Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

One of my favorite lines from Tennessee Williams' classic A Streetcar Named Desire is Blanche DuBois's final line, as she is being taken away to the asylum: "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." As have I, Blanche, as have I.

And not merely strangers, of course...far more frequently that of friends, whose patience my severely limited range of comprehension sorely tests. Were I, by some cataclysmic turn of events, to find myself the last man in the world, if I managed to survive a week totally on my own devices it would be a true miracle. I fully expect to be approached by the publishers of Funk & Wagnel's Dictionary, asking for a photograph of myself to illustrate the word "inept."

I know...for all the self-deprecation I display in these blogs you might wonder if I'm overdoing it a bit, and perhaps you may have a point. But I have so much to be self-deprecatory about!

Today quite by chance I came across The Poems of Dorien Grey, an e-chapbook I had published several years ago. I knew going in that poetry simply does not sell, so, like most poetry chapbooks, it just sat there quietly, bio-degrading. Hating to see the poems (some of which I am immodest enough to really like) simply turn to cyberdust, I decided to do something with them , I determined to start a Facebook page called Dabbles, wherein I can post them one at a time in hopes that one or two people might read them.

So off I go to set up a Facebook page for them. Simple. First, give it a title. I did: Dabbles. Second, invite people to "Like" it (Facebook is very big on "Like"). Uh, well, okay, but how can they like it if there's nothing there yet? Scanning quickly down the rest of the "page" I could find nowhere/no way to actually enter any text. So I have to expect people to come to a basically blank (other than the word Dabbles) page and go on record as "Liking" it. Would you do that? I wouldn't.

I finally figured out a way I could type in messages, though surely there has to be a more reasonable way for me to tell people what it is all about...sort of an introduction. Nope. So I enter a message briefly saying what Dabbles is all about. And since it is about my poems, I wanted to put up a poem. My only option is the message box, which is limited to around 275 characters. I wanted to enter a poem with more than 275 characters.

Now, when you type in a message of more than 275 characters, you get a little note saying it's too long, but can be sent as a "Note." Wonderful. A note it shall be. I cut and paste the poem into the "Note" box and hit send. The "Note" and the poem disappear. As I'm sitting there staring at the page as if willing the note to appear, I get a message saying someone "Like"d the poem. How can they like it? It isn't even there. But I click on the notification and I go to my Dorien Grey Profile page, and there it is!

Amazing. But I don't want it on my Dorien Grey Profile page. I want it on my Dabbles page. That's why I put it there. What's the point of even having a page if I can only be sure of putting up poems under 275 characters long?

I send a message to the person who had first seen it, asking if she knew anything about how I can go about putting it where I want it. She says to link it. Thank you! Link it how? The Dabbles page doesn't have a "Link" option.

So I spend another twenty minutes clicking here and typing there on my profile page and the Facebook home page, not having a clue as to what I'm doing, and when I go to the Dabbles page again, there it is! Hooray! But which of the 412 various clickings and typings was the one that did it? I still don't know.

So when I go to put up another 275+ character poem on my Dabbles page, I will be right back to square one and will have to put out yet another plaintive plea, hoping to once again depend on the kindness of strangers. Move over, Blanche.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please come back.


Nikolaos said...

LOL! I know exactly how you feel. And don't blame your own ineptitude: it's the hopelessly inept programmers on these sites who make them so hard to use. It's all their fault!

Dorien/Roger said...

I like the way you think, Nikolaos! Of course I agree totally.