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Rated: E · Essay · Contest · #728914
My gratitude to all who walk with me at Writing.com!
Note:You will find that this article has some invalid author names and some invalid items too. I have deliberately NOT removed these invalid names etc. so as to remind myself and you, dear readers, of the time when this item was created. Trish, Islam and the "Opal Twins" are no more with Writing.com. Prash, who is now a black case, was a yellow case earlier. Katybear Ronnie is now one person, while his brother is another, but at that time, they used a common username. Hence the name applies to both of them.


I became a registered member of writing.com about ten and a half months ago. I was searching for a web-site where I could put up some of my creative work for the netizens of the world to see.

Google's top search site was "http://www.stories.com". I am a resident of India, and American people perhaps had no time for an upstart author from an under-developed third world country, or so I thought to myself, as I tentatively registered for a free portfolio service.

My registration done, I decided to start reading about how to create an item. This needed going through the "Getting Started: Table of Contents columns, the "Writing.Com Copyright Policy and so on. All these items are written excellently! Before I could post my first item, I decided to also read some items so as to familiarise myself with the way items were posted by the existing authors. Once I had done so, I went to "My Documents" and copying one of my early poems, I added it to the main edit box and created my first item: "At The Seashore. When my port turned black, I was thrilled! My daughter was watching all this over my shoulder and she literally jumped with joy and asked her mom to bring forth some "sweets" to celebrate my having turned into an author!

That day marked a water-shed in my life, as I stopped all other net-based activities, barring web-mail reading, and plunged headlong into www.stories.com. Like a mother goose enveloping its chicks into its fold, and fussing over their well-being, Stories.com enveloped me into a warm, friendly, nursing environment ... a milieu, that to this day, continues to enchant, enervate and educate me.

By profession, I am as far from writing as a plumber is from, say, designing jewellery/jewelry. I am a practising Pediatrician, and usually sit on the net only in the afternoons, between my consulting hours, and late at nights, after my wife and children have fallen asleep. However, as fate would have it, I had dabbled into writing prose and poetry since childhood; pressures of time and lack of coherent opportunities had led to my not writing anything new for the past several years!

Stories.com, therefore, was a Godsend for me! With its superb layout, dynamic interactive web-pages, excellent services (mostly free) and free web-based e-mail, it was just about PERFECT!

And yet, to a beginner, its very vastness and features can become troublesome and difficult to surf, like an uncharted sea! To their credit, however, the webmasters, The StoryMaster , The StoryMistress , the Moderators and the Preferred Authors, all try their level best to help the newbie to find his feet, to gain comfort and to literally "settle" down in his/her new home! The features are at once attractive and easy to use, whether it be the WritingML or the Portfolio Organisation, or the trade of Gift Points, or the purchase at the Store.

I cannot clearly remember who it was who first helped me, but I am sure it was one of you readers who offered their hand of friendship to a newcomer, who knew he wasn't a great author, but trying nonetheless!

The first kind soul to hit my port was Kenzie , who I later learnt has been doing this all the time, that is, she is the Newbie's original ANGEL! She is sincere, kind, always polite and gives very useful reviews. She is the chap who adds the "colour purple" to the newbie's otherwise barren port!

Then came along Madam Shaara , a vivacious, friendly writer, whose port has wonderful gems. At that time, she was a preferred author, and to a newbie, her port was so nice, I kept visiting it almost daily. Over the last ten months, we have continued to interact, and I feel lucky to have known her through Writing.com.

Some of my early reviewers perhaps came to my port out of curiosity, and most still do that, but there have been some who have come at my request, and have helped me out in sharpening my stories or poems. My favourite reviewers are Shaara, Ms Kimmie , Prash , TaintedFemale , Theday , Bhaskar , vidae, Pita , katybears and Jessiebelle . In particular, I remember how Prash, Theday, and Bhaskar went about raiding my port, reviewing first this item, then that. It was so wonderful to get read by so many writers in such a short time. vidae offered detailed reviews, while katybears were gracious enough to send gift points my way AND praise my work too! Jessiebelle responded to my review of her work by mentioning me in the forum "Invalid Item run by the "Opal Twins". This was indeed marvellous!

Some members helped me hone my craft through their review fora, such as Farhana through her "Invalid Item; ricciardo and his very helpful "Review Forum (now no more) - and some others too. While TaintedFemale helped me out when I had a slight misunderstanding with another author, Farhana and I interacted often enough for me to consider her a "friend" on writing.com. Thanks Anood and Farhana for making my stay on Writing.com enjoyable!

Over the next several months, my port has been viewed over a thousand times, with as many as 500 to 600 people rating my items, and nearly 250 actually writing reviews to me! In the process, I have made over 50 friends, from Senior Moderators down to free members. I have brought in eight referrals too. Since my upgrade in April, I have added more than 50 items to my port, started two groups, run contests and done so much else.

I have been helped by still other members. billwilcox, whose writing I have always admired and learned from, took up my request to seriously rate my heretofore unrated items. I still remember his mail' "Here I go colouring your port with those little stars", he wrote, and I was ecstatic to see them in the port!
He later also helped me judge my contest on "Epigrams for the Modern Times.

Dreams - Anon, who are you? and I came together when she started a "The Muslim Group, and announced an absolutely fantastic idea: an Islam Awareness Day ... something for which she toiled night and day: ultimately, it was a grand success. I had contributed in a small way to its success, and Dreams - Anon, who are you? was kind enough to award me my first (and only) merit badge! Even now, she and I continue to be good friends.

During the above-mentioned I.A.D., I also met "Islam", who has since taken on the mantle of starting an unofficial newsletter on Islam, and has enrolled me as one of the editors!

VR Leavitt has reviewed several of my items, and recently she joined my Indophile group and began contributing to the related message forum, where she has been a guide, a friend, and also a contest winner!
There are many more, like Laserfox , marri90210, candle and AJ wants U 2 meet The CanMan! .

While candle donated 11000 gift points to my "Epigrams for the Modern Times, Ms Kimmie donated 10000, and AJ wants U 2 meet The CanMan! donated 2500. This has enabled me to run two contests so far and I hope to run many more.

The best part was when an anonymous person SPONSORED my epigrams item during the run of its last contest for nearly seven days. Thanks to that wonderful Anonymous person for highlighting my forum and making me a very happy author indeed!

I took part in a campfire run by marri90210, viz. "Invalid Item. I thus made even more friends. Even today, I look forward to making my additions in it when my turn comes! Then I myself started an India-based campfire "Invalid Item, an India based group "Invalid Item and a modestly successful epigram contest.

For me, writing.com, with its myriad avatars and infinite art forms is simply marvellous! While the static items allow you to create something that remains till posterity, the interactive items allow one to, what else, interact! I just love the madlibs, the message forums, the polls, the Ins and Outs and the Campfires. Even more enjoyable are the C-notes, the contests, the Shameless Plug page, the Chat Rooms and the Instant Messaging System! And the icing on the cake are the newsletters: these are at once informative, educative and entertaining! Hats off to The StoryMaster and The StoryMistress for all the variety you have put into this excellent web-site!

I absolutely adore the Gift Points System! It is a pleasure to send them, receive them, sponsor items through them, and so on. They add value to an otherwise purely cerebral web-site by allowing us to smile once in a while. Who among you hasn't enjoyed seeing that mail: "You've received Gift Points"?

A final acknowledgement or two, and then I am done: Ms Kimmie did a line by line review of my novella, The Price of Friendship. So did AdrianaCB . To them go my grateful thanks, as they do to all the others listed in this item, and to countless others, whose help I acknowledge here publicly.

Then, just last month someone introduced me to "SLAM!; over the entire month of July, I was busy writing and reading more poetry than I have done in the previous 43 years of my existence on this planet *Smile*! Thanks Trish!

In this endeavour, both Cappucine and Dale Arthur were very, very encouraging and supportive! Thanks to both of them for taking the time to read and review each poem and for sending me thousands of gift points through the contest!

I pray that such camaraderie and friendship will continue to prevail on writing.com in the years to come.

Thus far has my journey been so far on this fantastic web-site. Please also check my testimonial that I wrote just a month or two after joining!

That's it for now.

Since the time I wrote this, I have made many more friends here on Writing.com, won many awards, and have been gifted more than ten merit badges. I am really having fun here!
© Copyright 2003 Dr Taher writes again! (drtaher at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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