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diaryland: sirilyan.diaryland.com: entry for 2000-11-24 (19:49:46)
In which our plucky young hero goes back to the Armory.

Every now and then, I get homesick.

This is pretty stupid, because there's no real reason for me to be homesick for Nova Scotia. The city I live in now has everything Nova Scotia did, plus the magic of jobs and money. (Jobs and money. That's what we need in this crazy, topsy-turvy world, I've always said. Except for the part about this crazy, topsy-turvy world, which nobody ever said outside a Jimmy Stewart movie.)

I don't particularly miss the place, even though I can still clearly remember how to walk anywhere in town, and I even remember the various incarnations of all the places I used to go. Even in a town that seemed trapped in amber, things would change - mostly they'd close and never reopen, but they'd change.

I remember people, though. Folks I'd never have met in the workaday world of a junior high student, whom I came across thanks to this weird little squawking box of mine called a modem, which actually turned my telephone into a gateway into other computers. And via modems came BBSes, which you crazy kids can imagine as being an Internet that only one person can use at a time. (And while I'm feeling old, get offa my lawn you hooligans.)

The best part of the BBS thing was that it meant that I'd meet people not only outside my normal social circles, but outside my town or city. The world became conceptually smaller even as it became geographically larger. The world shrinks, even as it grows.

One of the things that we did on these BBSes, I initiated. I'd been reading the Thieves' World series of books, a shared fantasy world in which various famous authors contributed their bits and pieces of lore and wrote stories using each other's characters. And I said to myself, "By God, if they can do it, so can I." I sketched up a rough map of a small fantasy-world peninsula, wrote some really, insanely bad piece of introductory fiction, and threw it online to see if I could get any collaborators.

Surprisingly, I did. A few other folks who were also, like me, fantasy fans and gamers (to a greater or lesser degree) hopped on board and began fleshing out the bare outline I'd offered. At the end of the first month, we had a small but vital writing cooperative. (Worlds get created, too.)

By the end of the third month, everyone but me and one other person had all but dropped out, and the two of us had had our characters converge in one particular city. We spent a long time writing, consistently writing, and even if it wasn't great (it wasn't, but it was definitely good, even in retrospect), it was actual words on paper that we could revise.

Except, she ended up having to move away, so that fell by the wayside. (I've still got the notes for my own revision of the "world book", so if I want to pick it up someday I can.)

I remembered this during my homesickness last night, and on a whim I decided to google for her. I found someone who matched the general description (person with that name who is a writer), and then drilled down and found out it actually was her. Or at least someone who'd consistently and thoroughly stolen her identity. So what the hell? I sent some email.

Turns out, it was indeed Norma. She's in Ontario now, and I'm in Saskatchewan, and her email provider is a site in Washington and mine's a cable company based in Alberta. But this Internet thing means that now, I have at least one more link to my past than I used to.

The world shrinks, especially when it grows.


(Oh, just remembered... if you want another perspective on these sorts of things, the thrill of finding people from your past is also available in Katrin's dance club remix.)

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