I've changed a lot over the past year. Without getting all philosophical and talking about my mental state, the biggest change is how important the internet has become to me. A year ago I'd never visited an online forum, never posted a message on a blog, and certainly never made friends with people online. Are they even real people? What kind of person has friends online? And so forth.
Clearly my opinion has changed. I'm not saying I ever thought there was something wrong with having online friendships, heavens no. It was something I'd never looked into and, frankly, I didn't understand how it worked. So you go to a chat room and become friends with people? It seemed so foreign. I'm a very social person and not knowing what a person looks like seemed like quite an obstacle, albeit a superficial one.
Last August, almost a year ago, I decided to dip my toe in the writing world and my cousin Jenna emailed me a list of her favorite writing blogs. People blog about writing? I devoured the sites and clicked, clicked, clicked my way to a writing forum, Absolute Write. To say AW has helped me would be an understatement. Besides learning an overwhelming amount about writing, I've become friends with people that like me for what I have to say, not because of my haircut or the clothes I wear. I'm not saying my meatspace friendships are based on that, but online, people form their opinions based on your words, especially a in writing community.
I started this blog last October through the encouragement of Janna (remember that, Janna?)(she has two blogs), and have made more friends through Blogland. Spyscribbler recently commented how nice it is that her online friends all read a lot of the same blogs, and I agree. Conversations carry over between sites and we've created a community within the larger online writing world.
The point I'm trying to get to is I never imagined that I'd become so dependent, so reliant, on people I've never met. You make me laugh, you bring me to tears, you make me think, you've made me snort water out my nose, and best of all, you fill me with hope. Hope for my writing "career", hope for my future, everything. I've turned to advice from people I only know from the pictures they post and words on a screen, but it's helped me through the dark times.
The emails, reps, and comments I received about Ibis's graduation made this all hit home. So many people sent their congratulations - and advice for the jerky director - for the husband of a woman they've never met, and that really touched me. Thank you, all of you, for being there. I hope I can return the favor.