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(Preface: OK, so here's the deal. I haven't written much of anything for months. It's time to get back to it, but those muses up there ↑ in the blog banner are being stubbornly uncooperative. So, okay. Fine. Be that way. I'll go it alone, and use the stuff floating around in my head. Maybe they'll get jealous and come out to play.)
I've been hanging around the internet for about five years. Oh, there was AOL before that, but that was different. Kind of flat and one-directional. Today, thanks to blogging and Facebook (hard to believe that Facebook is only 10 years old!), cyberspace is a community, more of a community than the one outside my front door. I know this sounds crazy, in a delusional sort of way, but the cyber-citizens who live in my online community, people from around the world, many of whom I've never met (with a few exceptions)... Those people are my friends. Not just the Facebook kind of friends, but real friends.A couple of years ago, I invited a man I’d met online -- and his wife, lest you think there was something wonky going on -- to come for a visit. When I told my daughter I’d done that, she was appalled.
“You’ve never met him? Are you insane? You’re gonna end up dead in your bed.”“Not to worry,” I told her. “I know him. It’ll be fine.”
And it was. They came and spent several days. We had fun. And I’m still among the living. Because you know what? I did know him.
I’ve met several other people from my internet community, and lo! In person, they were exactly the people I’d come to know online and think of as friends.
Somehow, the internet makes it possible to develop an intimacy with total strangers. My dictionary defines intimacy as “close familiarity or friendship; closeness, rapport, affection, confidence.” I would definitely apply those terms to many of my online relationships. This intimacy is based on more than just a casual relationship. Over time, you come to “know” people, to know about their lives, their family, their likes and dislikes, what makes them laugh. When you see their names pop up on Facebook, in a text or a blog comment, it gives you the warm fuzzies.So how does this happen? Well, my current theory is based on the fact that I “met” many of my online friends through writing. Some of that writing is like this post, a bit of a rambling mind dump. But it also includes fiction, poetry, and most recently, some scripts. I’m not sure why, but here’s what I think. People present something of a public face when going about their day, just being themselves. But when they write? Oh, my.
The words come from the core. They’re fed by the writer's heart, and his or her dreams and fantasies as well as the mind. And the writing carries echoes of the past as well as the present. It’s like a window into the writer’s true self. And the trust writers place in their readers when they expose themselves like that? Well, that builds intimacy.
Anyway, that’s my theory. Am I crazy, in a delusional sort of way? Maybe. But it’s a good thing.