I remember the first time I unpacked my IBM Aptiva in 1995. My memories might be the slightest foggy - but like a pointillistic portrait, some moments are more vivid than others. I remember unpacking the box from Radio Shack, assembling it, and plugging it in. Patrick Stewart greeted me with a welcome message and I felt enthralled.
I signed with AOL and my online adventures began. Chat rooms and CompuServe, Prodigy, Netscape, IRC, mIRC, Virtual Places, MSN, Myspace - the years passed. AOL allowed members to create free websites. I evolved to a blog. Soon I joined TBD which bled into Facebook which begat Open Salon, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I acquired work - I amassed friends - I attracted enemies. My online presence became more than habitual; it was inevitable. I checked statuses and posts at dawn and dusk and nearly hourly. My moods vacillated with each velocity wave I posted or read.
I remember the first time I encountered "online bullies." It was on a defunct writing website: Open Salon. Bullies and trolls sabotaged the experience until all the true talent took flight from the site. It was the first time I experienced spewed anonymous vitriol mixed with hatred.
I confined my online experience to Facebook. With the election of Obama, I noticed the tone of Facebook change. Clever intellects discarded insightful posts for copy and pasted posts of hate and propaganda. It didn't matter which side of the political aisle one aligned himself - the hatred was universal and plentiful. I began to unfriend people. If they believed each of their hatefilled spats on the communal wall, I didn't want them in my head or heart. And if they weren't spitting sarcasm or snide viciousness, they posted pious and copious posts filled with pretentious verbiage. Some concepts are too sacred to post so casually - so, I unfriended the duplicitous disciples. I trudged along touching base with a perpetually shrinking crew. Until last month.
Last month - amid all the news about Mark Zuckerberg's prostitution of our intellectual and personal privacy - I perused through the Facebook newsfeed. I read a completely masturbatory and self-congratulatory post from a man about his own good works, and I felt incensed. I had difficulty seeing with my eyes. I had to stand up and walk off my anger.
And I knew I allowed myself too far. I had allowed something sanctimonious to alter my thoughts to the point of sin. And so I expunged my archives on Facebook and I deleted (not deactivated) my Facebook account. I deleted Twitter and Instagram and every online site I had joined. All that remains is this blog.
Will I continue to post? Maybe. Probably not. Hell - three books and a play later - I've written my sins and sorrows and joys and insights. Choose any work - each are autobiographical autopsies of my immortal soul and my enlarged heart. I don't think I need to add anything.
Last night a lovely friend of mine texted me and asked why I had unfriended her. I explained I hadn't. So, this is the explanation for my absence. I've gathered a large community who've supported me since 1995. I just wanted you to know where I went ...
I have very exciting news perculating about my play ... that I'll post when I can.