Posted by Leann Sweeney

I'm not talking about drugs or Alzheimer's here, though at times spaced out does describe my mental state. Okay, maybe half the time. Anyway, I am talking about the Internet. Again. I suppose a hundred years from now, when people can transfer their thoughts without benefit of keyboard or telephone or writing something in longhand (longhand probably won't take a hundred years to disappear), they will look back on how we socialize and publicize and communicate in this day and age as the funniest, most stupid thing in their world. And I might be looking down from heaven (because of course that's where I'm going <g>) agreeing with those folks.

In the beginning of my technological journey, I felt quite proud of myself. I could learn what the kids were accomplishing so easily. I could do this. I embraced the Web, I taught myself how to fix my computer's mistakes--notice they belonged to the computer and never to me. Then I somehow found myself cursing like a sailor at my wondrous machine when it acted up, which is very odd since I have never been around sailors. Computers will do this to you. Make you nuts. But I digress. This World Wide Web opened doors for me. Connected me to strangers without having to put on make-up or change the shirt with the ice cream drips down the front. I was sailing. There they are. Those damn sailors again.

I joined a few lists and exchanged work with other writers. A miracle. My first critique group and it was all online. I communicated with my kids at college, I sent my husband e-mail at work when he didn't answer his phone (gotcha, Mike), I ended up teaching other nurses at my job how to use their computers when the mandate came down that they HAD to start using those things the school had paid so much money for. But most of all, I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. Very fun. And then best of all I met my editor online, that one person in NY every writer is searching for--the one who falls in love with your work. Great story, yes. One I will never forget.

But then the Internet started to get big--as in crazy popular, as in millions and millions of people popular. And I find myself falling behind. I can program my phone, even take pictures with it, work the TiVo and buy lots of shoes online, but I cannot figure out all these SPACES. There's MySpace, Bookplace, Crimespace and blog after blog after blog. Hell, I'm lucky I can find my way here every week to post this little slice of nothing. Am I right, ladies? (And any gentlemen who would dare read a blog with all these flowers right there on top). Are you feeling my pain? Are you feeling just a little old?

My instinct tells me these spaces are not good, that somehow they are just a little evil, which is probably prompted by the occasional naked woman with silicone breasts who wants me to add her as a friend or that creepy guy with the steroid biceps who thinks I'm hot and who makes my hair stand on end--and not in a good way. Yet I have my space on MySpace--ridiculously redundant as it forces me to put it. Why? Because I do not want to be left behind. I do not want to miss out on some brilliant producer FINALLY finding my books on one of those spaces and offering me that gigundo contract. Writers are nothing, if not dreamers.

And yet, when I visit my spaces, I most times end up feeling confused. Yes. Dazed. Rather like a drunken sailor.

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