Earlier this month, I posted a few times about changes to my online life and how it was going to impact my level of social interaction, particularly in a world that will still be socially-distanced for our family for a while yet. I was worried that my harsh adjustment would prove too painful, and while the pain was real, the mitigation steps have eased it a bit, or at least distracted me.
First and foremost, I’ve re-embraced the writing world. I joined a couple of online critiquing groups, sure, but I haven’t done much with them yet. Instead, I reached out to a few people who were part of a critiquing group almost 10-12 years ago, and the person who ran it is still running one. There was room, I threw my hat in the ring, and the group agreed to have me join. Hot dog! It is a low-intensity zoom group, and my first session is this Sunday. They meet once a month, and although I had already missed the deadline for this month, I have others’ writing to critique. Sunday night, I’m in like Flynn. It’s only monthly, sure, but it’s a bit more intimate / intense encounter, even if by Zoom. Fingers crossed.
Second, I rejoined the Capital Crime Writers group, a local writing group, and they meet once a month for a guest speaker. It’s still virtual, which I’m happy to see, so for $40 a year, I rejoined. I’m still debating the Ottawa Independent Writers’ group, it’s a bit more expensive ($75 a year), but I don’t know if I’ll want a third. I have enough trouble attending the various astronomy groups I have open to me. Writing is part of my heart and soul though, way more than astronomy ever will be.
I also confess that I had an epiphany about some writing I’ve been struggling with for a few years. My new idea would give all of it an internal coherence, and even some potential marketability, in ways that NONE of my previous stuff has done. It has a strong combination of goal-setting, performance, and mental health / personal well-being, and when the lightning hit me, I felt totally energized. Often I get this bolt out of nowhere, it jazzes me for a day, and then I find a glitch in the approach. Something that doesn’t quite work. This one has been percolating around my brain for a solid week or so, and it’s still holding up to my self-attacks. I think I may need to have coffee with my friend Ryan and see if the framework holds for him too. I don’t think I’ll include in the “marketing” that the basis is a strange mashup of CB radio, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer character, and the Government of Canada’s modified risk framework, all layered on top of about a dozen different techniques for self-actualization and goal-setting. Yep, it’s weird…but as I said, it seems to HOLD TOGETHER as a framework. If I could catch the right guru’s attention? The thing could revolutionize part of an industry. And then several other self-help industries. Obviously, not with me at the helm, but still. The lightning is still sparking, which feels incredible and scary at the same time.
But I digress, that’s about writing, not about the social interaction side.
My other news is that I used the Slowly penpal app. I mentioned some of the details earlier — it’s an app that simulates a “letter” being sent in that you send an email / message, but it delays delivering it for a couple of days. So you’re not reduced to immediate reactions, instant gratification, reduced to texts that say ‘sup. I filtered on a few areas of interest / hobbies, and added filters for men only who were similar in age. I am avoiding risk of anyone matching who is looking for a slow version of a dating app, I’m just looking for more interaction with someone. Literally a penpal is about my speed for this area.
And I matched with a guy in the US, about the same age, two kids in college, etc. He’s into board games, writing, blogging, reviews, TV, etc. We’ve exchanged a couple of “letters” so far, and even if it doesn’t turn into a lifelong penpal friend, it’s been nice getting to know him. He also has a podcast, so I’m going to check it out. We’ve been chatting most about board games so far.
I’ve also received a few other matches — because I am in the system, other people can “match” with me. Those I’m less enamoured with as they seem to have almost nothing in common with me other than we’re using the same penpal app. One of the 4-5 seems okay, the others I’ll respond to be polite, but I’m not anxious to add them to my interaction list yet. One thing that I “blocked” from my profile was people who just want to talk about their pets. I like cats, I like dogs, but about 3 minutes in, if I can’t actually SEE the pet myself in person to get to know it, I’m likely done. Two of the “letters” I got were still about 60% about their pets. I’m fine if they want to talk about pets, but it’s not going to lead to any particular insightful commentary from me or more questions. I blocked a few other areas too, but it isn’t very “blocky” in that regard for people who find YOU. It just blocked people from MY search.
Of the other 4-5, I think one is likely a scammer and one is likely a woman looking for a boyfriend, or both. Another one also seems VERY young, but it could be a language barrier thing (many of them are writing in their second or third language), but they came off very teenager-y, despite the app being designed for adults. I haven’t responded to any of them yet, taking my time.
I’ve also been having several long conversations with people on my FaceBook Messenger app in the last week or so. More so than I would have previously, probably would have just said a quick hello, or something and moved on. These have been a little longer, a little more detailed, and it’s been nice catching up. I’m sure part of it is the pseudo-pity-party that was in my blog and FB posts that I was doing a harsh adjustment to my FB profile etc. But still…I’ve enjoyed catching up. 🙂