message in a bottle — received

Oh, this is fun…

It seems Karen Shenfeld, Writer in Residence over at Open Book Toronto this month, has been conducting a blogosphere experiment in which I’m one of the lab rats. (And I’m completely flattered and delighted with my role!)

Here’s the background: Last week sometime I wrote a post about Karen’s film, Il Giardino. A few days later it came to her attention and she left a comment saying how surprised she was.

She was surprised??

I was gob smacked that so quickly (or even at all) she’d see the post, much less respond. Well, I wrote back, we had a virtual chuckle over the wonders of the wild, wacky world of blogs and that was—I thought—that.

Then, a few days ago (though I just opened my emails today), I received a Google Alert taking me to Open Book Toronto where I discovered that Karen (a poet as well as a filmmaker) was the Open Book writer in residence for December and had written a post about the Il Giardino ‘encounter’.

And she’d done it as a kind of experiment.

In her words:

“Sending something off into cyberspace is, I have realized, a little like putting a message in a bottle and casting it into the sea. We know that the odds are that the cork will leak and the bottle will fill with water and sink down to the sandy depths, forever lost. But we hope secretly that, against all odds, it will float and drift to a far, far shore, where it will be picked up by a passing stranger who will find our message and be forever transformed.

“When I wrote to Matilda, I didn’t let her know that I, myself, was writing a blog this month, and that I had decided to blog about her blog. Should I tell her, or just wait to see if she scoops the bottle from the water and discovers it by herself?”

Well, I’ve scooped the bottle! (And, for the record, it would have been sooner had I opened my emails.) I feel like bells should be going off, confetti flying, people appearing from the closet with champagne, a trophy maybe, a small tiara…

As Karen says, I think we all hope that our messages, whatever they are, are being received and heard—what’s communication if not a way of connecting with others by (bravely) sharing something of who we are, some tiny unique thing we have to offer…  

Aside from its (mind-bending) ability to practically embrace the whole earth in a single moment, cyberspace also has a kind of zen influence, allowing us to stand back and ‘see’ just how amorphous communication has become, maybe always was, how really we’re all so connected in these indirect, invisible, ways.

Unsettling as all that connection may seem at times,  it’s nice to remember that a lot of good—and very entertaining!—things can come of it…

(So, to continue the experiment, I’m sending the bottle back out—while keeping my eye on the OBT author blog  to see if it makes land…)

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