When I was fifteen I decided that my screen name would be FreeVerse. I liked writing poetry and this is what I told people when they asked why I’d chosen it.
It wasn’t entirely a lie.
I did write poetry as a teenager, most of which was so awful I had to throw it out a few years ago. I have maybe 12 poems, none of publishable quality, but they seemed good enough to hang on to and not too personal either. My poems, except the silly ones, have almost always been about love, and the only two I can easily recalling keeping are about my crush going out with another girl (I was very broken hearted at the ripe old age of 13), and lamenting about an attractive gay friend. For some reason I thought I could convert him, in both senses of the word.
The real reason my screen name has almost always been FreeVerse is because of a great book. One of the classics of our time.
In this book, Olivia goes by the name Freeverse — she is a writer, artist and poet who falls madly in love in a chat room with a mysterious guy named Quarter.
Quarter happens to be Ken Matthews, quarterback of the Sweet Valley High football team, the Gladiators.
And SVH is in the grips of turf war. It’s the jocks versus the burnouts (aka the stoners but no one wants to call them that) against the art crowd against the grunge kids.
Freeverse and Quarter try to meet up at a local cafe. Olivia sees Ken and Ken sees Olivia here, they say hello, but when they both get online they demand to know why they have been set up.
Of course, with all of the violence and mayhem between all the groups, there’s no way an art nerd can fall for a jock, is there?
The solution to the sub culture clashes is a dance.
And Olivia and Ken get together, and everyone lives happily ever after until the final book of SHV (the Junior year series), in which Olivia dies because she’s been crushed by a fridge.
I wish I made all of this up.
But when you’re fifteen the idea of going on a virtual date and being given the best gift ever — a delicate virtual rose — is kind of cool, and I went with it.
Now, some people know the truth behind my lie, it’s never been exactly a secret, but in the last few years I have to admit, I don’t really like poetry all that much. I did poetry at university and I struggled my way through it — I don’t know how I even managed to pass the subject, seeing as I barely made it into T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and I did a 1500 word essay on the great work.
I just can’t get excited about poetry.
Maybe sonnets. Because Shakespeare was pretty damn good at what he did, but I need to sit there and think about it and ponder and… these are not things I am good at.
I have written some poetry recently though, every now and then, but it’s always really challenging to get started. And also, I haven’t ever wanted to share it. I don’t like reading poetry most of the time, and have no inclinations to shove some lines at people when they could read a blog post that takes about ten minutes to write and isn’t open to interpretation the same way poetry often is.
I have taken my FreeVerse name off most everything now, but I do miss her. Free, FV and The Verse, my self given nicknames, were such a part of me, the same way chat rooms used to be, and sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye to someone you loved. It’s easier now that I’ve accepted that my love was a lie, and FreeVerse was just a great sounding name belonging to one of the most understated Sweet Valley High characters of all time.
And, just for the record, I have never received a brilliantly described virtual rose on facebook, just ones like this: (@) and once a guy on Hot or Not Chat sent me a virtual bunch of roses, AKA a picture of a rose bouquet, that cost him $10 actual dollars. But it was also 2007 and Valentines Day, so Hot or Not was probably dishing them out for free to paid members.