Monday, January 26, 2009

With a Little Help from MySpace Friends

Originally posted on Monday, August 27, 2007.

Okay, there are some other people I want to thank — and this brings me to an area about which I'm a bit dicey—cyberspace. And blogging. I've been given such a boost from both and I don't understand them. Not really.

The thing is, I'm technologically challenged. This is not something that started when I purchased my first computer – I have always had trouble with machines. I gave up my driver's license as a public service when I first came to live in Manhattan. When I was in drama school we all had to do crew work – building sets and costumes-- before we could graduate. After my first week in the set shop, there was a note next to my name that said I was not to be allowed near power tools. I was assigned to the wardrobe department, and after a really scary incident with the ruffles attachment, I wasn't allowed near the sewing machines. I spent three years washing dance tights and sewing on buttons by hand. But I digress.

I'm not sure I believe what I've been told about my computer. I've heard all about chips and hard drives, but I suspect that what's really in that thing is-- gremlins. And if you piss them off by pushing the wrong button they will crash the computer and make you loose three months worth of work because, okay, you forgot to back up your files, and damn it, I can't be expected to remember everything. I have a relationship with my computer that is tentative at best and don't even get me started about the laptop, which I totally don't understand.

But my stepson Colin said I should blog. And he said I should do it on MySpace which I thought was pretty much the home of teenagers who were into body piercing and tattoos -- which I also don't understand because, I'm sorry, there is no way you can convince me that it didn't hurt. I'm not making an aesthetic judgment here. Anyone who's seen my Kitty Litter Cleaning Ensemble knows I have no business commenting on anyone else's fashion sense. But are you guys absolutely sure this stuff is safe? Have there been any studies done? What's the long term impact on your immune system? What's going to happen when you get older and your eyebrows start to sag—and trust me, they will. Just be careful, that's all I'm saying. There are days when it's hard enough to cross the street safely – you know?

But back to blogging. Actually I had been tinkering with the concept before Colin gave me his edict. When I was working Family Acts I wrote a character who was a computer whiz. Given my limitations that seems just plain wrong—doesn't it? And I'll admit I did try to make Susie – that's the character's name—into an eleven year eccentric who wrote in longhand only. But – and, okay, this part is really embarrassing – sometimes my characters talk to me. I don't mean they appear in visions and tell me to save France. But while I'm working, if I make a certain decision that they know is wrong, they argue. And Susie was arguing that I was going to have to suck it up and deal with her computer skills—even if it felt like I was translating those sections from the original Chinese. She also pointed out that she would know how to blog. And I would have to do research.

Enter my friend Charlie. And when I say My Friend Charlie, it goes in caps because he defines the title. No matter what I need or want Charlie is there. And we won't even go into the numbers of times he has reassured me that I will not wind up on the streets with our dogs, Josh and Charlie, doing tricks for handouts. I asked Charlie who could give me a quick lesson in blogging. So enter Charlie's friend Richard Simms. My Blogging Guru. What you have to understand about both of these guys is, they are gifted writers themselves. And let's be honest—talented people don't always rush to help other people who are struggling in similar fields. But both of them have helped me endlessly and tirelessly, which not only makes them gifted but amazing human beings. And you can't beat that.

Anyway, Richard spent a couple of hours on the phone—he has to be one of the most patient men on the planet—and he finally managed to explain enough of the basics to me that I was able to write Susie, the blogger. Then, after I started the blogging thing myself, Richard directed my blogs to his own personal list of friends. That's called "pimping" in case there's anyone in the civilized world besides me who didn't know the technical term— and it was such an incredibly kind and generous thing to do, but then that's who Richard is. So thank you, Richard, for being in my life.

Now, enter Richard's friend, who I only know by his MySpace handle, Cat Zen Space. He's been pimping my blogs to his friends. Just because he liked my work as an actress and he wants to encourage me. Now, if that isn't beyond wonderful, I don't know what is. So thank you! Thank you for your help and support and most of all for your friendship, Cat Zen Space. Because I think I'm finally catching on to what this MySpace thing is all about – underneath all the technology and the stuff that scares me—it really is about friendship. And we all need friends. I know I do.

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