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I've always loved friends of the Way
friends of the Way I've always held dear
meeting a traveler with a silent spring
or greeting a guest talking Zen
talking of the unseen on a moonlit night
searching for truth until dawn
when ten thousand reasons disappear
and we finally see who we are


                             
Han Shan  - Chinese hermit, late eighth century

1/29/2014

In Carl Sagan's excellent novel "Contact" on page 201, we find two of the protagonists strolling through Paris.  

"They arrived at a monumental arch in the Roman style surmounted by a heroic, indeed apotheotic, statue of Napoleon as a chariot driver. From the long view, from an extra terrestrial perspective, how pathetic this posturing was."

     Ah! The truth.
As a scribbler and blogger, I remind myself that all things pass. After worldly fanfare, the razzamatazz, the blare of claxons and the gawdy neon lights, the chest thumping and the bravado, comes a great silence.  I have increasingly found comfort in quietness, and I crave solitude. I love to read, I try my hand at writing, but I have been thinking and puzzling all my life. Why are we like this? Why, in the words of Rodney King, "can't we all just get along?"
     The Internet supports hundreds of writer sites. Many have hundreds, if not thousands of members. I have belonged to a few. I always felt uncomfortable.  It was as if I was trying to hold a quiet, thoughtful conversation in a crowded hall, with people at nearby tables shouting out for attention. I craved a balcony somewhere, with a view, and a few good companions.
     The other issue was that I didn't want to try and "out-facebook" Facebook.  I wasn't trying to have a dating site, or a gossip column for the passing on of daily trivia. We started in 2007, with no agenda, and now seven years later, we still have no agenda, and very few members. We are approaching one million "hits", and the cyber portal www.chopperstories.com has passed 40,000 "hits".   That amuses me. Deducting all the hits caused by bots, and all the hits caused by people looking for something else, I still maintain that I'm down to three regular readers. Well, two right now, 'cos Jimmy is locked up again.  
      It doesn't matter...   blogging for me is part of The Great Walk.  The spiritual and emotional journey, out of my confirmed Darkness, towards a Light I sense, but cannot yet see. If you want to walk with me for part of the way, you are very welcome.  Just understand, I don't know much.
     The hunger is great, but the larder is empty.

     When I started posting on the Internet, I thought if I ever reached a hundred hits on a poem or a story, and one "thank you" email, that it would have been all worthwhile. I reached that target. The rest doesn't matter. We live, we think, we marvel, we wonder. The Chinese poet Han Shan blogged on walls, rocks, and trees. He had humor and insight. I'd like to think that if he and I were to meet one day, we would sit down and happily talk the night away.  Not much has -really- changed in twelve hundred years.
  
    I am small. A groping spirit. If you only read one story of mine, I hope you read "Starry, starry night."
In it, I offer you my heart.

F.M.


How to join:
It gets complicated, trying to run an Internet Writers website, when you discover the hard way that they now have "bots" (automatic programs) that not only try and register literally hundreds of "new members" but also try and FLOOD the site with really primitive manifestations of extreme low intelligence.  Lots of porn, smut, and endless hyperlinks to more shallow nonsense. I once spent the best part of 3 days going around the site cleaning up the damage from a malicious hacker attack.

Accordingly, we can't allow completely automatic sign ups anymore. But the interim solution is simple. COMPLETE THE ONLINE APPLICATION. Then drop me an email at francismeyrick@yahoo.com, and we will fix you up asap. This second step, sending me an email is CRITICAL, because otherwise I will not know you want to join. This morning I "approved" a new member, granting him access, but first I had to scroll down through NINETY spurious SPAM "bot" applications, all pretending to be new users. (That's just a few days' worth, by the way.) If I accidentally let one of those on board, they are capable of over running the site with porn and smut in a few seconds. It can take me days to clean it all up.  

The FAQ section is being expanded to deal with questions on how to post, etc.

We would love to have you as a writer or a reader/commenter.  Just so you understand, we don't accept every article or story. There are tons of writer websites where you can join immediately, and post as much as you like within seconds after that. We don't do that. We are more of a very small, intimate group.

Our goal is a relaxed, creative site. No adverts, no pop-ups, no viruses or other malware. Just Art for Art's sake.

Be sure to check out this "how to" article. It will help you get around the site.

Dropping Anchor at Writers' Harbor   (click here)

Ongoing software development and examination of principles that guide us, is discussed in this article:

Dropping Anchor at Writers' Harbor (2)   (click here)

As regards copyright, that remains 100% with the writer. We are careful to provide you with a very easy "delete" function, and that is your prerogative. A word of caution though: this from experience... writers and poets tend to be feeling, imaginative, sensitive people. An unkind observer would say: "moody". If and when you decide to "delete" your works, it's gone. Bye-bye. So are all the comments, ratings and reviews. So in deleting your own work, you are also deleting the work of people who have taken the trouble to read and critique your work. If you subsequently change your mind (and people do) you can re-instate your own stories, but you can't re-instate the work of all those reviewers.  So have a beer, or a glass of wine, before you decide that last comment has been the straw that broke the camel's back. Once you delete, it's deleted. Speaking

As for browser, we based it on Mozilla Firefox compatibility. If you use a different browser, you may have to adjust for slight boundary/positioning error.


Francis

Speaking
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