All the changing around I’ve done lately has brought her to mind again. Yes, Cherryn, one of the few “political” statement pieces I’ve ever done. As my husband or anyone who’s close to me knows, I’m generally kind of a “go with the flow” kind of person, but I do have a few set in stone ideals that I’m unbelievably firm on. And Cherryn was how I let one of those ideals out to play, once upon a time.
The “Cherryn Rainbow” series is one I talked about before, but not at length. Basically she came as a direct result of me deciding I wasn’t sure what to think of this Internet thing, and that maybe it was going to be more bad than good for people. By now I can see both possibilities for it, but back then well I was an idealistic 18-year-old, just starting college, where I got to see the Simmons campus get swamped by Mac computers. I worked at the comp lab back then, and I swear we installed a desktop every five feet around campus! To me, as someone who loved nature and people, that was a little freaky (kind of like watching the Borg descend upon Planet Earth). So I decided I’d be an “Elf friend” at best to the Internet, learn as much as I had to for business purposes, and that was that.
…So, of course, I ended up publishing it on a webzine. Ironic, no?
But, like I said, I wanted to learn just as much as I needed to.
It was a sobering thing, therefore, to go through the next decade: slowly I watched the word “ebook” go from one of those people rolled their eyes at, as if to say “yeah, so what you’re really saying is you don’t publish ‘real’ books”, to a respectable word. I watched magazines, from ezines to print magazines, change their submission process from mostly not wanting submissions via email to almost solely wanting them in that format, or more recently, to wanting them half the time on a completely different online form. One which you could log into and check how the submission was going. Believe me, that was unheard of even a decade ago!
I saw writers’ groups come and go online too. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums is still there and has been for ages; when I joined them sometime in college, it had been around for awhile before that! But, sadly, the great “Baen’s Bar” went defunct several years ago, now. I kind of miss it, personally; as far as I know it’s still one of a kind. They actually had a critique pool there where you could be part of their slush process, a physical part. You could critique others’ work, and in turn get your own critiqued… and there were other areas at “the Bar”, where you could learn about all sorts of things from science to sports, from writers of all different kinds (well, in fantasy and sf, that is). It was something else being able to be in the same place as Larry Niven!
I won’t say I *only* ever used the Internet for writing stuff: writing, researching, submitting. I did have a love of gaming from back when I was desperately ill. (When you’re that sick, you don’t have a lot of time to hang out with other kids even if they want you to). I used to play Myst, Riven, a bit of Spore… when I was a kid. I remember when my dad, who’s a translator, helped do the translation for this fabulous game called Albion, and he had me play through a lot of it in God mode so that he could get a picture of what the German company who’d made it were thinking of (it’s a very important thing, as any gamer knows, to get the wording just right for a plant or animal or thing’s description). So, when I got to college, I spent a hell of a lot of time at a site called Mylanders, kind of a text-play site where you’d type in interactions.
…and Cherryn went through several installments there, meanwhile, as I walked all around Boston, drew down the moon with friends of mine, hugged trees, and worked at the computer lab while trying to get a degree in sociology of health so I could help others.
Well, by the time I was a couple years out of college, my health kind of forced me into SSDI. I can’t say I like that fact, but there it is. Cherryn had ended by then, but I clung to my old ideals about computers. I started playing Zork again; I’d dabbled with that text game when I was a kid and never got past the first stage of it… to make a long tale short, it’s how I met my husband. Yes, yes, not only did I meet him via an online dating site, we hooked up partly because of our mutual love of a computer game. Lol, the first year we were together, we spent going through ALL of it. I mean 1-5 or 6. And, well, a few years later I’d progressed to World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online. (for various reasons, I’ve found they’re actually helpful to me… but more on that in another post).
But… I still love the physical world. Cherryn changed her world, got it to see that too much Internet was bad — I can’t say I’m crusading on that point, but I think it’s important to every so often let a specific point of view be heard. Just let it out there for others to ponder on if and when they run into it. Throw a note into the wind, put one into a bottle, and let someone find it who will. Butterfly effects happen daily! What would you say if you had something? What have you said? What have you stood up for and why? This is a future we’d never have pictured thirty years ago, I’m sure, but it’s the one we have. I still like the feel of a physical book, the smell of one (oh yes, I sniff books), the sensation of holding a tree or staring up at the night sky. I don’t want those ever to be taken away, and I don’t intend to ever leave them fully.
I am Cherryn.
(to read Cherryn’s tale, go to www.dotguy.net and look in the serials section)