Musing On Social Media [on social media]

It used to be that when you wanted to interact with someone even moderately famous (that you had no prior connection to), you had to write them a letter. It was a very formal and distant process. Your favourite author, actor, producer, designer, etc. were all far removed from you, even if you lived in a nearby community. Thus, for example, if you wanted to tell your favourite author how much you liked their latest novel, you either wrote them a letter or went to a public place that they were going to be (such as a book-signing). The latter usually would have (and still does) lots of access barriers. It was costly and time consuming.

As a result, there was a gulf between creator and audience. They were doing their thing in one place, while the audience (readers, viewers, etc.) consumed it elsewhere. It put creators on pedestals, but it also kept them a step removed from their audience. They did not hear every individual criticism or grievance, nor did they constantly hear how much people enjoyed their work. People could say they did not like something without everyone else telling them that they were wrong.

Social media has made it much easier to access anyone. Yes, accounts might be run by communications managers and not the actual creator in question, but in theory, one can interact with a celebrity or creator or any famous person just as easily as one can interact with friends, colleagues, and family. As far as the algorithms are concerned, these people are your friends and family. You follow your cousins and you follow your favourite writers or actors. They are all mixed up with a bunch of advertisements.

Because this is a new development over the past decade, there are conflicting rules and norms for interacting on social media. Some people see social media as a place to hide behind a screen name and treat everyone rudely or downright nastily. These people see someone being online as licence to attack them, and if their victims get upset, it’s their own fault for “not being able to take it”, not the instigators’ fault for uttering death threats and similar things. However, social media is as much a public place as a shopping mall. You can’t utter death threats in a shopping mall, so why on Twitter? Then again, there are probably a lot of people who would be fine with uttering death threats in a shopping mall. I must be naive.

Most people do not see social media as licence to be as nasty as possible, but they do see it as a place where people can speak freely, including subjective criticism and making controversial statements. It is very much like a shopping mall food court, where you can discuss something with your friends loudly enough that others can hear you, but said others aren’t expected to join in the conversation (no matter how much they might like to). However, while most people aren’t likely to have famous people in their mall food courts, they can easily have their conversation ‘overheard’ by these famous people on social media. Heck, it’s easy to tag them, even accidentally sometimes. It can be quite exciting to have a famous person — or at least their communications assistant — respond to you or like your post. You can comment on what they say just like you can your friends. You can easily delude yourself into thinking that you are actually their friend.

I’m not letting the famous people off the hook in this situation. What is the point of being on social media as a famous person (under your own name or brand), if not to interact with fans and colleagues? Don’t they want to know what their audience or readers think? Shouldn’t they want to invite some controversy about their work (not themselves) to generate conversation? If someone is critical, shouldn’t they want that addressed? If one person has a question or opinion, they are probably not alone. Answering the question or addressing the opinion is usually a good way to interact.

It is one thing to call someone out for being rude (or appearing rude, as this is harder to discern in written language) and to want people to be respectful in general. It is another thing to assume that everyone should be deferential, grateful, and sycophantic to famous people on social media simply because they are said famous people. Being the writer of a famous book doesn’t mean you’re immune to criticism of that book, let alone about other things like political views or life choices. Being the one who kept a TV show from getting cancelled doesn’t mean every choice made on the show should be taken without criticism.

Alas, what do I know? I’m a plucky provincial. Famous people move away from where I live. The only time we get celebrities is when politicians come to make big announcements.

But that also means that I see social media as a great equalizer. Yes, I can now interact with (even in one direction) anyone that I want to. I owe that person intrinsic respect, no different than anyone else. But I do not need to be deferential or keep my opinions to myself. Saying my piece on social media is no different than saying it in the mall food court. Perhaps that is a good norm: if you would not say it aloud for fear of being overheard in a food court, why are you saying it on social media? And conversely, if you wouldn’t respond to something in a food court, why respond online?

I say this as someone who doesn’t really like to be controversial. I like to use social media to entertain or brighten someone’s day. Hence my cute/funny cat photos, and no longer being on Twitter.

Posted in Reviews, Responses to Readings, Katy Rants, Katy Pontificates, Television, Books, Films, history | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Miss the Woods

(copyright 2023)

It is a warm spring day,
Time to rake the leaves,
Leftover from last year,
As the trees come back to life,
Blossoms turning to green.

For a moment, I forget.

I forget the dusty brown dirt,
The baking sun on a treeless grassland,
The artificiality of the planned,
Curated, tree-lined streets,
The hot, cracking pavement,
The cars, the horns, the angry people.

The dead leaves smell of the woods,
No one rakes them there,
They fall where they may,
Where they land, they belong,
And if someone moves them,
It isn’t to put them in the rubbish,
But to line a new home,
Build an entire world,
Feed themselves,
Disguise themselves from being eaten.

I miss the woods.

There is never enough time,
I feel that I would not belong,
That the magic would perhaps disappear,
As I retreat to my urban comforts,
But I would go home to the woods again.

I like the dark, the mystery,
The fear that I cannot see beyond a turn,
That I can’t hear or smell,
Compared to my neighbours,
That I could be left alone,
But yet, there is no such thing,
Especially not in places so full of life.

I remember that I am two metres from the street,
The measly four trees tremble in fear,
Under constant threat of death,
Should they prove too inconvenient,
Others want the grass to be perfect,
Green and even, devoid of any dead thing,
I stop raking, seeing a ladybug in the pile,
And I try to send it to safety.

The birds are singing, but only songbirds,
The ones that humans like,
Corvids and pigeons sing too,
But I am the only one who doesn’t complain,
Not that any birds care,
And they shouldn’t.

I get back into the car,
Back to human cages.

I miss the woods.

Posted in history, Katy Originals, Katy Pontificates, Katy Rants, poetry | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back Again

(copyright 2023)

I’m back here again,
Another rainy day,
Wondering what nonsense I’ll hear
From the crowds gathered outside,
All demanding you come out,
Yet not recognising you
When you do.

You stand there before them,
Words in hand,
Actions speaking louder,
Looking normal, dishevelled,
Young, yet old,
Nondescript, really,
Even messy and repugnant,
Not the one they think they are looking for.

They quote your words back,
But tell lies about what they mean,
They don’t hear your meaning, your spirit,
They hear their rules, their power,
They clamour to keep hold of it,
Grasping at misunderstandings.

I check the book and roll my eyes.

Yet I am pained as I sit down,
Their voices fainter through the walls,
Their words, their mistakes, their mocking,
All hitting me like raindrops on an umbrella,
I am safe and dry, but only if I clasp the handle tightly,
And fight the wind to keep upright,
I am safe now, and yet my appetite is gone.

We sit together once again,
Enjoying our communion,
Wordlessly, I stare at the table,
Who am I to sit here?

“You,” he replies.

I take a sip and close my eyes.

Posted in history, Katy Originals, Katy Pontificates, poetry | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Look at Me!

(copyright 2023)

Look at me!

No, seriously, look away from the screen.

I’m right here, purring away,
Nudging at your left hand,
Gently resting my chin on the keyboard,
Being careful not to drool,
You’d get mad if I did that.

I like spending time with you.

Look at me!

Pet me! Let me remind you that I have claws.

I want you to pet me,
Stop typing,
You’ve been typing for five minutes,
It’s time for snuggles.

Oops! That was the mouse.

Why are you getting annoyed with me?
You don’t want me to poke you?
You don’t want me to click things?

What’s so special about the computer?
Aren’t we your precious babies?
Aren’t we your beloved angels?

At least put something entertaining on the screen for us.

Can’t you type with one hand?
Then you could pet me with the other.

Look at me! 

Look how cute I am!

Snuggle me. Leave the world alone.

Posted in Katy Originals, Katy Rants, poetry | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Being “Good” People

(copyright 2023)

I’ve heard it said that if you need the fear of a god to make you be good,
You aren’t a good person,
As if that’s supposed to be a big gotcha moment,
As if that’s news to me,
As if I’m supposed to be saddened and shamed,
When the answer is: “No, of course, I’m not a good person,
No one is a good person.”

There are no good people,
There are no bad people,
There are people,
We’re all just people,
We are how we are,
Not inherently good or bad.

Our actions can be good,
Our actions can be bad,
Most actions are not inherently either,
But could be interpreted differently,
We make decisions,
We think thoughts,
We have ideas,
And we often mix them up,
Some good, some bad,
Some rather neutral,
Most rather neutral, really.

We mix up what is good and bad,
We mix up the kinds of actions we do,
It is fair to say that someone
Cannot be trusted,
Or that they can be trusted to do the wrong thing.

But no one is good.

Most of us want to do good things,
Because we get good things in return,
For some, belief in some kind of god,
Is part of those good things in return,
And if that is what makes them better people,
More likely to do good to me than bad,
I do not think it wise to disparage it.

Posted in history, Katy Originals, Katy Pontificates, Katy Rants, poetry | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Planet of the Dinosaurs

(copyright 2023)

They say that the age of dinosaurs ended,
That the world is dominated by mammals,
Despite that birds live on every continent,
Humans can’t even claim that,
(Research stations do not count.)

Driving along country roads,
Highways littered with carrion,
Seeds dropped, groggy insects,
Birds line them, feasting,
Digging, hunting, cleaning,
Diving away from me,
Making me feel powerful,
Surrounded by a magical whirlwind,
Instead of just driving a dirty car.

They are majestic, playful, awkward,
Annoyed, determined, undeterred,
Smart enough to time their flights,
While mammals run in parallel lines,
As though they want to be flattened,
I get that they can’t fly,
But they could run off to the side.

They are infinitely beautiful,
Varying in their colours,
Sizes and shapes,
Blending into trees so well,
They appear as if by magic,
Or standing out like fluorescent lights,
Amid grey-brown mud,
Coloured specks popping up against the snow,
Or dark black, iridescent spectres,
Helping the dead mammals return to dust.

We think ourselves so clever,
We consider them so alien,
We use their intelligence as an insult,
And act surprised when they are clever,
We consider them omens,
Propping up our own motifs,
Even being so fickle as to make
Doves into symbols of peace and love,
While pigeons are garbage eaters,
No matter that they are both the same bird.

Yet, they do not let our strangeness deter them.

They will celebrate in joy,
Singing loudly, triumphantly,
Echoing against the night,
Drowning us out in our slumber.

Posted in Katy Originals, Katy Pontificates, Katy Rants, poetry | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


(copyright 2023)

What am I doing here?

I feel like junk that got tossed overboard,
Bobbing in the waves,
Discarded as worthless,
Left to rot as I follow the ocean’s currents,
Slowly being chewed to pieces.

But you weren’t discarded,
Everyone reminds me,
You jumped off, you left,
You’re normal now,
You’re safe,
You’re in a better place,
Why aren’t you happy?

If you’re upset,
Why not go elsewhere?
Maybe you just need to stop swimming.

It wasn’t a mistake,
None of it was,
I wasn’t wrong,
I wasn’t misguided,
I wasn’t in some crazy cult,
And now I’m playing pretend,
A constant game,
Not one thing, nor another.

No one understands,
Everyone is playing at intelligence,
While being less so than birds,
And singularly focused,
On nothing that is needful.

They think I’m just brainwashed,
Or need to pray more,
Or just need to find something else,
Everyone is tired of my complaining,
I’m crazy, I’m deluded,
I’m stupid, I’m a bad influence,
I’m too focused on being right,
I talk too much,
I take up too much space.

Perhaps a rotting corpse,
Being pulled apart by sharks,
Tumbling down as marine snow
To the ocean floor,
Perhaps that is not a bad fate.

Yet I want to keep swimming,
I’ve always wanted to keep to the water,
I will never be satisfied in a boat,
A boat that is restrictive,
Filled with fighting people,
Sailing on toward the abyss,
Arguing over who should get a seat,
Going over the waterfall,
Is probably safer while swimming.

I was always meant for this.

Posted in Katy Originals, Katy Pontificates, Katy Rants, poetry | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment


(copyright 2023)

What’s the big deal about a silly cartoon bunny?
It’s just a cutesy game,
You don’t even like the Easter Bunny,
And all that implies,
You’d complain normally.

But it was fun, it was a recognition,
So much is made of Christmas,
Yet Easter is forgotten,
Treated like a one-off day,
I was happy for some cute bunnies,
And then the game changed,
As if they decided they didn’t
Want to acknowledge Easter after all.

I already feel like my holiday has been stripped away,
Left as a childish charade,
Robbed of any significance,
Just an extra special day at church,
Or another holiday to fuss about brunch,
And fine, but then leave me alone.

It doesn’t even matter about bunnies,
Or brunch, or chocolate, or egg hunts,
It’s all an anaemic charade,
An afterthought, a fun enhancement,
Meaningless and empty,
I’d almost rather stay home.

I didn’t want to be “normal”,
I didn’t want to leave,
I didn’t change my faith,
I didn’t want to give up Easter,
In favour of pablum and putty,
Made in a happy image,
Safe and soft like a cartoon bunny.

I hate it every year,
Every holiday more meaningless,
I prefer bunnies,
At least they seem to care.

Posted in Katy Originals, Katy Pontificates, Katy Rants, poetry | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


(copyright 2023)

Thousands of years,
Are but days,
Thousands of lives,
Are but heartbeats,
Thousands of bodies,
Lifeless again,
As he walks past,
He remembers.

Each one of them,
A beloved child,
A strange creation,
Different from their neighbour,
Distinct, beautiful,
Yet so alike, these neighbours,
That at his first glance,
They are hard to distinguish.

He knows their names,
Their joys, sorrows, whims,
No matter how small, secret,
No matter how useful,
He knows each face,
Each heart,
Each dusty bone,
That now lines the corridor,
The darkness claims them,
But he can see them,
He mourns.

Some are famous,
Infinitely recalled,
In love or hatred,
But most are anonymous,
Except to him,
For all who remembered them,
Now rest beside them.

He remembers those deeds,
Those monotonous days,
The sadness, despair,
Jubilation, contentment,
The amazement of discovery,
The shock of defeat,
The endless wonder at mortality.

They return to him now,
He can almost hear their voices,
He can feel their heartbeats,
As his feet touch the cave floor.

Finally, he calls out again:

“Where are you?”


It is not a soft whisper,
Only a sharp breath,
Like a quick gasp,
A last exhale,
So quiet amid the dust,
Gone again.

But he looks down to see a skull.

“There you are.”

There is no more answer.

“Wake up!”

He says it simply,
Like a mother to a child,
Not angry, but cheerful,
The morning is here,
Another day begins.

The skull splits into two,
Each filling out a body,
Atoms, bones, flesh, skin,
Beating hearts,
Breathing lungs,
Thinking brains,
Wiggling toes and fingers.

As they rise from the dust,
So too do the others,
Each one as wonderful,
Whole as ever.

“Wake up!”
He cries out again,
Spinning to see them,
Old, new,
Whether or not they knew him,
They recognise him now.

“Forgive me,” the skulls ask,
“Forgive us.”

“So be it! Let us leave this place.
Wake up, everyone!
Follow me.”

He takes them by the wrist,
Leading them back past the bodies,
Now waking, breathing,
Walking, singing,
They are all going home.

The darkness disappears.

Posted in Books, history, Katy Originals, Katy Pontificates, poetry | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the Dark

(copyright 2023)

The door is sealed shut,
The mourners leave,
The soldiers take up their post,
The noise subsides,
The festival is beginning,
The sun sets.

Dark, cold water,
Icy, frigid,
The colour of pitch,
No colour at all,
No light,
No warmth,
No air.

Amid the water,
Bodies float,
Bobbing lifelessly,
Never reaching a surface,
Beyond caring.

One moves,
Swims, twists,
Paddles, flails,
Moves quickly upward,
Breaking to air,
Darkness, but breathable.

They reach out and find a rock,
Pulling their weightless body onto a shore.

“Who are you?”

The voice asks, terrified,
No one has ever risen from the water.

“Who am I?”

There is nothing to see,
Nothing to hear,
Nothing to feel,
No terror, no despair,
Only confusion.

And yet a distant voice cries out.

The body stands, stretching their limbs,
Gradually feeling a warm blanket around them,
A robe that reminds him of his mother,
Lovingly dressing him,
After a bath as a child.

“Where are you?”

He calls out, but the distant voice has gone silent.

I came for you once,
I have been looking for you,
Thousands upon thousands of years,
I have been looking for you.

“Who are you?”
The voice asks again,
Terrified, but menacing,
A threatened animal,

He can see again,
The outline of three noses,
Three jaws full of teeth,
Six eyes.

He reaches out,
Pets one nose, then two,
Then three,
“Well done, good and faithful servant.”

The voice stops growling,
Sits up straight,
Waiting for new instruction.

“Take me to the gates.”

“Who are you?”
Now it is curious,
Three noses sniffing,
This strange body that rose from the water.

“Who am I?”

He surveys the water,
Lined with bodies,
Infinitely circling,
Toward brass gates.

“Dearest one,
I am who I am.”

Posted in history, Katy Originals, Katy Pontificates, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment