Well, writing about computers was (and is) fun, but I wanted to write a little about some of the funny things that happened in my youth — things my grandkids might someday find interesting to read about. So I began work on a book called "Shy Guy from Hollywood High."
Later I got to wondering if there was a place on this new thing called the "Internet"
where one could get some ideas about writing and being published. I was with AOL at the time, so I typed "writing" and "writer" into its "Keyword" section to see what might come up. That's when I stumbled onto something called "The Amazing Instant Novelist."
AIN was a forum where writers could post stories and poems they had written, and have other writers comment on their efforts, along with being able to post comments on the writings of everyone else.
The forum was divided into "boards" with names like Instant Stories, Short Stories, Instant Poems, Short Poems, and Alphabet Soup. There were also boards that featured Humorous Poems and Stories, as well as boards dedicated to postings about Love and Romance.
I couldn't wait to get started.
Most of the boards were organized as informal "contests" based on a particular "Theme of the Week," with subjects such as, say, Discovering or Anxiety or Giving or Anger or Disappointment or New Adventure, among dozens and dozens of others. The week I discovered these boards, the subject was "Laughter."
Well, there had been a recent incident in a class I was teaching at our local high school that seemed to fit the theme. So I posted "Brandi's Laughter"
on the Short Story Board.
Several people commented on the story, and it even won an "Honorable Mention" at the end of the week. In the meantime, I commented on many of their stories and suddenly discovered I was making lots of new friends. And most of them were of the female persuasion.
I have no idea why, but women writers outnumbered the men by about four to one. So if a guy signed on to these boards with the idea of meeting women, the odds were certainly in his favor. It also didn't take long to learn that some of the "writing buddies" ended up getting involved in "cyber romances," with some going on to meet in person.
Yes, these folks lived all over the country and those who met in person usually lived fairly near one another. However, I was surprised when one young woman told me she had flown to other states to spend a weekend with three different guys she had met on the boards at one time or another.
As we became better acquainted, she even told me in fairly graphic detail what she and her paramours had done on these weekends. All I'll say for now is that one encounter was disappointing because the guy worked long hours and she spent most of the weekend sitting in a motel room waiting for him to get off work.
As mentioned earlier, I'm not here to judge the moral issues of these stories — just to tell them — but I did tell Bianca I though flying across country to meet strangers seemed like a pretty dangerous thing to do. Well, without going into detail on her reply, I did learn that she was a desparately lonely person who was willing to take such chances in hopes of meeting someone who might fill her emotional needs. More about Bianca later.