Today I had some quality time with some of my friends I don't get to see very often (former co-workers who are either at different stores now or in a different business entirely). Then I had the joy that is the Penguin Random House Fall Preview, wherein I got to learn a tonne about the upcoming titles from the publishing house - and won a swag shirt that is pretty freaking awesome.
It's a very nice thing indeed that I can touch base with the large number of people in my life through technology. The more I'm reading Friend. Follow. Text. #storiesFromLivingOnline, the more I think I'm quite blessed to live in this age where I can drop a quick line to so many people I know from my cross-country (and crossed-ocean) life thus far. True, it's not the same as a face-to-face, but I love that on my bus rides home I can text back and forth with Stickabutter and we make each other laugh.
"No One Else Really Wants to Listen," by Heather Birrell
Wow. This one is a perfect example of a way in which the 'net has changed things. The entire story is told as entries from an online pregnancy group, where women chat from all over about their pregnancies and their lives in general. It's chummy, and sometimes it's also a bit bitter, and other times various belief systems clash and there's name-calling and anger - y'know, the internet being the internet.
Woven into these entries, however, Birrell has dropped a narrative of a woman who is facing first a nuisance, then a worry, and finally a harsh reality, and the structure of his online group starts to unravel a bit as the limitations of the form become obvious. Anonymity, pseudonyms, and the false courage both bring can be harsh.
Ultimately, this story left me feeling a wounded, much like the "New Country" character. It's hard to watch something meant to support and help turn to ashes.