Tag Archives: friendship

Cyber Friendships: are they real?

Tonight I commented on a thread over at Agent Query.  A few minutes later, my cell phone chinked, indicating a new email.  I knew without checking who it would be.  And I was right.  I’d received a PM from a dear friend of mine based on my comment.

There, I admitted it.  I don’t live in the real world.  I talk to my cyber friends as if they were right here with me.  We joke, laugh, poke fun at our foibles and support each other during some pretty rough times. 

I adore my writing friends, and since I don’t know many writers personally, my fellow scribes live mainly in my mind and on the internet.  And yet I care about them in the same way I care about my real life friends.  

I’m quite certain my DH thinks I’m mad and I keep peeking over my shoulder so he doesn’t slip on my little white coat.  After all, it’s probably not normal to talk about people who I’ve never met as if we just left the bar together two hours ago. 

My kids probably think I’m the biggest hypocrite alive.  

“Don’t ever talk to people you don’t know online.”  Oh yes, I’ve said this more than a hundred times.

And yet, here I am, sharing life and passion with complete strangers whom I call friends.  Heck, I’ve prayed for them, danced the happy dance for them and gotten my feathers ruffled when I felt an injustice had been done to one of them.

Is this wrong?  Can you truly be friends with someone you have never met?  Will likely never meet?  If  no, why not?

Do you know who you write for?

Kids can teach us a lot about our writing.

In honor of National Poetry Month, my Dear Daughter is in the midst of her poetry unit for English.  She has to create a poetry book consisting of selected poems from different authors with different themes. 

I pointed her in the direction of Lewis Carroll.  She immediately loved the ease of copying The Crocodile’s eight sentences.  She waffled over the Jabberwocky, and in the end, refused to write it down. 

“It’s too long.” 

Instead, she flipped through Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends and found the poems with the shortest lines.  Literally the least amount of words.  Yet she handwrote several monster sized poems with thirty plus lines each.  Those were on friendship.

The patriotic poems were each four sentences long (the shortest number of lines possible for this project).  She used up both  her short poems on these, with another four needing at least eight lines and the remaining having to be ten or more.

The moral of this project is actually pretty simple.  Know thy audience. 

Shel’s whimsy was no longer important enough for her to copy more than a handful of his words.  Patriotism (which I used to think she had in abundance) was relegated the lowliest of positions. 

The monster poems?  Friendship and love. 

Those were the themes that had her scouring poem after poem and book after book in search of the perfect stanza. 

Know thy audience (and their tastes). 

Without me paying attention, she somehow moved past the middle grade novels with bullies and mysteries and wry humor, and is firmly entrenched in relationships.  She is the quintessential YA reader, regardless of my perception that she’s still waaaay to young to fall in that category. 

Writer, know thy audience. 

It is a deadly trap to assume that what we started writing about–and who we started writing for–are still one and the same.  Trends change.  Tastes change.  Certainly, novel writing as a whole has changed. 

Manuscript length, content and stye are not constants in the publishing arena.  Even genres are fluid and reflect the nuances of society.

If we are to survive in this new environment, we must embrace these changes as readily as a mother watching her kids grow. 

We may not like it.  We may wish to slow time down for our own ease and comfort.  But in the end, we simply cannot continue to write statically.  If we try, we may find ourselves relegated to the lowliest category possible.  The place that garners no more than four lines’ worth of a reader’s time.

I used to think of myself as being an astute writer in terms of audience.  In light of DD’s project I may have to revisit the idea.  Because, like it or not, the element that changes the most in the publishing industry is readership. 

Do you feel like you have a handle on your intended audience?  How do you keep up with their changing tastes/maturity/interests and the fluctuating lines that define the genre you write in?  Do you have any stellar tips to share to help the rest of stay ahead of the game?

As always, your input and commentary are as much a part of my blog as my own posts.  I appreciate hearing from each of you and learning from your experiences.

Two Truths and a Lie

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE

It was easy to dump my best friend.  Because, really, she wasn’t my best friend anymore.  We had grown apart.  Each walking different halls at school with different girls.  Maybe I shouldn’t have done it on Facebook, but I liked that I didn’t have to tell her in person. 

I also liked the kudos I got from my other friends.  My new friends.  The cool ones.

It was easy to text her all the things I wanted back.  My CD’s.  My blue tank top and matching shorts she borrowed when she spilled her malt and needed something to wear to the movies that night.  The newest book in the trilogy we were both reading. 

When she stood on my porch with a box, I made my sister answer the door so I didn’t have to talk to her.  She was just too lame for words. 

Her t-shirt was rumpled and her hair was tied back in two low pig tails.  Totally yesterday and not at all in.  I hid behind the door where she wouldn’t see me, hoping she would beg.  Just a little.  It would definitely earn me points with my new bestie, who stood beside me, snickering softly into her hand. 

Instead, she straightened her shoulders and turned away.  My stomach hurt until the party that night.  Guys, games and a dark room.  Did I mention these were the cool kids?

It was easy to fit in with my new crowd.  I learned that we were just better than everyone else.  We might talk about the same things, worry about the same things and laugh at all the same jokes, but we ruled the school.  No one could touch us.  We didn’t want them to.

It was easy to forget she taught me to smile when everyone else laughed at my messed up teeth.  It was easy to forget that she dried my tears when I was the punchline in the cool kids’ jokes.  It was easy to forget I ever thought she was special.

All I saw now was how she laughed too loud, flirted too much and didn’t care what anyone thought about her.  A-nnoy-ing.

It wasn’t easy to pull the box out from under my bed.  There was more in it than I thought.  Matching t-shirts we made on a hot summer day.  Home-made fairies in dresses of blue.  My favorite color.  And pictures.  So many pictures.  Of us swimming, fishing, hiking, laughing, making faces, hugging…

It was easy to blame her for our break up.  If only she had cared just a little, tried a bit harder, then she could have joined the cool crowd like me.  

And I wouldn’t be crying in my room all alone.