In which I shizzle
“I really love netface” she shizzled, or words to that effect. “I was browsing, and I found Neil Gaiman. My friend twittered his blog.”
She mentioned netfacing, and friendsurfing, and how as a writer you had to make your RSS accessible to everyone, which alarmed me, and she talked about other things.
I crouched in the corner, my dorsal fin angled to catch the sunlight, waiting until I was warm enough to move, and watching the shadows move across the cycads. Perhaps, I though, I will go down to the water’s edge, and watch the ammonites sail past, majestic and silent in the shallow Permian Sea.
“It’s pretty much essential,” she popped, or locked, one or the other. She said how pretty much everyone she read, everyone she knew who wrote, was on My/Live/Face/Space/Book/Journal, or something of the kind.
And I felt the cold, unyielding shape – the bull-bar, I believe, of Time’s winged chariot – pressing into my lumbar spine, and I realised that I cannot indulge myself any more, and me and the twenty first century are going to have to love one another or die.
See, for a number of sincere but self-evidently stupid reasons, I have not done this up to now. I don’t write with a quill, I don’t go to the barber to have my teeth pulled, I don’t vote for the party of small government, but I am a case of arrested cyber development. It’s the byte version of those radio stations that play Starship and, if they’re feeling edgy, Billy Joel with all of the biting social commentary left in.
My reasons for this are as many as they are bullshit. My wife is computer literate, which has allowed me to get away with being helpless (imagine one of those books where it’s all big outliney pictures, and you dip a paintbrush into water and sloosh it on the page and the colours magically appear. That is my computer reading age. I have a cyberliteracy of ages three and up. I find this kind of stuff hard).
Facebook and so forth in my head are still associated with demographics “with which I don’t want to associate”. It’s not them, as they say, it’s me: I worry about things. I imagine myself having one of these things and then I think about a forty three year old men friending someone calling herself Sexymeowth who has an icon of herself as a kitten in miniskirt, and it fills me with a mixture of contempt and despair.
Without wishing to go on about it, there are the worries associated with unprotected social intercourse.
But I know my reasons can be reduced down to a few simple, unpalatable things – fear, stupidity, self-indulgence. I like to think of this as a charming archaicism, something that evokes Montaigne, or at least Wilde, or maybe of something fusty and Old World and endearing – but it’s neither of those things. It’s disabling, it’s getting other people to do work for you, and it’s embarrassing. And it’s stopping people hearing about my work.
So – my wife, a few months back, has put me on facebook. I’ve never looked. In my absence I hear that vandals have broken in and have written things on the wall – that’s going to have to be fixed. But seriously, I have asked Kate and Rob, two of our almost manically helpful convenors, to tell us how to facebook or whatever, and I am going to find my own facebook thing, and I’m going to do it, and make it interesting, and friend, or at least aquaintance, lots of people. Writers and readers and people I know and people I want to know and poeple whose work I admire and so on.
But not Sexymeowth. She’s on her own.
Anyway – watch this space for more information.
Thanks for listening,