Imagine for a second that you've spent your life searching for something you ultimately decide doesn't exist. Imagine that years after you stop looking, you suddenly find it, and you realize it's something you never even knew you were looking for! So now you think, "oh man, THAT's what I needed all along!" and it's...half a world away.
Meet Deedee and Gregory, two Quirkyalones who found each other on Facebook, in a chance exchange on a mutual friend’s status thread. For the past five months, these two crazy kids have carried on a virtual relationship. And although they have never physically met, they are very much in love with each others' hearts and minds.
This is, as we see it, The Greatest Love Story of the Century. It’s post-modern love at its finest - and as far as we’re concerned, it’s the Real Deal. It’s hard to describe the true depth and scope of how we feel, but we love each other - truly. But, you know, it’s online. And while it looks great on paper and works fabulously in cyberspace, the fact remains that we want to find out if it works in "3-D".
The future of our relationship is obviously uncertain, given the geographical limitations. These limitations, however, aren't necessarily impossible to work around! BUT...we can't possibly know anything until we find out for sure if our relationship is workable on a real-world, real-life level. In order for us to take the next step (or even know what the next step will be), we need to spend some actual time together. Because the nature of his work and situation preclude Gregory from traveling for awhile, we have decided that Deedee should join him in Thailand for the holidays this coming winter. This is not a vacation - this is an experiment in love. :-)
So…what is this story all about, and where do YOU fit in? Well, we’re begging, to put it bluntly. We are people of humble means (he’s a writer, she’s a graduate student) and need to raise money to offset the cost of Deedee’s trip. How much? Whatever we can. Plane tickets alone are $2000. We thought, “Hey, people love a good love story…maybe we can find a whole bunch o’ people to send us a dollar to help make it happen!”
And that’s really all we want. Just a dollar. Or fifty cents, if that’s all you have. Hell, drop some bottles and cans at Deedee’s house if you’re local to her. Buy some of her artwork. Whatever. We just want to be together for Christmas and see if this thing actually works. If it does? Well, you can feel slap-happy and warm and fuzzy that your little old dollar facilitated the most awesome union since grilled cheese and tomato soup. If it doesn’t, and turns out to be the most carnage-strewn disaster in the history of mankind? Hey, you’re still only out a buck. And either way, you’re off the hook for a wedding gift (Christmas, too!).
Whether you know us or not, we hope you’ll take a chance on our in-love, broke asses and help us out. You’ll be treated to updates and photos along the way (to prove that your dollar really did go to this trip and not to a pyramid scheme or a shoe-shopping spree) and we’ll even send you (like, real snail-mail!) a postcard from Thailand if you give us your address! If you want to get really fancy and donate a lot of money, we’ll send you a special gift! We don’t know what that is yet, but you’ll love it, we promise!
But seriously, please forward our story to all your friends. Ask them to do the same. We’ve already seen the power of social networking in our introduction. We're writing our story before everyone's eyes, and we want you to help us write the next chapter. There are half a billion people on Facebook – surely there are a few of you with big hearts and some spare change.
With all our love and gratitude,
Deedee and Gregory
Friend Deedee on Facebook
Deedee Clohessy (aka D2, Deedums, and occasionally Deanna, but only in formal situations) grew up in a blue-collar suburb of Buffalo. She spent most of her childhood building forts out of cardboard boxes, catching tadpoles in the drainage ditch at the end of her street, hanging out with her imaginary pals, providing proper burials for roadkill and fallen birds, and lobbing attitude at the folks who asked, “and what’s your name, little boy?”
Forced against her will to attend a prestigious all-girls private high school, she coped by making earrings out of shellacked grasshopper wings and circumvented dress code violations with the use of toilet paper and masking tape. She also shocked faculty and students alike by dating working-class, mulletted dirtbags who picked her up from school in '75 Chevelles.
Having spent a good deal of her life being creative, crafty, and weird, her parents decided that she should go off to college and become a…doctor. Because, you know, people with little aptitude for math and chemistry should practice medicine. By the time she graduated, however, she had changed her major to Theatre Arts, and promptly trotted off to Chicago to make herself famous. After waiting tables, managing a number of retail establishments, enduring a brief stint as a crusty old man’s secretary, and playing office drone at a box company, she figured out that the only thing she was really using her theatre degree for was to act like she cared. In 2002 she found herself suddenly out of work, and spent the next five months surfing the web, chain-smoking Parliaments, getting fat, and watching Oprah. Finally in the spring of 2003, having been stripped of mostly all her pride, she moved back to Buffalo.
After two years staring at carpeted walls and being reported by IT for logging too many internet hours, Clohessy had an epiphany. She would go back to school and get the graphic design degree she always wanted! She took out a bunch of student loans, quit her day job, and became a full-time student, a role she felt more comfortable and “at home” in than anything else she’d ever done in her life. So much so that she took out MORE student loans and continued on to graduate school where she is currently studying the fascinating but somewhat-nebulous field of Creative Studies.
What does she plan to do with all this education? Even she doesn’t know anymore. Originally she dreamed of a career in advertising - namely, as a high-powered creative director with a secretary and a corner office on Madison Avenue, subsisting on a steady diet of martinis and subordinates. But ultimately she recognized the deadly potential of mixing gin with high heels and remembered that boardrooms tend to make her sleepy. She's also kind of afraid of heights.
In March of 2010, she met Gregory Pleshaw on Facebook when he responded to her comment on a mutual friend’s status update – ironically, about bad status updates. Deedee wrote a diatribe about updates that annoyed her, Gregory thought it was hilarious, and they bonded almost instantly. Over the course of the next four months, Deedee provided support for Gregory on his amazing live-writing journey in India, and the two became closer than ever, realizing that there was something pretty special going on here.
Now Deedee is beginning to think that living overseas and creating some kind of viable existence out of three college degrees and a chemical imbalance sounds like a pretty awesome way to live. Surely something can be constructed out of all that schooling and experience, no? Creative Studies is, after all, a broad-spectrum discipline and can be applied to just about any field. Hell, why not?
In the meantime, Deedee collects pet rats, credit hours, and dust. She’s afraid of spiders, dark rooms, the circus, and the GOP. She doesn't want to grow up, but she’s never been a Toys-R-Us kid. She loves tabi socks, thunderstorms, Gerbera daisies, and mid-day naps. She hates misplaced apostrophes, waiting, tomatoes, and people who suck. Asymmetry makes her nervous. Bad spelling makes her crazy. Strawberry flavor makes her gag. Steve Harvey super creeps her out. She has way too much useless crap and has committed to culling it. Need something? Ask her. She probably has an extra. She wears Mary Janes and cardigan sweaters a lot. She thinks poop is funny. An inveterate daydreamer with the attention span of a gnat, she spends most of her days pursuing happiness, chasing stability, dodging adulthood, playing musical instruments that she has no idea how to play, shuffling clutter, squeezing every last drop from Stafford loans, and reassuring herself that she really is as awesome as she thinks she is.
Gregory thinks she’s awesome, too. Now…wouldn’t you just love to see these two kids get together?
Friend gregoryp™ on Facebook
gregoryp™ is the web identity of real-life American journalist Gregory J. Pleshaw. Pleshaw began his career in the 'zine culture of the late '80s before moving on to newspapers and magazines that include The New Mexican, Wired, Fast Company, The Industry Standard, New Mexico Magazine, the Boston Phoenix's Erotica section, the Seattle Gay News, and many, many others. Past beats include arts, entertainment, politics, social justice, technology, business, Internet security, online gaming, SEO, music, software, real estate, social networking sites, travel, and sexuality and gender issues. He spends an inordinate amount of time on the Internet, particularly facebook, twitter, and various blogs that he maintains. In 2004, he released a book entitled, The Collapse of Time: Confessions of a Quantum Humanist for Plaza Rat Press of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The book sold out to subscribers prior to publication, but Pleshaw declined to do a second printing, favoring his ongoing electronic publishing efforts. His "fan base" exists whenever he writes and publishes online.
In 1994, Pleshaw wrote a polemic about what he believed were two emerging forms of literature - "living-in-a-narrative" which he described as "memoir on acid," and "exploded narrative" which was intended to illustrate the ways in which the online world was intersecting with real-time to allow for rich-media narratives. His latest book, SubDrop, (release date: December 21, 2010, from Strident Press) is an example of the former idea and with the arrival of the e-book and the iPad, the technology has finally reached the time when the latter may be more fully explored. Pleshaw hopes to do this, both as a real person and a web identity. The pseudonym of gregoryp™ was born when Pleshaw wrote an essay on his website in 1997 on Monsanto's proposal (and subsequent approval) to be allowed to trademark seeds. The essay was titled Trademark Yourself before Someone Else Does, and thus gregoryp™ was born.
Less than two years ago, Pleshaw joined facebook and immediately recognized its potential as a journalistic medium. Similar to the seminal WELL project of the mid-1990s, the use of asynchronous threading made it possible to treat the status report as a "column" with a threaded conversation beneath from "friends." Abandoning his other blogs (just google) he began to use the facebook status report as a place to "micro-blog" and was in the process of developing theory about "micro-journalism" when he stumbled across Deedee Clohessy's hilarious essay of "facebook status reports I hate" and he immediately friended her. A furious "lovers of the mind" relationship ensued as the two began sharing writing, ideas, feelings, thoughts, and emotion with one another - perfectly exemplifying exactly *WHY* social media blows traditional journalism out of the water -- by removing the intermediary of the "publication," (with all its attendant horrors of bias, so-called "objectivity" and the notion of bylined "author" as the center of all discourse,) social media and the Internet in general allow one-on-one communication *and* one-to-many communication simultaneously across the planet, as well as feedback loops from both "writer" and "audience," smashing any distinctions between the two, eliminating the "fourth wall" of communications forever - and completely re-defining what "news" really is.
Taking the "microjournalism" praxis to the next level, Pleshaw decided to write a "live book" on facebook about his experiences in India, status report by status report, and Deedee Clohessy was his constant co-presence companion on this four-month madcap journey ("personal, political, & mystical") which included at least 600 status reports and is now known as "Stumbling Towards Enlightenment" (available from Strident Press in May of 2011) with Clohessy as emotional support and love interest.
Okay - we admit it. Our love is a po-mo literary fantasy, perhaps, but we both actually believe in our Strange Kind of Love. We're both bookish and writers enough to know that 90% of love comes from our minds, and romantic enough to believe that the best kind of partnership evolves when you find that special someone who "gives good email." Deedee gives the best (her chats are pretty rad too) and I really love her mind. Please support our weird project. Cyberpunk isn't all doom'n'gloom after all - maybe this time around, the matrix actually will lead the two of us - and the rest of you - to understand that sometimes, the matrix really leads to true love.
Postscript: It could have been beautiful. So very, very beautiful. She was the girl of his dreams, he was the love of her life. But life isn't always loving, beautiful, or fair, even for the best of us. <3