This phenomenon, in my book, is referred to as “finding your balls online.”
I was pretty sick for a solid year after 36 years of very good health. My encounter with mortality was finally real (no longer the 20-something who wasn’t afraid to discuss death in the abstract), unexpected and difficult for me.
So one needs the occasional odd houses made of clay and graffiti to break us out of our insistent searches for security and certainties via the steady and familiar structures. Because none of it is true in the immortal ways and a house made of bricks is as arbitrary as a house built underground, complete with Mediterranean gardens and fishpond.
If you can have “online sex,” order pizza online, watch old Miss Cleo commercials online, why not pray to Mother Mary electronically? I’m a fan of the online extension.
Talking about political issues on the Internet, which keeps public records of these discussions if so desired, is an important way to disseminate information; and in reality, poets of all people should be politically engaged in using language in public ways — if there ever was a definition of a poet, in my book at least. Freedom of speech is one thing, but that freedom requires dissemination if it is to have any impact or influence, so unless you own a television or radio station, your protest on your local street corner isn’t going to be picked up by Channel 2 News. But the Internet is something of a leveler; if you can get folks talking about an issue you feel strongly about, you can advance understanding and cause a ripple in the status quo tides that want to wash over and drown us out. You can throw your oars into the Internet sea and make those metaphorical waves and change minds if you’re persuasive and determined enough. You can be heard, at the very least, and also change your own mind. As I noted on my blog recently, oppressions need silence to thrive; I won’t enable all of those –isms by letting the bullies shut me up…
(p.s. The underground home to which I refer is Forestiere.)
Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is co-editing with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edited the anthology Bettering American Poetry 2015 and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.