John-Paul Flintoff

Came off Twitter entirely | JPF Weekly

Published 20 days ago • 2 min read

Hello Reader

Thank you for your replies last week. These included useful, touching and potentially entertaining tip-offs, distressing personal news (I sincerely hope the medical trial goes well) and an invitation on WhatsApp that I missed until too late (I’m sorry, you-know-who (Andrew)).

I missed it because I have turned off notifications on WhatsApp, which I loathe (forgive me) because is owned by Facebook, aka Meta.

Perhaps I should quit, you might say. Perhaps I should.

A few months ago, I came off Twitter entirely

Not just (as I’ve done before) deleting the app from my phone.

And not just (as before) unfollowing everyone, which was scary because if everyone noticed they might unfollow me back, banishing me into outer darkness, a loathsome toad, amid wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Nope. This time I deleted my whole Twitter account, and I didn’t bother to download my data, as the quitting procedure suggested. I don’t want my data!

I don’t remember everything I said to people in the 70s, 80s, 90s… Why do I need to remember what I tweeted? I haven’t got time to look through it all anyway. I’m too busy posting to Instagram etc.

When did I start working for these people, for zero income? Approximately when my paid contract with The Sunday Times ended. (Interesting! There’s got to be a lesson in there, somewhere.)

But why am I telling you this?

I dream of a time when we don’t feel the need to devote so much precious time on addictive, out-of-our-control social media but can still share stuff directly with people who (for now, anyway) want to receive it.

I didn’t post anything about quitting Twitter on Twitter, or on any other social media because I couldn’t see the point – I might have changed my mind, and / or the Forces of Darkness aka Algorithm might do something beastly to me as punishment.

So: I’m putting a lot of hope in these emails. If you think anyone else might like to receive them, please spread the word.

Events News

  • Mondays at 5pm UK, Author’s Drop-in on Zoom.
  • Wednesday afternoons in Hampstead, north London: Impro for Storytellers.
  • Thursdays 4pm UK, Interview Club, followed at 5pm by Speaker’s Drop-in. Both (separately) on Zoom.

Please email if you have any questions.

What I’m Writing / Reading

Writing: A book proposal of my own, and (ghosting) book proposals for two other people.

Reading: In the last few years, I’ve become mad-keen on short stories, not only because they’re easier to fit into a busy life. There’s something crystalline, perfectly formed about the best ones.

As a reader, I’m growing up a bit. Having always thought Chekhov was a bit of a bore, I’ve realised that in fact he’s the best of the best.

If you’re interested in reading more short stories, I recommend two New Yorker podcasts. In The Writer’s Voice, writers read aloud stories of their own. In Fiction, writers choose someone else’s story from the New Yorker archive and discuss it with the fiction editor.

The podcasts have introduced me to SO much good stuff.

So too has a weekly newsletter, A Personal Anthology, in which (each week) guest writers recommend a dozen or so favourite stories. I’m also a paid subscriber to (Booker-winner) George Saunders’s Story Club. It was Saunders who helped me to see my Chekhov-blunder in his terrific book A Swim In A Pond In The Rain.

I recommend them all.

Till next time.


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John-Paul Flintoff

Hello!, thanks for popping in. I'm a writer, illustrator and performer.

📖 7 Books in 16 languages 📚 including: How To Change The World A Modest Book About How To Make An Adequate Speech.

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