Friday, September 22, 2006

Lost in myspaceland

I am a bad person for not blogging more often.

My excuse is simple: I have been lost in myspaceland. It is a foreign land, an alien world whose rules I don't understand and whose cultures I have decided I am too old to begin to assimilate.

But it traps you. Two things in particular have trapped me in myspaceland.

The first was some sort of entity advertising a new sort of poetry site. urbis.com, which is still in development, puports to be a place where aspiring writers and poets can bring themselves to the notice of agents and editors. How could I resist joining? So I joined.

The site operates a wierd credit system where you earn credits for writing reviews of other people's work and spend those credits to reveal other people's comments of your own work. I posted a version of "First Night" and waited for the comments to roll in - which they duly did. 12 comments in total, of which about half were coherent. Most were positive. A couple offered some editing advice. The second poem I posted - "The Knife" - has, on the other hand, managed a grand total of zero comments over the past 48 hours. I would have thought the second poem would have generated more substantive commentary, simply because there's more in that poem that needs fixing. Apparently not.

The downside of urbis.com is offering your own commentary on other poems. The poems I have been offered fgor critique have ranged from interesting ideas poorly executed to no-fucking-idea-whatsoever. If you have ever had to attempt constructive critique on dire material then maybe you will know how I'm feeling after that experience. I've managed 5 critiques over the past week: I want my medal now!

But back to myspace. Myspace is all about the people, and there's always a small chance that you will run into someone you haven't heard from - or thought about - in decades. My friends, it happened to me!

Now, for me, school was not an issue. Yes, I was often bored at school, but I was never bullied, I was rarely belittled. I wasn't part of the "in-crowd" as such, but I wasn't part of the "exiled" either. My reports were decent, my behaviour was acceptable within limits.

But the day I walked out of that place, I never looked back.

The person I met on myspace wasn't a close friend, or even a friend as such. We vaguely remembered each other which, given there were over 300 kids in our year, isn't bad going. We exchanged a couple of messages and did a bit of reminiscing about the old alma mater.

Yet the impact of that contact on my has been fairly devastating. I've spent the best part of the week reminiscing, trying to remember people (not easy if you're prosopagnostic) and activities, trying to work out why I've not bothered keeping in touch with old school friends or visiting the old haunts on a regular basis.

I'm not comfortable with those thoughts. I'm beginning to wish I had not ventured into myspaceland at all.

And no, I'm not going to write a sodding poem about it, 'kay?

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