Thursday, March 02, 2006

Chitty Chitty Chat Chat

Some months ago I joined a writerly "Chat" group.
Not to "chat" - because I haven't figured out the mechanics of that - but to read the transcripts of interviews later.
The latest one -when I got around to reading it - curled my liver.
Add one more item to my ever-expanding list of Reasons Why One May Never Be Published.
I am not girly-girly.
The first two and one-half pages consisted of squeeeging "awesomes", "fabs", "wows," other assorted shrieks of recognition, and air-headed arguments over who brought chocolate. Shriek. Shriek.
Perhaps I am too harsh.
It may have been only two pages.
One could almost see the company fluffing their hair, rolling their eyes sideways at each other and giggling like fourteen-year olds.
And the sucking sounds outdid a suddenly unblocked kitchen drain.
Many of the participants, I do believe, are mature, accomplished, talented writers. Go figure.
There were perhaps five questions of substance asked and answered during the whole thing to/by the Avon lady du jour.
I may exaggerate.
Now, I understand mutual support. I understand community and team-work; and the dynamics of encouragement, friendly hugs, back-pats and well-dones.
But I am not a groupie or a group-groper.
I am afraid I am "not a good fit."
Oh, Camus.
The last two and one half pages were likewise.
"Wow!" "Fab!" "Awesome!" "!!!!" With the addition of multiple "You rock!!"

Do male writers have "chat" groups?
Do their sessions begin with introductions like "Hello, pig-effers!" "Howzitgoin'!" "High fives, guys!" and verbal muscle flexes?
Do chats in other genres display the same?

Barn-mouse, bitten by a: Tipsy; late 18th-early 19th c.
Barnacle: (1) A too constant attendant; an acquaintance keeping uncomfortably close; colloquial; from about 1600. (2) one who speaks through his nose; about 1550-1660; (3) a pickpocket 18th c. >; (4) a good job easily got; 19th c. ;(5) a gratuity given at horse-sales to grooms, late 17th c. - 18th c. ;(6) a decoy swindler; late 16th-early 17th c.[nos. 3, 4, 5, and6, all obsolete cant] (7) a senior officer who hangs unto the job to which his juniors wish to be appointed; naval; late 19th c.>.
Barnacled: adj. Wearing spectacles; from about 1690; colloquial.


Sela Carsen said...

Oh yeah. I'm very familiar with that. Anymore, when I'm in chat, there are always a couple of people who just can't resist the urge to clutter it up with cutesiness/psuedo-cleverness. The rest of us are there for a reason.

I try not to squash them because I used to be a twit, too. And I almost never eat chocolate. I figure the goo-goo girls will either drop off or grow up. Pretend they're toddlers and ignore them until they learn not to interrupt.

Tsavo Leone said...

Not had any real dealings with that particular issue, not even out in the Real World. One could put forward the notion these would be the same type of people who, back in the day, would argue amongst themselves over who was the 'best' New Kid (or further back still, the 'best' Beatle?).

I have to agree with Sela - in any kind of chat group you tend to be there for a reason. Maybe it's simply that their reason for being there is to develop social skills?

James Goodman said...

No, I can't say that I have come across anything quite like that in a long time.

But just for the DO rock! :D

Bernita said...

You're much too kind, Tsavo.
Positively fan-fic type of glomming, Sela. Must say it affects me like a bad smell in an elevator. Good thing I don't know how to enter the live an exercise in burning bridges.

Oh, James!!!
~sucks it up~

Savannah Jordan said...

Hi, Bernita. Honey, I told you you should join my chat! There is some sqeeeeing in the beginning and a damn good dose of humour, but all in all I try to run it with a theme, and pose good questions on a regular basis.

I have joined in a few other chats, and though the numbers might be higher, they were no less informative or organized.

Bernita said...

Savannah, I admire you.
A moderator must sweat great drops.
Idiots are also book buyers,or fellow writers and book buyers.
Idiots always have big mouths too.
I hope this chat is an exception to the standard.

Erik Ivan James said...

I'm not a 'chat-group' kinda guy. The extent of my online chatting is primarily here. When I address a male friend via internet connection, however, I may start with something like:

"'Mornin' asshole, you drunk or sober?" No chocolate questions.

Savannah Jordan said...

*wipes tea from screen*

Thanks for the laugh this morning Erik!!

Dennie McDonald said...

uh yeah...pretty much sums up the ones I am on! (though not chats so much as e-mail loops)

Tsavo Leone said...

Erik: I'd tend to suggest the answer to your question would be "Sober!", based soley on the fact that I can't operate a keyboard drunk...

Carla said...

I don't belong to any chat groups, chiefly because they have the reputation you describe....

Bernita said...

Thank gawd, I'm careful with my coffee!

Sorry I joined this one, Carla, even if only sub rosa... the titter-titter-tee-hee gush is excessive and the information so far is available elsewhere.

M. G. Tarquini said...

We have the Bunion Email Circle during which we gossip, gab, encourage and solve the problems of the world, typically with a big dose of humor. We also brainstorm, critique, and rewrite, also with that big dose of humor.

Lots of times that's where we get our ideas. We've seen great things from tiny acorns grow because of an off-hand comment.

We're not squee-ers. We're comedians. And it's silly to fluff graying hair.

Bernita said...

I did not intend to step on your corns, Mindy.

M. G. Tarquini said...

Heh heh.

Maybe the thing with the online chat group is that people don't know each other. Like a cocktail party. There's either stony silence or people talking about inane things until they get comfortable. Things like that need a strong moderator, I think.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

That sounds like the last chat-group I was in!! I quit participating and lurked for another week or so...while simultaneously banging my head on the keyboard and swearing in foreign languages....then I quit.

I love chocolate as much as the next premenstral woman...although I don't remember that paticular urge! But give me a break! Nothing of substance, no defined subjects, wonder none of them are published!

Hell, this comment line is consistently a better 'chat-room' than several that I've visited!

And for a guy line, you left out..."Howzithangin'?"...LOL

Bernita said...

Do you mind if I giggle, Bonnie?
How could I have missed that particular expression! Perfect!

Perhaps you're right, Mindy,that's a far kinder interpretation, though I didn't get the impression they were "unknown" to each other.

Robyn said...

A good moderator is essential for keeping chat groups on track. Honestly, though, I think a lot of chat groups are there so women CAN feel like teenage girls again without embarrassment, all thanks to the anonymity of the internet.

I've seen some threads on a normally squeeing board that were intelligent and insightful, mostly because the group is informed what the rules are when they join. I saw one that said upfront-Serious questions only, no fan gurls.

I think message boards are better than chats, anyway. Message boards encourage longer, more thoughtful replies. It is hard to type fast enough to participate in long discussions on some chats; the point you wanted to make was addressed six comments ago and they've moved on while you took your time writing.

Bernita said...

Hmmm, thank you, Robyn.
Good point. I noticed a lot of that sort of back-and-fill regarding questions and interruptions, as well.
Message boards might be the alternative solution.
I'll look and see if I can find some.

ivan said...

Hm. My unofficial chat group of late has been Antonia the Zerb's site at the Toronto Star.
Somebody had postulated the late Eric Hoffer as an important thinker
and I'd offered, in my own superficial cleverness that Eric Hoffer was a stone dropout and a True Believer.
Well, back come the comment: Ivan,
Eric Hoffer won the President's Medal, the (National?) book award, and a whole lot of other accolades, and not too bad a success record for your average dropout. "What have you done lately, Ivan?"
I told him that I'd gone to a tattoo parlor to have a montage on my back where a foxhunt is in full progress. The hounds are running down my back, but the quick brown fox disapperas ever so neatly into my major aperture, just his bushy tail sticking out.
I had added that on my chest were the stars and stripes and if he wanted to beat that, he could beat this.
Well, that didn't seem enough.
So I slid it in, real good, bragging that I had three million words in commercial print and if he didn't like that, he could copulate with a duck.
Wooof. Wounded ego.
If I had a wife these days and if I could catch her with my wobbly gait, she'd get a piece of the vinegar, and the, uh, piece, but I'll just have to content myelf with the mirror behind me where the hounds bay and I'm yellling Tally-ho.
Think I'll install a webcam!

Bernita said...

Um...Ivan...dear me...the word would be made flesh sort of thing.
And I was complaining about excessive giggling...

Erik Ivan James said...


'ware hounds, 'ware holes and tally-ho--the fox.

Rick said...

Robyn - I'm with you. I've never gotten into "chat" (even apart from being on dialup with only one phone line). Message boards are a much better way of interacting online, IMHO.

Bernita - Don't you already have a message board? That's really what blog comment threads amount to!

Bernita said...

But this blog/message board/forum??? is writerly broad, Rick, and personal.

Gabriele C. said...

The chat attached to the Forward Motion forums is not a gushy group chat. Virtual hugs if someone feels down, yes. Talk about chocolate also happens, but so does talk about cats. >^-^<

For one, it's open to everyone who writes, and usually there are people in the rooms 24/7 (whith peaks and lows). Sure, some people tend to meet at certain times, and if you happen to get in during a lively conversation full with allusions to things only those people know it can feel weird, but newcomers are always welcomed. There are rooms for general and writing related chat, but even in the general it's often about writing.

The Think Tanks on Friday and Sunday evenings are a moderated session. No gushing there, either.

I spend more time in the chat than I should.

The link is here.

Bernita said...

Thank you for the link and description, Gabriele.

ivan said...

Eric Ivan James:
Just passed Sir Paul and Heather on snowshoes. No clap of approval.

Frank Baron said...

I belonged to a writing-oriented chat group a few years ago but it wasn't all about the work. It was to hang out with fellow sufferers and bitch about editors. (There were a couple of editors in the group and we granted them nearly equal time.)

I'm a moderator on a great message board you might want to check out. Although most of the 6,000+ members are still among the Great Unpublished, many are quite accomplished. There are boards for serious discussions on pretty much every aspect of the craft and boards for goofing off. You needn't register to lurk and read but do in order to post. (Registering is free of course.)

It's at and I post there as "aka eraser."

Bernita said...

Thank you, Frank, for stopping by and for the link.
Seems to me I have clicked on absolutewrite for research a couple of times.

For The Trees said...

Sorry about this, but

What's a chat group?

What's a message board?

What's an email loop?

Where the hell have I been?

Examples deeply appreciated.

Shesawriter said...

I'm not a chatter. I belong to about thirty loops and I don't contribute to one. I'm what you call an incurable lurker.


ivan said...

For the trees:
I'm only learning this web thing too, but "the little hand is on the..."
Telling time was a killer.
You are a killer.

ivan said...

Probably a looker too.

Bernita said...

Trees is almost as ignorant as I am.
I don't know what email loops are either. Don't think I want to... they sound like garrotes.

My preference too, Tanya - a lurk quirk.

Neat, Ivan. First James, now you. Clever guys.