On-line vs Next Door–Which community do you live in?



On the metro, my head stuck in my crit partner’s chapter, a woman slipped into the empty seat next to me and asked if we knew each other.  A touch irritated from being pulled from a great story and behind in my promised delivery of the critique I grudgingly looked up and lo and behold, we were…acquaintances. Our kids used to be on the same sports team although hers were older, so no friendships among the children had ever developed. Even so, I put my work away, not without regret, and we chatted about our kids and local schools until the metro delivered us to our stop.

Why am I wasting time discussing a common, everyday style occurrence?  Because I felt really resentful that I was pulled out of my real world, the important one, to spend time in a space and conversation whose value alluded me.  I didn’t want to talk, I wanted to stick my nose back in the chapter. Doesn’t that just generate some disturbing questions?


In a nutshell, I’ve developed some important relationships with some on-line folks, scattered throughout the world, that I’ve never met in person, that matter, because we’ve built a community of practice and support around our back straddlewriting–an act for each of us that lives in our blood, and a part of our lives as integral as breathing. The woman on the subway, arguably a neighbor, I used to interact with at sports functions and meets. Our action was by virtue of place (not personal interest) and the one common element that held us together (kids sports) was now gone. I wished her well but she just wasn’t a real part of my life anymore. Good manners had me tuck my papers into my bag and give her my full attention.


Here’s the gist of my problem. Both matter but with time so constrained in life, its as if I have to choose between things that matter and that choice is neither easy nor obvious. With an hour commute to work, I changed from driving to taking the metro to carve out more time to support my writing life. My on-line world also nurtures that dream and my potential, it is one of the few things I do that helps me become who I aim to be.


My local world underpins my everyday life, and includes maintaining a wider set of aquaintances in a world of unknown challenges because local matters on a base physical scale when a storm hits, when a virus goes serious, and the internet and phone connections goes down.


Of course, they overlap, but the asynchronous nature of the web means that whole communities form with meaning and intent that have no relationship to physical space anymore. What does that mean when you’ve invested your time, and the storm hits, the electricity goes down, and you are disconnected totally and utterly from one of your worlds of meaning?


And with ttime flyinghe competition for the scarcest of our resources–time–my resentment to sit with the acquaintence didn’t feel right. I should welcome all social interaction in the physical world with those who touch or have touched my local life, shouldn’t I?


Do you have feel like the infrastructure of your life is shifting?  Like you don’t know which world you really live in anymore, and or how to balance time priorities with your need to interact in both worlds?

To be or not to be…a cyborg?

I may want me a sexy cyborg, but do I want to be one?  That question is sitting on my table, staring at me, demanding my attention. I can’t seem to look away.

A disk in my neck has collapsed, permanently.  Pain and discomfort levels are tolerable but never far away.  The only real cure is to rebuild the disk with titanium and plastic parts.  If I do, that becomes my first inexorable step into cyborg—part human, part machine.

Stop the melodrama, Sabrina. (Yes, I can hear you out there.)  Lots of people have rebuilt parts, my mother included, and for many it’s been a true god send.  As we age, the integration of machine parts into our bodies gets more likely.

But for this future obsessed geek, it’s more than just a medical fix.  Underneath it all, are questions about who we are, where we’re going, and a niggling thought that we should think some deep thoughts about this before arriving at a new shore of what it means to be human.


My real concern with embracing my inner cyborg is once I get used the metal as a medical fix, it’ll be pretty easy to accept it as an enhancement. Don’t believe me?  Take a look at sports and doping.

We want to shine, to be the best.  Bionics—metal superpowers, genetic advantages, new sources of physical (and intellectual) power.   See where I’m going with this.  What happens when we are promised godhood in exchange for a few hours in the OR? Tempting, no?

So yeah, maybe its only a handful of plastic and titanium…now.  But what of tomorrow?

Thoughts?  Fears? Hopes?  I love to hear from you.

Coming August 9: Stoking the Muse with Jennifer James


I had so much fun hosting another author I decided to do it again. Coming on August  9, Jennifer James will be dropping by to discuss her fun, fabulous and just enough naughty new novella, Love Kinection.

Drop by and learn how Jenn uses music to stoke her muse and create fresh, flirty and sexy  heroes and heroines.  I loved Abby and Tom in Love Kinection and I bet you will too.

If you haven’t read it, you can click the book image and pick yourself up a copy.  Its worth it.  Come visit and meet Jenn.  See you Thursday.

Siri and Me: Adventures with My Iphone

I ripped through the packaging to get at my new iphone, latest model, all the bells and whistles.  A brand new toy, one that has a name and talks back.

Siri was home and she is amazing. You can ask her to look up and call a number, research information on the net, distinguish among all the Jills logged in my phone.

As much as I love her, two things have my eyebrows hitting my hairline.

I have this overwhelming need to address “her” by name.  Call my mom, Siri.  Get me directions to the Deli, Siri.  What’s the difference between a biome and a habitat, Siri?  Is this normal?  It’s a phone–a  smart phone okay–but still a gadget.  Has the age of sentient machines begun and am I giving in to the inevitable?

My daughter, on the other hand, relates differently.  Let’s listen in.   “Find. Information. On. Penguins. For. My. Homework.”  Note she didn’t say Siri but made damn sure Siri got every word.

Will. We. All. Talk. Like. This. In. The. Future?

What. Do. You. Think?