It still amazes me that the internet has become such an intimate part of my life. I am on it every day, sometimes much more than I should be. I Facebook, I post, I blog (duh!), and lately, thanks to my obsessive hero-worship of Stallone, I Tweet. But where does it all lead me?
Well, Facebook has allowed me to find a lot of old friends from high school and from my service in the Army. It has also allowed me to make new friends. And even make new friends from old "acquaintances." People that I knew in the past, but never really hung out with. Now we swap daily stories of our lives, and have become closer than we ever might have been had this thing not come along.
One friend whom I met on the Conan forums, and later friended on Facebook, is a published author. I originally started chatting with Scott Oden because he was a fan of Robert E. Howard and he loves orcs, just like me. Ironically, we differ in our opinions of orcs (he's a Tolkienesque purist, and I prefer the green meanies of Warcraft fame). But we had a lot in common anyways. So on a whim I read his first book. I don't normally go for historical fiction, but Men of Bronze was fantastic. I was hooked and an instant fan. And what's more is I found a kindred spirit. As a writer, Scott has been where I am now. And he is very open with advice on how to get past this stage of being a non-committed writer. For my part, I try to always be upbeat when he gets down on himself. He's a phenomenal storyteller, but like all of us, he has occasional doubts. Well, apparently my words, as well as a few others of us, have helped carry him through. His latest book, The Lion of Cairo, just hit the shelves in the UK. I was ecstatic to learn that he was sending me a signed copy "with my name on it." I got it in the mail the other day and found that he mentions me in his acknowledgments. I am humbled and honored. And without the internet, I probably never would have even known about Scott. By the way, Lion is excellent, and I highly recommend it to everyone. It comes out in the US in December, but you can pre-order it now.
I have long been posting on forums, and have learned a lot about life and about myself on these social constructs. My political views have changed dramatically in the last 10 years. And I even met the love of my life on one. There are good and bad things about forums. On the good side, you can say anything you like, and share your opinions openly. The downside is that so can everyone else. There are a lot of nutbags out there, and their opinions are just as whacked out to you as yours are to them. The internet has taught me how to be tolerant, and to see the bigger picture. That it's our differences that make us unique. Just like everyone else.
Blogging started for me as it does for most people. A way of keeping a journal. A cathartic release of pent up emotions, ideas and random thoughts. In the last couple of years my blogging has often taken on a more focused purpose. This blog that you are reading is where my personal (but not political or religious) thoughts can be shared with anyone with nothing better to do than to read what I have to say. And lately, blogging has landed me a "job" of sorts. Once a week for the past two weeks, I have had blog posts featured at Black Gate Magazine. I have my third one coming out this Saturday. It's not a paying gig, but that's not important. What is important is that my writing is being viewed by a much wider audience. And that feels good.
And now, I have finally drank the Kool Aid and started Tweeting. Ok, so I don't actually Tweet all that much, and for the past few days, it's been more about following what my hero, Sylvester Stallone, has to say. He only recently started Tweeting too. But today he was playing a movie quote trivia game, and I knew all the answers. I know it's only because I don't see all of the other tweets he sees in answer to his posts (he has over 30,000 followers), but for a short time I could suspend my disbelief and feel like I was having a private conversation with the man himself. That was super cool. And again, I have the internet to thank for that.
So, here I am. An unemployed house-husband and at-home dad (though hopefully not unemployed for much longer) with a lot of worries and stresses. But I can still escape to the Web. It's almost like walking into Cheers, where everybody knows my name.