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Humble (?) Beginnings At PnP

by Frank Fields
copyright 05-18-2008


Age Rating: 7 +

Prefatory Comments

This writing is done primarily as an entry for the contest being sponsored by Sam Hackel-Butt.
Additionally, it serves as a "Thank You!" to all the fine writers, here at PnP, that accepted me from day one and were most gracious with their comments and praise.
Also, it will serve as a recorded memory of one of the finest years in my life.
And lastly, it will hopefully serve to let any member, new or veteran, who reads this, that they are truly in the company of giants.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Humble? Not exactly. I stumbled across PnP while searching the Web for "stuff" on Sailor Moon. I stopped and looked and checked it out.
I knew enough about computers to at least be able to open an account.

Immediately, the idea of a site that protected it's younger members was very appealing. As I learned later, that protection also extended to the adult members of our community. The idea of a dues-paying membership was also appealing. That went along with my own rationale of "you get nothing for nothing." Simplistic, perhaps, but generally true. The lack of advertising told a story all of its own and the extent to which the site was protected from "phishers" was extraordinary. All of those things are still in place today, by the way.

I knew that my writing and teaching and English and so on background was more than adequate for any website. As I said, "humble?"--not exactly. So my account was opened and I think it was forgotten for a day or two or three. Then, when I returned to do some exploring, guess what had happened? Yup, I had forgotten both my screen name and my password. So what to do? I had to ask Bob Betts for help. To not only dig into the programming, I guess, and recover not just my screen name, but my password also!

Which he did. And he let me know very gently, but very firmly, that what I had done was probably tantamount to the height of stupidity or carelessness--to not have had the sense to write down that information somewhere. Equally, I was further "humbled" by being advised that what he had done was an extraordinary effort on the part of any webmaster/programmer.

The important thing, there, was not that he was trying to impress me with his programming talents. Nor was he trying to embarrass me, even though what I had done was admittedly stupid. He was giving me information on how important it was to make hard copy of something as important as screen name and password. And he did it courteously, and diplomatically, but firmly enough for that humble beginning to mark the rest of my passage through PnP, which continues to this date.

To get some deeper perspectives for this write, I went back to the first works which I had presented here, and read the comments. As well as the works, but especially the comments. Each comment brought back the visions, the emotions, if you will, and all the names and PnP personalities of those who were gracious enough to comment on my works. The truly astounding part of all of that was that an underlying current of courtesy, hospitality, and genuine desire to offer good advice in constructive ways, was offered by everyone. Which included both Jr. Writers and Adult Writers. Some more than others, of course. But all having the same goal--helping a fellow writer. And always offering, not just to me, but to everyone, honest encouragement.

There were some isolated incidents that really aren't worth trying to detail out, but even those--which required Bob's intervention --were handled courteously, diplomatically, and correctly. For everyone, I think.

With this kind of piece, if some support persons are mentioned and not others, then some friends will feel left out. I don't want to do that--make anyone feel left out. You are all important. More, perhaps, than you realize because you have touched my life in ways that left your mark on my soul. That may sound exaggerated, but it's the truth--a truth that every writer, young or old, amateur or professional, poetry or prose, who involves him/herself in the business of communicating with any other writer, recognizes.

This "family" of writers, here, has given me the greater gifts of patience and tolerance. More than were present before, and left me with an even greater desire to offer what I can, as wanted, to especially new writers.

Everything that has happened to me here, has been significant. Not one day goes by that I'm not amazed at how remarkable PnP is, as well as the many writers that I've come to know as friends. I can't begin to write out every significant experience. Being honored by being considered a Gold Writer, being a member of the Commenting Community, recognizing that my works generally find favor among the readers, being a Moonatic, and having some of my works chosen to be the ones to receive the coveted gold star of a Contest winner are all so special.

Bob Betts was and is the person responsible for all this humility to enter my life. Samantha Hackel-Butt, who has always been a supportive member and who has extended equally quiet and courteous advice also needs to be recognized. Beyond those two, everyone on this site has helped in some way to make me what I am now, a year later. It's a good thing that you've done.

Thank you all!

Frank :)









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        07-05-2009     Jordan Screws        

At one point, I think all of us members had an experience like this. I remember joining in October of 2005 and feeling intimidated by the number of writers and the accumulation of talent they represented. Fortunately, I had a few people to help me along: Leigh G., Mehrina B., Sammy A., and Samantha Hackel-Butt. Now I feel like a natural part of the community instead of a fish out of water. I think any member of PnP can relate to your initial experience and the firm yet kind patriarchy of Mr. Betts.

I do not mean to be insulting, but you definitely live up to the name Frank. However, such honesty is a rare virtue in a time when some people are committed to evading the truth, and when tempered with a touch of humor, it is one of your defining traits. That sense of humor and frankness is evident in your poem "Salty Pen", a sterling example of your honesty in action. Mr. Betts definitely qualifies as a grandfather figure: he can be firm, but he does not go out of his way to humiliate anyone when correcting them and will go to any length to help anyone in need, another rare trait nowadays. We have all benefited from his generosity at one point or another, and this site simply would not exist without him.

Thank you for sharing this. I feel that any member can relate to your experience when you first started out on PnP. We have all been the beneficiary of Mr. Bett's kindness, and you did well in highlighting that fact. On a personal note, I am glad to have met you, along with every other friend of mine on PnP. People like you, Leigh, Mehrina, Sammy, Samantha and Mr. Betts are what keeps me coming back day after day.

        06-10-2008     Leigh Gilholm Fisher        

Haha, I found PnP as a pre-teen looking for Sailor Moon pictures. :D I took setting my account up very seriously at the time, since I had to ask my parents to pay for it.

I'm now a member of FF.net and DeviantArt so I don't take the absence of advertisements on PnP for granted anymore. X.X I used to think nothing of it, but now that I think of it, that's a really nice thing about PnP..

*cackles* Lost your user name and password, huh? If it weren't such a members oriented website like PnP I'd probably have set up another account...

I like how you continued to say how Mr. Betts treated you. To us younger members he's quite the grandfatherly figure.

Another thing about PnP I used to take for granted but now really appreciate is the way commenting works. Sure, I've had people who didn't like my works; but then it was mainly on piece I didn't much like either. If I tried my hardest people noticed and, from what I can tell by the way they treated (and treat) me they acknowledged and respected that. On other websites when dealing with rabid gamers you can try your hardest, make one tiny yaoi joke, and your @$$ is flamed so hard it'll take weeks to chip off all the dead skin.

Well, to wrap this up since it's nearly midnight and I'm being poked off the computer, I also feel that joining PnP has created dramatic changes in my life. Not only did Mr. Betts and all the people I met here give me the will to keep writing and always improve, I'd also feel slightly competitive to some of the authors I admired. I believe that also helped my determination to give myself new challenges with each chapter or poem I wrote. In addition to motivation, the people I've met on PnP have also changed me. I meet my closest friend ever and adopted/self-proclaimed lil sis, Meh, on PnP. I have many other close friends here like Jordan Screws though everyone who took time to comment on my works or reply to a comment I posted on their works is also important.

Now, I'm afraid I must go! Oh and...

*first person to author a comment upon a freshly posted work dance* (TM)

:D

Leigh working to regain her place in the Commenting Community



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