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In the beginning.

2004-10-07 - 10:06 a.m.

Itís two days before my 32nd birthday and today is the one-year anniversary of Talpidae. I almost canít believe Iíve kept on writing frequently for a whole year now. This entry is #213.

Before I started this journal, I kept in touch with people the old-fashioned way Ė by emailing them directly. Every time I had enough news to justify a page or so I would send it out to my ďupdate listĒ. This could have been every couple of months, or possibly a year could go by. The earliest entries in Talpidae are, in fact, copies of some updates I sent prior to last October which give sort of a Readersí Digest version of the year or so of my life leading up to that point.

Over the years this list has grown. Every time I left a job (and I change jobs every year), if there was someone I wanted to keep in touch with Iíd add them to my update list. If I made a new friend? On the list they went if they wanted to. Itís not like youíre on the list for life automatically either. Every time I send one of these emails I comb through the list to see if thereís anyone to eliminate. If I havenít heard back from you for a long time, or if I havenít been actually talking to you for a long, long time, off you go. If you seem to belong to a totally different era of my life, you may get cut. Three times people have expressed a preference to not get them anymore and to only get email just to them if I felt like writing, and Iím cool with that.

Sometimes people stay on the list because once, two years ago, I heard from them and they said that they really loved my updates and theyíre sorry that they havenít written back in the preceding several years. Okay then, Iíll cut them some slack and keep them on for now. Even reviewing and cutting as I do though, I havenít been able to weed out enough people to keep the list to under a hundred in quite some time.

Hereís the funny thing; I could just let people know about this journal and decide for themselves if they want to read it or not. Yet, like many journallers and bloggers Iíve seen, Iím loathe to let people who actually know me have access to this kind of window into my day-to-day life and my personal thoughts and musings. There is only a very small handful of friends who know about Talpidae and fewer still have my url. My family (except for J who sometimes reads this) doesnít know it exists and that includes both my blood relatives and my Outlaws.

Instead I keep sending out the updates. And Iíd have to say that, in terms of people that read them in a 24-hour period, they have a wider audience than any single entry here. Hereís the really cool thing about the updates though, I always hear back from at least one person I wasnít expecting to. There was a guy I didnít know that well in second-year university who was on an exchange program from Australia. We spent a night making out just before he went back and exchanged email addresses. Over the years Iíve sporadic news from him (heís got an update system of his own) and even gotten pictures of the two kids he has now. I just heard from him this morning in response to my latest update. Thanks to my updates, Iíve stayed friends with people I probably would have drifted apart from otherwise. And sometimes that continued contact allowed the friendship, which might have burned down to just a bank of coals, to be stirred back up into a fire again. I certainly credit my updates with the fact that I was at my friendsí wedding on the east coast last month.

Why am I writing this? Well, partly to marvel at the power of connection electronic media allows in these times. Partly because I am always a little bit in awe of the cool people I know and am lucky enough to hold onto as part of my life. And the other reason, I suppose, is that Iím trying to say that maybe this is part of my hope for this site.

I interact with people online that I have never met in real life because we both have this compulsion to put ourselves out there online. We read each otherís sites and maybe exchange the odd email. Unlike many journallers or bloggers Iíve never developed a personal connection strong enough this way to start up a phone friendship or actually meet anyone, but that doesnít mean I would back away from ever doing so. If I were heading to the hometown of some of the folks linked to on my ďOlderĒ page (especially Jessamyn, Sparkler, Zoot, and the no-longer-writing Jenfu), Iíd definitely drop them a line and see if they wanted to get together.

I like the thought of Talpidae bringing people into my life, even electronically, that I wouldnít have otherwise met. I find that I care about what happens to people who I just read and donít actually have any contact with at all, and I like the thought that out there, there are people who are reading about me and maybe even caring a tiny little bit about what happens to me.

And if no one reads me at all? I still like the thought that they could and that someday my future kids might have this part of me; the part that doesnít have to concern herself yet with discipline and nutrition and worrying over whether Iím making the decisions that will bring a healthier, happier, better life for them. This is my electronic footprint in the internet sands; long may the tide wait to come in.

Before - After

All content © Shawna 2003-2010
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P.S. If you're emailing me, replace the [at] with @ in the "to" line. Oh, and if you put the word "journal" in the subject line it'll have a better chance of making it past my junk mail filters.

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