Ha-Ha, Just Kidding - 04.05.99

Just about a week ago now, I wrote a piece for my site that I planned on being the last one for quite some time. I was sitting at my old Macintosh Performa 450, banging on the keys and feeling almost a sort of nostalgia knowing that when I got my new computer the next day, it would probably go into a box to be used at quite a later date, or possibly never really again. Since it was so old, it really wasnít worth that much money, and since my new computer would have everything (and much much more) that I used to do on it, it would really become nothing more than a glorified paperweight.

My excuse for stopping the writing on my site was that since I would be getting a new computer, I wouldnít have time anymore to sit down and write things for my site. I had been writing things for my site every week for the past 2 years and I was going to just give it up then and there because I figured that I would have better things to do. I shut down my computer after writing that piece, then took everything apart and cleaned off my desk for the new machine that would arrive the next day.

When I uploaded the piece of writing to my site, I figured that maybe one or two random people would stumble across it and never come back. After all, there wasnít actually going to be anything new on the site for some time. I knew that I had some friends who read it on a semi-regular basis, and figured that they might give me a little slack as well, but in the long run, I didnít figure that anyone would know or even care if I stopped writing for awhile.

I set up my computer that very night and was absorbed and excited by all the instant possibilities. I could re-do my website, I could try to put together some electronic music, I could make really funny answering machine messages with sound editing programs. The last thing that I was worried about was writing something new for my site.

Then, on Tuesday morning when I opened up my e-mail, there was an e-mail sitting in the inbox from an address that I had never seen before. Not really thinking about it, I started going through my e-mail like normal, but stopped as soon as I opened it up and read its contents.

It was a letter from someone who had read my site enquiring me when I would be writing again and encouraging me not to stop. It wasnít begging me start up again, and even offered an instance where the person had felt the same way I had, but it was probably one of the nicest things that I had ever gotten. Not only was it written by someone who read what was on my site, but it was written by someone who had been reading what was on my site almost since the beginning. The thing that was even more amazing about the writer of the letter was that English wasnít even their first language. It turns out they had come across my site when it was featured in the magazine English Express and had been reading my output ever since.

Although Iíve said many times that I do the site strictly for my own enjoyment, that one letter was enough to bring a huge smile to my face and turn my position around instantly. Here was someone who had been reading my site almost since the beginning, and even though they were not quite confident about their English (which was very very good, I must say), they were inspired enough to write me a letter.

I know it sounds really cheesy, but it got me thinking again about what is so unique and great about the internet. Even someone like me, living in Lincoln, Nebraska and banging away on a super-old computer can find an audience on the web (no matter how small). Even as I was finishing reading the e-mail for the third time, I had already turned-around my self-imposed break on writing.

So, just like that Iím back and keeping up with "almost cool." Whereas last week I didnít even really feel like pumping out that last piece of writing, now Iíve revved-up enough to write for another 2 years, even if it means that I only get one more letter over the course of that time. Sure, it probably wonít make a difference and I still wonít have that large of an audience, but thatís not really the point.

Thanks, Hezhow

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