Friday, May 20, 2011

The Internet and me

New technology creeps up on you. Recently I found myself rejecting a phone company's offer of a replacement mobile while my own broken one was being looked at. The replacement phone was OLD and UGLY. (And they wanted a $20.00 deposit on a mobile that would normally have been put in one of those phone recycle bins. I couldn't do it.) But I still felt a bit edgy and nervous without a mobile. How would anyone contact me?

I can remember getting my first mobile. The now post-secondary teenage children were just beginning their schooling. The mobile was a Nokia and weighed more than most small digital cameras weigh today. It must have been around the same time that we got connected to the Internet. Which we didn't call the Internet, but the World Wide Web.

It was - amazing. Unreal. Weird.

I was living with my first husband and two young children and I was trying to pursue a Well, a writing life. A collection of my poems had been published to some critical acclaim but that trajectory had been interrupted by the birth of my first child who had severe cardiac defects. I had a second child fairly promptly and had been immersed in a world where time slowed down, clean nappies were heaven and writing was done whenever it could be fitted in.

By the time we were on the www, my son was attending kindergarten and we'd all moved from the country back to Melbourne for my husband's work. I'm sure he talked about the www and I probably took a while to listen.

My early forays into the Internet were mainly connected with buying books and journal writing. I can't remember who suggested, but I can remember my utter delight in discovering I could trawl through their catalogue and order book which would then arrive at my doorsteps weeks, sometimes months later.

At the time I was obsessed with anything that would keep me writing - which is where journal writing came in. I have kept a journal from the age of about eighteen. At the time I'm talking about, I think I led a journal writing course and so, with the www at my fingertips, I searched for journal writing. Even back then I could have googled it, although google wasn't used as a verb in the early 1990s.

I got on to a journal forum group managed by a listserv. These were a bunch of people - I don't think we numbered much more than 150, who wrote in a discussion forum about their journal writing. They were managed by a 'list Mom' who posted regularly and would often offer suggestions for journal exercises, useful books on journal writing and so forth.

The list was so cosy that, from memory, a couple of members eventually met, fell in love and got married. (I'm reliably informed by my son that this happens regularly on World of Warcraft but hey, motorbike boy, we had a List Mom! It was harder back then!)

I also used to follow an online journal that was allegedly written by a member - members? - of a share-house.  It turned out to be a hoax. The participants were all actors in a proposed t.v. show. I didn't have much vested interest in this, so the revelation didn't worry me.

I did, however, post regularly to the Shiki haiku listserv. This fuelled my interest in haiku, made some of mine public and introduced me to other haiku writers, including an Australian who was then living in Japan. She commented on some haiku I wrote and, years later when she returned to Australia, we became friends.

I also followed the web journal of a young Silicon Valley programmer - either part of the journal list serv or connected to the list mom - who was then going through changes in her life. Interestingly enough Ceej is still keeping a journal on the 'net, although the content is  a little different to the earlier journal I read so avidly so many years ago. There she still is, more than ten years later, still doing the same things that she did at the beginning, but with more money - so a Lotus, rather than a state-of-the-then-art push bike - a husband and a mid-life crisis.

I guess I am doing the same things I was more than a decade ago - still writing, still using the 'net, still keeping a journal....

1 comment:

Kathleen Jones said...

yes, that's what it is isn't it? compulsive journal writing! I, too have been keeping one since I was a child. Anything that keeps you writing ..... Loving the blogosphere though and its unexpected conversations and the friendships it generates. the only problem now is finding time to write away from it!