Crossroads of Humanity

Mar 19, 2013

Too Creepy for Me

Two days... Is that the shortest friendship ever? No, actually it's not, not even for me.

I'm talking about FB friends, just one type of cyber-friendship. Those wary of the Internet will tell you not to give away too much personal information to people you don't really know. Those who are cyber-savvy will second that bit of advice. Over the years, most cyber-friends I've met have chimed in now and then, or simply read some of my posts without ever responding, while others have become good friends, best friends, even lovers.

That's a story unto itself that begins before there was an Internet, back in the days of BBS's. That's where I met the man who became my husband. We were young and both members of the same BBS. The first time we chatted, I annoyed him. That's wife material in the making! You see, he'd been playing an online game on the boards, and I wanted to chat with someone. Due to the old fashioned dial-up modems and smaller numbers of participants on BBS's, there weren't too many people online to chat with that afternoon, but I looked up his profile, and he sounded interesting, so I badgered him into leaving his game and coming to chat with me. No, it wasn't love at first chat. It was, in fact, half a year later before we decided to go on a date and two weeks after that before we'd tell anyone else we were dating. Even then, my parents had taught me to be cautious. The first time my husband and I met in real life was at Pizza Hut where a group of members from that BBS decided to get together one afternoon for a (gasp) Face-to-Face meeting. It was fun and led to some great friendships.

Two days... On Saturday, a man I'd never met sent me a FB friend request. After an initial check of his page, I learned he is a fellow author who is "friends" with many of the same authors I know, at least online. I then double checked on Amazon and saw that his books are not my preferred genre, but that's beside the point. To be clear, I accept a multitude of friend requests from other authors as well as fans. I'm willing to talk with a lot of different people about a lot of different topics. A few have creeped me out by sending some odd personal messages, while others raised red flags right from the start. This one fell somewhere in the middle.

His first message to me was a basic greeting followed by, "How's the Windy City?" One small red flag went up, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt after I saw that he had visited my blog. I thought perhaps there was a chance I had mentioned Chicago in one of my blog posts. I know I've mentioned Wisconsin because I no longer live there, and I know I've mentioned wanting to live in Canada so I clearly do not live there. But this person did not reference either Wisconsin or Canada.

So with Spidey-senses tingling, I wrote back and asked him to explain himself. He told me he has an app on his blog that lets him know where his visitors come from. A much bigger red flag flew into the air, and this is why. His first message, the one about the Windy City, appeared before I visited his blog in response to seeing that he had visited mine. So, in just two days, I made a new "friend" and then "unfriended" him.

For the record, this S.L. Wallace does not live in Wisconsin, Canada or Chicago.

Mar 12, 2013

School of the Ages

What do a hired assassin, a corrupt politician and a bothersome clock have in common?

Could a real dystopia be in our near future? Visit novelist, Sarah L. Wallace, at School of the Ages.

Mar 2, 2013

Unexpected Pushes

Sometimes we all need a little push to move out of our comfort zone. Have you done anything to push yourself lately? Has anyone given you an unexpected push?

First, a brief history. As a child, I auditioned for theatrical plays. Usually, I didn't get a part. In 8th grade, I did, but it was the part of a mime. That's right, a non-speaking role, dressed in black with a white painted-on face, while children much younger than me received multiple lines and singing parts. And in 10th grade, I was terribly embarrassed to have forgotten one line during a performance (just one, mind you) only to have the actress playing opposite me practically yell my forgotten line to me in front of everyone rather than just moving on. Suffice it to say, I no longer like to act.

Flash ahead to this past Monday. After school, we had a small group staff meeting. I teach in a Montessori school, and this week was Montessori week, culminating in a whole school assembly on Friday morning. So on Monday after school, in front of other staff, I felt my stomach drop when the principal jokingly said, "When I told the secretary she would have to play Maria Montessori on Friday, she responded by taking a week-long vacation." Then, in all seriousness, he looked across the table at me and said, "So, Sarah, on Friday you get to be Maria. Have fun with it."

In just seconds, my comfort zone was effectively annihilated. I couldn't say no, plus I realized I already had a costume. (At a past job, I had regularly dressed up along with all of my students for a day in a one-room schoolhouse.)

And you know what? It wasn't so bad. In fact, it was fun. I kept it a secret from all but a few staff (including those who had been at the staff meeting) and my young daughter who attends half day daycare and would be at the assembly on Friday. On Wednesday, I told her what to expect. I told her I would be dressed up and that the kids would probably laugh and that it was okay if they did. She responded by saying, "Okay, Mama. I'll laugh at you too."

On Friday morning, I greeted my class as they began their day and then changed and hid until it was time to go onstage. Some of the youngest children at our school, really believe that Maria Montessori flew all the way from Italy to visit their school. Meanwhile, one of my students called out, "Hey, Maria Montessori died and was reincarnated as Sarah!"

All in all, it was a fun morning for all. The youngest students sang about their school. The lower elementary students shared qualities that begin with the same letters as M-o-n-t-e-s-s-o-r-i, the upper elementary students shared a slide show and skits of Dr. Montessori's life, and the middle school students did some impromptu acting based on Montessori quotes. And through it all, Maria Montessori was the guest of honor.

Being Read Across America on the same day also had its perks. As I sat for a photo shoot after the assembly, the lower elementary students returned with the Cat in the Hat (one of their teachers had dressed up as the Cat and read to them). I smiled at her and said, "Hey, you're famous too!"

I wonder if Maria Montessori ever guessed she'd have her picture taken with a literary cat?

S.L. Wallace is the author of the Reliance on Citizens trilogy and Retrospection.