I am a natural for cyberspace. I have always felt drawn to places
that exist on a psychic level but take up no actual space in terms
of length and width. During my school years, I was known in my
class as a daydreamer. I was habituated to removing myself from
the action-spitballs and stern commands from the teachers-by staring
out the window and escaping into my own world.
I completely understand the idea that you are where your thoughts
are. I have seen it demonstrated thousands of times. And besides
the worlds we reach with our thoughts and dreams, the Kabbalah
teaches that there are countless worlds upon worlds.
The nature of the world of cyberspace came home to me as we were
sitting with the graphic artist who is designing our website.
We were there for several hours building and breaking down, choosing
colors, laying out the copy, and working with the white space.
When we took a break, she typed in on the homepage: "Site
under construction. Please visit back soon."
I loved it. Many years ago, I was an active participant in building
my own little house on the coast of Maine. I used to sew, and
I am still a baker. I like to construct things, including cakes
in the shape of houses. I like to see things slowly go up.
The building arts are a good metaphor for the writing process-the
writer as builder. The writer laying the foundation of her piece.
The writer putting together the walls separately on the ground
and then hauling them up at right angles.
Through the process of writing and building, she finally realizes
what the writing has come to tell her and where it has all led
to. She puts on the roof . Now the whole thing is free-standing,
and she can pull away the scaffolding, in case what got the writing
going is extraneous to the finished piece. And she puts in the
finishing touches-the doors, the window glass, the chimney.
Suddenly, the intimate connection between building and writing
gets another spin as I experience building on the Web. I no longer
need a tangible book or magazine to contain my writing and deliver
it to my audience. Now I have an address where people can visit
me. I have a home, starting with my homepage, and as many rooms
as I would like to add on.
I have rooms for poems and rooms for essays. I even have a bookstore
with shopping carts. And wherever I want to, I can put a link,
a doorway to a friend's home for easy visiting.
In constructing a website, I am pitching my tent out in cyberspace
as I build my more permanent dwelling. You can visit me there
whenever you want. You can read my latest poem.
I have a friend whose mother visits her website daily to see
what's new or just to be in the proximity of her daughter. I may
also start visiting my website, even when I'm not engaged in building
it, just to see how I'm doing up there.
My website has an address, www.carobspring.com. Appropriately,
it carries material about exploring the inner life and suggestions
on how to navigate on the underground river of the subconscious.
My husband is a spiritual psychotherapist, and I'm a writer. Sometimes
he does the writing, and I practice the psychotherapy. We are
basically both active in the healing arts. It's all about getting
closer to ourselves and to Hashem.
I imagine my site floating up there between Jerusalem and Columbus,
Ohio. Why Columbus, Ohio? Because I have a link to another website
which offers Jewish writing courses. I'm one of the instructors,
and the first one to sign up for my course is a woman in Columbus,
Her e-mail confirmation lists her address, which is fairly irrelevant
to our relationship. But somehow, her being over there in Columbus
and me being here is thrilling.
I see us horizontally floating towards each other like two Marc
Chagall figures in the night sky, and meeting at a half-way point
in our satellite classroom over the Atlantic Ocean. We overcame
what might have been insurmountable obstacles to meet, before
cyberspace was put on the map.
© Varda Branfman 2003
© 2009 by Jewish Writing Institute. All rights reserved.
Copyright to individual articles held by authors.