Intricately Woven

Facebook plans to buy Oculus, the company behind the Rift headset. I am not going into the hardcore tech details of the gadget or the billions it is currently being wagered for. All those details don’t make for pleasurable reading; too much number crunching for me leads to a brain drain.

I decided to dust off the cobwebs hanging over my writerly muse because somewhere in that article the whole concept of Metaverse emerged as the new prophet who holds the key to a brand new networked world. I then began frantically typing away at a speed I couldn’t quite believe I was capable of. Not because I was excited that in the future of a billion gamers I could strut as an avatar. No sirah. The possibility of being anyone I wanted in a virtual world does not appeal to me. My understanding of the Metaverse concept by Neal Stepheson is rather limited. I am not a gamer, no. So maybe I am missing something when everyone else is pumped up about a virtual world of connectivity sitting on a plump couch.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for networking and I believe Facebook has done its fair share of that. It would be hypocritical to state otherwise. Since you will read this as part of my update on Facebook, I better make good with my words.

I digress. The following excerpt from techcrunch got me thinking, and thinking rather deep:

After the gaming industry has worked out the VR interface kinks (there are a lot) and figured out how to develop credible, fully immersive experiences in a virtual world, it will be time to create something far more profound: the feeling of being “present” with your friends, colleagues and interesting strangers in virtual space.

Virtual reality will be compelling because it will be free-form in ways actual reality can never be. Want to fly around the buildings of San Francisco with your girlfriend? No problem. The Grand Canyon? Sure. Want to have that board meeting in the world’s fanciest boardroom? How about a tropical beach instead?

It gets pretty deep.”


Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. When someone says, “creating a virtual world that is profound”, I feel like a tenderfoot in new boots. At the end of it all, it is far from anything real. How does one equate it to the flesh and blood experience of being together with the one you love and cruise around the world? Someone please remove the blind side for me.

Would you trade your first real kiss for the one you could create out of an avatar? Or that feeling of jumping off of a plane for the very first time when the wind literally howls past you and your hair is standing on ends?

The author goes on to say, “Feeling present in virtual reality–your mind believing it is there–is unlike anything else, and that feeling will change the world in all sorts of crazy ways.”

I believe it will and I believe it will for the worse. I have seen countless number of people (including yours truly) immersed in a text when we are out at dinner with a special one, family or friends. Technology has a way of snatching it all away from you. You get happy in your seclusion and that is no way to live. We are social beings, yes, and we must always be cognizant of that. The day we believe and actively pursue anything that takes us away from the quintessential core of being human, we will “change the world in all sorts of crazy ways.”

In an attempt to shake this out of my head I am working on stories in real life. I will be sending out individual emails to all of you in the hope to solicit stories. Please share your most endearing one or your most secretive one or a simple heart-to-heart one. It doesn’t matter. As long as it involves real people from the real world, and it can move people, it will find a place.

If you would like to send me your story anonymously, please feel free to do so via email.








About writing

Do you know what it is like to burn to write?

BurnYes. I chose a rather graphic image to represent something very close to my heart. Sometimes it truly is that way for me. Synge and burn in a moment of rapture when words swirl around me, eluding my grasp. They ricochet off the page with such fervor that I’m always left with a feeling of utter delusion. Will I be able to get them in time before they fade? Will that moment pass, and will they go scurrying off to a dusty, wordlorn corner? When I do manage to put them down, I feel like a phoenix rising. Reborn. I am then ready for another world and another set of emotions. I feel purged.

I’m sure many of you are talented writers, and sometimes feel how I feel. I teach writing to children and adults, but I yearn to be a better writer. I am hungry to get better.

You might want to call me a word nerd at the end of this post, but writing is to me the way breathing is to any of us. It is natural and unbridled. It’s ebb and flow is like that of the eventide—placid, unruffled and continuous.

Words are sacred and they should be! They hold tremendous power and sway. I tell my students that they are creators of a different kind, and without doubt their heads turn towards me with a quizzical look. “Do not, and I say do not, take words lightly. They are your best friends at the worst of times.” You can pin your heart to your sleeve for the whole world to see when you write from the deep recesses of your heart. You will move someone one way or another. Some will tear up; some will laugh; some will not agree and will send you nasty responses, but in the end, a writer has to be true to his or her voice. I found mine when I was in college.

I wish I had started when I was very young. I feel like I’ve denied myself a life changing experience because I did not start out early. I have a good, good friend and we used to write to each other in our wee days. Plain old pen and paper worked the magic for us. We weren’t introduced to ballpoints yet, and so the romance of inkwells still existed. I’ve still preserved them, and believe you me, those letters still hold their power over me. The richness of language, visualizations, and a touch about the senses still holds me captive.

I haunt various spaces to find writing that moves me. Sometimes they fall off the page like pearls, and sometimes they don’t. And at times when they don’t, I just walk away. Many times we settle for the fake ones and do not make the effort to dig deeper to find the real gems. Stop. Drop. Roll over when you find words that move you.

Writing is work, and good writing is darn hard work. If you read something that felt easy to read, know then that the writer has poured over it for days to make you feel with her. Verbs, adjectives and nouns make beautiful things when stringed together on a tapestry. They light up worlds yet unknown.

So go out and light someone’s world today.

I have a project in mind that I will post about soon. Until then, keep lightnin’…