Where I Am

It has been a long time.

When the original website went down, I tried for months to get everything working as it was. To be honest, I failed, and while I still have my data re-creating what once was would take substantial effort. This is the disadvantage of being a smaller operation and using software that I have no clue on how to support if things go wrong.

So I was left without a home for my creativity and my voice. The nature of online communication was changing as well, and a certain toxicity of dialogue swept over the Internet and social media like a blight. I saw civility get blown away like a parasol in a storm. I saw words turned into weapons, and slogans weaponized to inflict as much damage on the other side as possible. I saw communities, once happy and neutral living on their own, forced to take sides in issues that were really just silly and mundane in politics.

Not only had I lost the home for my creativity, I was watching my trust in words themselves melt away. There was a point in the madness where I was so lost in the storm that I began to distrust anything that was written. In this new world words cannot be trusted. Everything had a hidden meaning. Even things which seemed innocent and impartial had hidden motives attached. Every article, every opinion piece, and everyone posting on social media had this virus of thinking their words could change anything.

It is the great lie of social media. That your words will be seen and will change minds. Your chance of changing anyone’s mind and “going viral” is about the same as winning the lottery. In fact, I am coming to believe that winning the lottery has much better odds than influencing opinion on social media. The tide seems just too great.

Even things which said “they were free” became objects of my mistrust. Social media is free to use, but your input is being monetized along with your personal data. I watched what I felt was the fall of YouTube, where demonetization swept through that community like a plague of locusts. Channels where people made their living following their dreams ceased to exist. Advertisers seemed to impose standards on content, when the fact they were paying to reach eyes, not minds, escaped them. Throughout this storm I learned video could be trusted, and not words. I suppose I should explain this further.

There is a certain human connection you get when you see people speak. The words they say do not matter as much as how they feel. When I see someone talking about anything on a video, as a human I have this ability to instantly judge everything about that person. Are they having fun doing this? Do they really believe in the words that they say? Do they really seem interested in the topic that they are covering? If I see someone’s face and listen to the tone of their voice I can tell a lot more about that person then I can just merely reading their words.

Words can be endlessly put together and regurgitated by robots.

I fear we are entering an age where artificial intelligence will produce 99% of what we read. It is theoretically conceivable someone could write an artificial intelligence that scrapes everything that was ever posted on social media, and then produces an artificial mind of any political persuasion or belief system - and have that be indistinguishable from the words of a normal and real human. And then these robotic personalities will take over text – based social media and these platforms will cease to exist. You will go on and see bots fighting bots, and I suspect a huge section of Twitter is like that today.

What am I to do? I naturally find myself in the uncomfortable position of not trusting words.

As a writer that kills me. It feels like losing your religion. It feels like waking up and finding out everything you know is false. There was a time when I started all of this that I could be reasonably sure the people I interacted with online were real people. Nowadays, I’m not so sure.

What is even more unsettling is the tribal nature of all of this textual warfare. If you have an opinion about anything you will be placed on one side or the other, and then attacked. I can envision a day where 99% of these attacks come from robots. I have had friends I suspect suffered from robotic social media attacks over the last couple years. You will enter this strange world where robots constantly attack one another and your social media platform will go to hell. If you merely utter a “hot button” phrase you will attract the attention of these robots and be singled out for destruction. I use the word destruction casually, and at this time being destroyed means ceasing posting on social media.

But I fear much much worse is coming.

But these days I trust video more than I trust words. If I can see a face and hear a voice I naturally trust it more. There is something else there, that human element, that I can use to judge the validity and the honesty of the person speaking the words. I have a YouTube channel on my television that I use to get my daily news every morning. I feel the day where I cancel my cable subscription draws closer, because I get this feeling where honesty is a commodity that is worth more than gold. I cannot always trust the things I see on the news, not these days, but I can find people online who I feel I can trust. Now, this isn’t always about the news, it applies to every hobby and interest that I have. The end result is the same, as I find when I go directly to the source of people that have similar interests to me that seeing them speak gives me a greater connection to them. With cable television, there always feels like 10 levels of editing and control happening before someone thinks and that person speaks. Manufactured information. Artificial additives. I do not always trust the people I see on television, but when it is just one person and the camera I tend to trust them more.

Unless that person is a really good liar I am usually a good judge of character. With prepackaged information as entertainment I feel you get all sorts of political and hidden motives being inserted into the content before it reaches my eyes.

So that leaves me here. People still read my books, and from time to time people still ask for me to do a review. I see the slow trickle of interest sustaining itself into the words I once wrote. I wonder at times if there is a there, there. If I should rekindle that torch of hope, and start again. We live in a New World, one where the ideas of the common person threaten, or can be seen to threaten, the unknown. And in this great unknown legions of robots lurk. Why they do what they do I cannot begin to fathom or understand. I cannot begin to understand who or what is behind them, and then I look at myself in a mirror and see some crazed conspiracy theorist.

And I do not want to go there. I do not want to be that type of person.

I am discovering strange truths. The less polish and editing information has, the more I trust it. The more from the heart a statement comes from, the more I trust its source. I do not and can not trust words. Especially polished words weaponized to inflict opinion. There is a certain beauty in the raw and uncut. There is a distinguishable quality to things which come from the heart, and do not pass through infinite layers of polish and quality control. I liken it to organic food, where there are times you will get a rotten spot in a potato, or some other imperfection in a vegetable – but the fact those imperfections are there attest to the natural nature of the product.

If those imperfections were never there you would not think it was organic. It would be too perfect, too manufactured, and you would lose that holistic and organic feeling.

The sad thing is the robots know about this too.

In addition to losing my website, I lost my workstation as well to a hardware failure. My data is safe, but my entire writing environment went up in smoke. It was just another thing that added to the pile of logs on the bonfire that consumed the certainty and trust I had in the world that I created for myself. So I stopped doing everything for a while.

So this is where I am.

I have rebuilt a website and restored a fraction of the content to it. I have rebuilt my workstation and my writing environment. I watch the trickle of interest in the books I had published a while ago still maintain itself. And I have done a lot of reflection over this time.

I feel they are times you get so lost in what you are doing now that you lose sight of what you really want to do in the future. Only through tragedy and loss do we find time to take a break and reflect. This happened to me, and this is where I am.

I could go back to the past and do what I did. I have no problem doing that, but yet there is a piece of my mind that tells me I should always be trying something new. The only thing that breaks me out of the current negative cycle I am in is that trickle of interest in my books. It is that rare sign of life that tells you the world could be a different place, and that your life could be different as well.


  1. When you went silent for such a long time I feared something like this had happened. Your essay made it sadly clear you are disheartened by these events, but also made clear that your strength and fortitude will pull through.

    You are not a "failure". A failure is someone who quits... I have followed your writings for years and I do not think that is in your genes. I truly hope you can overcome the mechanical breakdowns you experienced, but even more hope that any emotional downturns and demons buzzing you will be overcome. I don't know or understand the details, but my confidence in you is strong. I wish you nothing but joy and success.

    Please keep writing.
    A fan,
    DL Davito

    1. Thank you, this means a lot. And I wish the same success and happiness to you as well. One of the beautiful things about writers is we float each other's boats, and our success does not come at the cost of others. We sail across a big and beautiful ocean together.

      I am documenting my path back, and writing each day until I find that voice inside.



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