Before I get started with anything else, I want to send you all a very public announcement! Just in case any of you guys are unaware of what happened last year! K?
My email address…the one that I started out with and have maintained for over two decades without a single problem…is no longer available. And…that sucks. I didn’t do anything wrong to get myself locked out of it, nor did I suddenly start involving myself in any shady activity that would cause Outlook.com to suddenly cancel my account, erase every email that I’ve ever had, ever saved, ever cherished, from each and every single one of you. But, one night, without warning…they decided to erase years and years of memories and hard work, and didn’t even give me a reason as to why. I couldn’t even go back to get my story notes, or grab the email addresses that I was holding on to in order to get back in touch with you guys. Even in the case of an emergency.
For that, I truly do apologize. I had emails to answer, friends to contact, and stories and story notes, that were erased in the blink of an eye. And I had no control over that, whatsoever. So…I’m sorry, k? 🙁
That doesn’t mean that I’m out of reach, however! For the fans who get involved with the site, the boards, the mailing list, and the stories, on a continuous (Or at least frequent) basis, know that I am ALWAYS lurking around somewhere! Hehehe! You see me two or three times a week at the very least! And you know where to find me if you need me!
BUT…just in case you lost touch with me, or have been sending messages to my original email of Comicality@webtv.net and haven’t heard back from me? PLEASE don’t think that I forgot about you, or that I’m ignoring you for any reason at all. I simply don’t have access to that account anymore. And that REALLY hurt for a long time, as I saved a lot of your most heartfelt, most moving, and most amazing, emails on that account to bring me up whenever I was feeling down. Memories that can’t ever be replaced. But sometimes…we need to start all over from scratch and rebuild ourselves up to get stronger and become better people. Maybe a ‘clean slate’ was exactly what I needed. Who knows?
But I truly, TRULY, miss you guys!!! One of the reasons that I kept that email address for so long was that I enjoyed hearing from those of you who started out here on the Shack, most of you barely teenagers at the time, and came back to drop me a short note just to say hello. To say thanks and fill me in on your high school years, college years, getting a job or career, some of you even getting married or a live in partner! You guys grow up soooo fast! And I love it! Hehehe! It’s good to hear that you’re doing well!
ANYWAY…if any of you guys want to reach me now, my NEW email address is:
So…if you’ve been looking for me…that’s where I am! And if you sent anything to the old address within the last year, please check your ‘Send’ folder, copy and paste it, and send it to me at the new address! I’d LOVE to catch up with a bunch of you guys!
…The Comicality email account! Let’s get into it, shall we?
When I wrote the very first chapter of “New Kid In School” and sent it to the Nifty Archive…I had no idea what to expect. Like, at ALL. I was actually grinning from ear to ear just knowing that they accepted it, to be honest. There it was. MY story…on a list with other authors that I had been reading and embracing ever since I found that place about a year earlier. I can’t even tell you the amount of pride that I felt at that moment, in the early morning hours of June 19th, 1998! It was…orgasmic! Hehehe!
I was hoping that the story would get seen among the huge selection of other stories, possibly written by authors with long standing fanbases of their own. I didn’t really know how Nifty worked back then, but I definitely wanted my very first attempt at an erotic story to do well. Then…shock! I didn’t expect to get an email within the first few hours of it being posted online. That was even more exciting than having it get accepted in the first place! Someone wrote back! Someone saw something that I created online, and he actually took the time to send me a note to say thank you and give me some positive feedback. WOW! It’s every artist’s DREAM to be appreciated for their effort and hard work, and actually have someone be entertained by it. Even if it’s someone you don’t know. There’s no other feeling like it in the world.
The night went on, and I got tired, so I went to sleep. But when I woke up the next morning? There were three or four more emails from different people to send some more positive vibes my way. Again, like…WOW!!! Ok! That was way more than I expected! Especially within the first 24 hours!
So I was determined to sit down and write back to each and every single one of them, just to let them know that I appreciated their feedback, and that I was overjoyed to hear that they liked the story! I couldn’t have been more grateful for their input. And they wrote back again, encouraging me to continue the story and to keep going. Which made me want to write back to them again in response…
Within a few weeks, I felt like I had a whole new circle of friends! Not just strangers online, but actual friends. I didn’t even realize that these new readers, which continued to build in the days to come, were not just from all over the country, but all over the world! I was suddenly having casual conversations with people in England, and France, Germany, Japan, Australia, Canada…WTF???
Understand…I was still pretty new to the internet at this time, and such a thing took some getting used to. At least for me it did.
But, no matter what was going on in my life, or how much work I was putting into writing something new for readers who were consistently popping up out of nowhere…I sat down each and every single night to go through my email and answer every last message that anybody sent me. I figured, if they took the time out of their lives to write me an email…the least I could do was take out some time to write back to them. And as the number of emails grew, I dug my heels in and made it my mission to keep up with the workload and get my inbox as close to ‘0’ as I could every night before I went to bed.
Hehehe…the good old days. LOL! If you want to know who won that war…YOU guys did! The last time my inbox was at ‘0’ was in the Summer of 1999! I’m severely outnumbered here! But that’s a GOOD thing! Keep ’em coming! I love it!
As always…the upside of getting compliments and questions on my stories…had to have a balance kick in at some point. You spend all of this time building the strongest bridge that you can between yourself and your readers…and right underneath that bridge? The ‘trolls’ move in. Angry, petty, demanding, jealous…oh God, I won’t lie…it used to hurt. It used to hurt sooooo MUCH! As much joy as I got out of having people make an effort to write to me with something positive…I think it hurt twice as much to have someone bring their lives to a screeching halt, just to verbally abuse and disrespect me. If only you knew the insults that I had hurled my way, just because I wanted to write a few love stories online for free…you’d be sick to your stomach.
For a long time, I had to balance out the good comments with the bad. If nobody sent in good feedback, then all that left behind was the trolls. Scratching and biting and clawing at my heart relentlessly, with nobody to stand up and defend me. Or at least send me a decent word of thanks to lift my spirits. So, for a while there, I was living through some rather dark times in the beginning. I was proud of what I had done, and happy to have helped some folks out and made some good friends along the way…but sometimes, the assholes win. Way it goes.
That was the past.
The present tells a much different story, and brings a much healthier attitude to the whole idea of having an open email for people to talk to me, one on one, whenever they like. And, while it may take me a while to get back to you guys (Sometimes, a LONG while, unfortunately!), that part of me that is determined to answer each and every single email that I get from you guys to return the love and support that you’ve given me over the years…it’s still burning hot within me. I answer every email personally. No form letters, no surrogates, no copy and paste garbage. Granted, I may repeat myself from time to time, because I’ve only got one brain to work with, and I’m ‘me’, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hehehe! But you can believe me when I say that I am answering you with a genuine email, each and every time. You ask me a question, I’ll answer. You give some constructive criticism, I appreciate it, and I’ll answer. You want to just chat for a bit, or tell me what’s going on in your life…let’s talk. I love it. No matter what you guys may see or think of me online, I need friends too. Just like everybody else.
It may be hard for you to believe now, but I used to be PAINFULLY shy growing up! Outside of my small group of friends, it would almost make me ill, trying to talk to people. Insecure and shaky and a total shrinking violet in front of strangers. But, honestly…the Shack Out Back helped to cure of me that. Email, especially. I felt a duty to talk to the people who were supporting me, and with some practice, over time…having fun with you guys became the best part of my day. Hearing about your lives, your loves, your problems, your music, your movies, reading your stories…I never, in my life, thought that I would be so globally connected! It was blowing my mind. I know that people sometimes feel bad about sending me an email or feel like they’re ‘bothering’ me, but they’re really not. I CRAVE that kind of connection! Share a piece of yourself with me. I can never have enough friends!
I’m not sure that people over the years have truly realized how much they’ve done for me with something as simple as every day conversation. Sharing music and movie trailers and being on the message boards and in the chatroom. I, honestly, can’t even imagine who I’d be right now without them. I think I’ve made some of the best friends of my life through this website. I found a family that I didn’t know I needed until we shared those first few laughs together. Found love a few times too! Hehehe…but that’s a story for another time! 😛
The trolls don’t matter anymore. I know that people say that all the time about the ‘haters’, and they don’t really mean it. Me? I really do mean it. It’s like Neo seeing the lines and code in The Matrix for the first time. Hehehe! It’s been more than a year or two now…and the insults simply ceased to matter one day. Is that weird?
The only way that you can get me to not answer your email? Be a dick. If you’re a dick to me, I click the delete button. I’m totally unaffected. I barely waste the energy it takes to shrug my shoulders anymore. I work my ass off, I write quality material, I spend hours at this keyboard, I’m loyal and responsive to my fans, I promote other writers and artists every chance that I get, and I do it all for free. So, just ONE cool compliment, story rating, or email, cancels out anything that a troll could craft to touch a nerve in me. I wish I had learned this years ago. Would have saved me a lot of frustration and needless pain. Hehehe!
Now, I get emails from all over, and from a wide spectrum of readers. Men, women, white, black, Latino, Asian, Christian, Jewish, atheist, transgender…and I learn something new every time I talk to them. Some of my readers are my age, and some my parents’ age or older…but a HUGE majority of my readers are teens and college kids! Some are a lot younger than I ever would have expected, hehehe! But…if they’re old enough to enjoy the stories, then have at it.
By the way, hehehe, please don’t lie to me about your age. It’s cool to be a youngster. Seriously. I won’t rat you out. But, yeah…I can tell. Be honest with me. That’s the whole point of the site. Getting the chance to be yourself. Right?
Since I began, besides making some true friends online, I’d like to think that I was able to help a lot of people through some hard times. And the Shack board and chatroom has done an even better job at giving people a support group and a family to those who really needed it. It’s a part of their lives now. A key element in their evolution, just like they were a key element in mine. And that’s more than I ever could have asked for. So, thanks to the teens from all around the world who have been my biggest fans and supporters from the very beginning of this madness! ((Hugz))
I know that this website is almost twice your age, but you guys bring me an an energy that keeps me going, night and day! So as long as you keep writing in and making me laugh, I’ll keep corrupting your young minds in the healthiest ways possible! Promise! ::Snickers::
One last thing…
“But Comsie…where’s MY email response???”
I guarantee you…it’s on the way! I was trying to figure out a way to demonstrate what happens to emails when they enter my inbox, and this is the best thing that I could come up with. I hope this makes some sense.
Let’s say (for the sake of easy math) that I get ten emails a day from readers and friends and people finding the site for the very first time. K? And you sent me a really cool email that I want to take my time and answer, at length. Like I said, I answer everything personally. So I may want to talk to you about certain things or answer questions or whatever. So…out of ten emails that day, including yours, my inbox might look like this…
Now, I may sit down and try to answer all ten of those emails, but you wrote me something that was really heartfelt, and was maybe asking some deep questions about the stories or my writing, or maybe just wanted to share an important piece of your life with me. And I don’t want to ignore that. I want to answer, in detail, and give you a shoulder to lean on if you need one. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with the site or the stories at all. Maybe you’re going through a rough time or a heartbreak, and I want to reach out and help. Who knows? Maybe it was just a long email, and I thought it would be fun to talk to you some more. So I’ll leave that one email until tomorrow, because I have to get some writing done before I go to bed for the night.
Unfortunately…I get ten emails a day. So NOW…my email looks more like this…
I SWEAR…I’m not ignoring your email! It just got pushed further down in my inbox. And I’m not angry with you. Hehehe, many, MANY, people will tell…”If Comsie has a problem with you? He’ll be sure to let you know!” So, it’s not a passive aggressive move on my part either. I’m just trying to write and edit stories, or handle whatever ’emergencies’ might come up from some of my younger readers. That’s all. Plus, I still have ‘real life’ to deal with on top of it. So I might miss a day or two…each with ten more emails sent my way. And I’ll take time to sit down and answer as many as I can in one sitting, but your particular email might be getting pushed further and further down the list, and it’s harder for me to get back down there to answer it.
Again, this isn’t me ignoring your email or blowing you off. It just takes me some time to get my thoughts together and give you the response that I feel you deserve. I’ll be trying my hardest, believe me. Just don’t get discouraged when it comes to writing me something meaningful or sending me a story to read and review. I’m here. It just takes me a while. You have no idea how much I appreciate every word that you guys have ever written me, and I want to give back! You mean a lot to me. I don’t want to short change you with some glib response that sounds like any cookie cutter computer app could put together without any thought at all.
And every day…there’s ten more emails. Then ten more. Then ten MORE! So it’s hard for me to manage sometimes. But I read all of my emails, every single day. Multiple times a day, in fact. I may not answer it right away, but if you sent it to me, I got it. And I’ll be getting back to you as soon as I can. K?
That’s when I have one of my big email marathons, and I’ll answer 150 emails or more in a row in a single evening! And I’ll try to catch up on everything that I’ve been missing out on. Hehehe! And that’s when you might get a surprise email from me out of nowhere, probably answering an email that you sent ages ago! But, delays or not…I never forgot about a single one of you. You give me love, I give it back. There’s nothing else to it. You believed in me, and I want to let you know that I love you for it.
Even when one of my super duper email marathons end up like this…
Hahaha! I’m so SO sorry! Awww, hang in there! K? I’m working on it! I’ll be getting to you sooner than later! 😛
So write in whenever you like! I love to hear from you! To the new readers who might be a bit shy about sending me anything…don’t be. Trust me, I’m not that impressive. Hehehe! So type away! For those of you who have been away from the Shack for years and just check in from time to time…I’d love to hear from you too! Catch me up on what you’ve been up to! And if anybody has been using the old address? Please switch over to the new one so I can hear from you! Once again…the new email addy is…
Thanks to all of you for being here, and for helping me to build an online family that I can be proud of. I realize that the internet culture has changed over the years, and everybody wants to text instead of writing an email. Wants to chat instead of posting on a message board. Wants to click a ‘like’ button instead of leaving a comment. Wants to take pics on Instagram instead of just being in tune with someone on a mental and emotional level. I get it. But for those of you who still find the time to write to me and say hello every now and then…thank you. Mwah! You’re the fuel that keeps me going! And I am forever grateful for each and every one of you.
You made my dream come true! Thanks for that!
Seezya soon! And remember…I love you too!