perspectives on controversial topics is one of the best ways to ensure the health of our republic.

Please read:

Women Gun Owners Shoot Straight About Firearms, Violence, Second Amendment

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Filed under America, women's studies