Rising Tide (again…)

Yes, again. Because a rising tide still raises all ships. That’s never going to change. The only thing that changes is the height of the tide, which is something we (you and I) directly control.

You can read the original #risingtide post here

This post was supposed to be up Wednesday, but never made it. You see, my father had a stroke late Tuesday night and I pretty much dropped everything I had going on to rush back to St. Louis. Now, I didn’t post anything specific about my father on social media since it’s not anybody’s business and I don’t want fake fucking sympathy from the online world. However, while I was at the hospital on Wednesday morning, I was treated to something special by pure chance: two Cardinal baseball players (Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta) were there pitching and hitting with the cancer kids and their parents. The kids were all laughing and smiling and just generally have a great time, enjoying their life despite the shittiness of dealing with cancer (fuck cancer, btw)… yet fifty feet and two turns away, my dad was in the ICU, suffering through the effects of his stroke. It’d been a mere 12 hours and the probability of having another was still pretty high.

imageI snapped pictures of the players and posted those to Facebook with a short blurb about being in St. Louis unexpectedly and watching the Cardinals’ players. Because it’s just damn cool of any professional athlete to do something like that, to take time out of their personal lives and career responsibilities and play with kids they don’t even know. Not nearly enough of them do.

This got me thinking about how I had originally been disappointed in the lack of enthusiasm for #risingtide and now, after this last week, and seeing the juxtaposition of life and (near) death in the hospital, I wondered more whether or not I was being an idiot in thinking that writing about #risingtide again was smart or would be met with anything other than the usual TL;DR bullshit. I should actually clarify that last thought; my thinking was more about whether or not anyone really cared about #risingtide in general, or if anyone cared about anyone outside their own little circle.

You see, out of the maddening crowd of hundreds of “friends” I don’t really have on social media, only three people actually messaged me with a “what the fuck is going on” and offered me assistance and, you know, human empathy. It only reinforced the “little circle” idea, and then I thought, is that such a bad thing? It’s nearly impossible to promote or help everyone, I realize this, and I certainly don’t promote every writer I know. Some of them aren’t my kind of asshole but mostly, for me, it’s time. If I shared or retweeted everything from writers I knew, that’s all I’d do. So instead, I focus on those writers I’m really friends with and that seems to work well enough as far as time spent vs assuaged guilt.

But I’ve never turned away anyone who’s asked for my help. As a matter of fact, I’ve offered help to complete strangers at conventions who were “writers” and asking a metric fuck-tonne of questions. I’ve always given them my Facebook information and told them to message me, let me know where we met, and we’d go from there. Sure, I’m a small guy (reputation wise, large in every other sense) and I have a lot of growing and improving to do, but I’m still published. I still get paid for my writing. I bring things to the table, and by golly, people like me. By and large, though, these convention writers never follow up. Sometimes I think I should go find them, but I don’t.

Maybe those writers are like me? I don’t ask other writers for help, unless I know them personally. It’s why I don’t have blurbs on my books or too many cool stories about some of these bigger named authors… I just don’t invade their Facebook, their time at conventions, or their email boxes. First off, I’m too shy for shit like that, but I also know time is valuable and not every author feels the same way I do about sharing their time.

All this has led me to the conclusion that a #risingtide, instigated by a few people, is still entirely possible. We all pay attention to our own, first and foremost, and go from there. It’s like any other movement, where it starts small, catches fire, and grows. When you retweet or share an author’s work, review, their post, anything… it’s simple. Add #risingtide to your post.

Let’s flood the coastlines.

I hope you’ll be a part of it.

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