Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back Among Friends

I’m ba-aa-ck! I couldn’t stay away, so after a couple of years’ hiatus from this blog, I am back among my Type M friends. But I have to warn you… Having grown up with Monroe calculators, manual typewriters, rabbit ears, and “princess” phones with 25-ft cords that you could drag into your bedroom, I don’t feel truly at home in this virtual world. It’s not that I can’t navigate it. I’ve analyzed research data using complex statistics software, I’ve written eight novels and more than two dozen short stories on the computer, I’ve been prowling around the web for fifteen years. I have a Facebook page with a couple of hundred friends. Indeed, even Inspector Green has a Facebook fan page, although I confess my editor, a thirty-something, set it up.

But it still feels surreal. I will set this blog adrift in cyberspace without ever knowing who reads it. Who laughs and who rolls their eyes. It’s like shouting into the wind. I miss the face-to-face contact. The quick smile and the knowing nudge, the rush of pleasure and intimacy that comes from having an actual conversation. I know this is a tired lament often muttered by us pre-computerites to the texting, twittering generation below us, but we lose with one hand when we gain with the other. Depth. Texture. Belonging.

Writers have to build connections. We can’t sit in our garrets pounding out exquisite prose, and expect to soar to the top of the bestseller lists. Or even to pay the next month’s rent. My favourite way to meet fellow booklovers is the old-fashioned way, through book clubs, readings, signings and mystery conferences, where we can sit face to face and talk. I still do that as much as I can, but California and CapeTown are rarely within my reach. Cyberspace is the meeting ground where all readers can find us. Somehow through the blogging, facebooking, listserve postings and twittering, our voices can get heard. Cyberspace can be fun, too, digging up old boyfriends you haven’t thought about in four decades or connecting with obscure cousins in Australia.

So a big thanks to my blogger family for inviting me back. I join with optimism and humour, hoping to share some thoughts and experiences, to contribute to the noisy chatter of the mystery-loving world, and maybe to hear from people who read it. What do you think about our brave new world?

10 comments:

peter_may said...

Welcome, Barbara!

Rick Blechta said...

Welcome back! How come you look so sombre in your photo? ;)

Linda Wiken & Erika Chase said...

I'm with you re the princess phone set. Mine was mint in colour. Good to see you blogging on a regular basis! And, I'd like to hear more about those boyfriends.

Barbara Fradkin said...

Rick, I was trying to look wise. No?

Sue said...

I agree. You can't beat face-to-face. All the emoticons in the world can't compensate for a wry look or an arched eyebrow.

Good blog, Barbsra.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I agree, Barb. Nothing beats the face-to-face meeting with a friend or a reader. At the same time, there's a lot of power in the new social networking world. I am ever beginning to find it fun. Thanks for your post!

Rick Blechta said...

Perhaps an owl on your shoulder would have helped.

;)

Donis Casey said...

Face-to-face seems to be the only effective way, I think, except having a publisher who'll spend beaucoup bucks promoting you. Who can tell about all the electronic media? Are we crying in the wilderness or casting bread upon the waters, and how can you tell?

And welcome, Barbara

peter_may said...

I think I'm pretty computer savvy. I have the websites, the blogs, the Facebook fan page, the book trailers, the Amazon pages... But I'm far from convinced that any of it sells books. On the other hand, I tour bookstores in the States every year, and I KNOW that this sells books - by the thousand. The trouble is, I have to finance it myself. And it's worth it, because there is a net gain. But it's just a pity that publishers who are happy to share the profits aren't prepared to share the costs.

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