Member Rara Avis
Let's get back to the original thread for a minute. The complaint was that a member who doesn't contribute poetry felt slighted because poets were ignoring them. I rather strongly suspect that the perceived cause of the slight was probably in error, but the slight was likely legitimate. What I've seen in many, many instances are members carrying on a conversation, back and forth, within a thread. And that's fine. But if you are going to thank a friend for replying to your poem, you need to be courteous enough to thank those you don't know as well. And I suspect the chances are pretty good you just might make a new friend in the process. Like any other group of people, it sometimes takes a while to meet others, to become a "part" of the group and stop feeling like an outsider. That's inevitable. But we can either make that process easier on our new members, or we can make it harder. I think what the original complaint shows us is that we haven't always been making it easier. So, we just need to try a little harder.
As far as the non-newbie members are concerned with replying to others, there aren't and never have been any hard-and-fast rules. Nor do I think there should be. If commenting on poetry becomes an obligation, it becomes a meaningless exercise in futility. Do we really want mandatory appreciation? All of us write for different reasons. And I suspect all of us post for different reasons than we write. We can't force people to acknowledge our efforts. All we can really do, any of us, is try to do our own part. And trust that our family of friends will do theirs.
In closing, I'd like to emphasize a little of what Poet deVine has said, and perhaps takes us again back to the real theme of this topic. Poets write first and foremost for themselves, and secondly for their readers. If we write only to garner responses from our peers I think we're missing a very important point about poetry. Peer-to-peer networking is both fun and an important part of learning. Being part of a close-knit family of friends, as we've found here, is maybe even more important. But communication is the real reason all of us do this, regardless of what we are trying to communicate. And that takes readers.
There are going to be a few surprises, I hope, when the new software is together. Surprises that will tie the forums much closer to the main site, and I think strengthen both. And I hope it will increase the audience we all want for our work. Sometime later today, September 28, the one millionth visitor will click their way into Passions. How much appreciation does that represent? Numerically, probably not as much as you get in here. But sometimes, as PdV has alluded, that appreciation is virtually priceless.
I want to share with you an email I received earlier today, from one of those one million visitors to the main site. I want to share partly to reinforce and make concrete what PdV and I have said, but also partly because it made me feel really good to be a writer. And I wonder, sometimes, if there is any better feeling than touching the life of someone you know you'll never meet?
I am a 28 year old mother of 2 and wife of 7 years. I am truly a
hopeless romantic and believe in fairytale endings. My husband started a new
job at the beginning of the year which required a lot of travel. Being away
from him made me wonder if my life was headed in the right direction. I
struggled for months trying to find myself. I even sought comfort of another
man online.~ But you must know that when my husband and I first "saw" each
other we knew it would be eternal love. But as some people say, when you get
married and settle into everyday life, things change. This last year I saw
the change in me, and I hated myself for allowing that change. I have always
felt that romance shouldn't have to fade when marriage and children enter the
picture. I have a dream of EverAfter happiness and when I stumbled across
your poems, they made me realize that I wasn't lost, I merely veered away
from the path for a while. My true prince will be forever and your poems are
partly responsible for that. I truly thank you for being so talented with
your thoughts from your heart and even more thankful for you allowing others
to feel them!
As Poet deVine said: it's a glorious feeling. And isn't it really why all of us are writers?
[This message has been edited by Ron (edited 09-28-1999).]