Constructing my first web page was fraught with anxiety.
It scored higher on the trauma scale
than any previous virtual experience.
And it came a close second to selling the family house
after twenty-one years,
which is what I am experiencing in the real world whilst being attached to TrAce.

It's always good to have something to immerse yourself in when you need to get away from solicitors, estate agents and fussy buyers, but html coding is not necessarily the answer.

My first week at TrAce
I was really excited about the bursary,
but didn't get much done.
The e-mails came flooding in
from other writers and
from our on-line tutor,
with all sorts of complicated directions to follow about 'moos' and Sunday chats with remote people I have never met.

Logged into the TrAce site and looked around,
but couldn't get into the teckie bit.

Decided to download all the software needed in time for the first Sunday...
But never did.

I still haven't got my head around that one.
So I'm not virtually chatting.
I'm not into cyber craik.

I tried to follow the instructions for simple web pages...
And found that too difficult too.

Then I read the notes more carefully
(thinking about what I was reading instead of drifting off to worry about the house buying).
And it clicked.

1 got a simple page to work with a link to another one.

The mechanics (very basic) were sorted.

The idea of strutting my stuff in cyber space,
performing poems to an audience who's disinterest I could remain oblivious of,
hanging my images in a virtual gallery,
with no framing costs,
no hanging fees and
no critics
was well appealing.

It 's good to have a space to gather all my stuff together.
Such an ego trip.

Week's two three and four at TrAce
I spent coding my pages and learning about
making up a contents page to hang it all on
and generally working out methods for keeping track of links.

I fiddled around for hours off-line
and got slightly faster
at coding and completely absorbed.

Then it was time to try a few pages on the TrAce space
and log into them in the usual way...
"upload them" as I soon learned to say.
This was another sticking point.
My computer crashed fairly spectacularly
when I tried to re-configure the browser
and to use it to upload.
In the end I had to bite the bullet
and download Fetch from the web.
I always resist downloading software or plug-ins...
I worry about viruses.
And about my own ability to install the downloads properly.
The Fetch download, though, went without a hitch.

I uploaded all the documents to the folder assigned to me on the TrAce site
and at the same time inadvertently deleted a document
I should have left alone.

An e-mail apology brought a speedy response where I learned that the deleted file was not necessary to make the pages run and nothing seemed to be missing...
So maybe I didn't muck it up after all?
Anyway damage was limited.

And my confidence was growing.

Over the next week I uploaded a few more pages.
Then the house moving kicked into top gear
and I took five weeks sabbatical.

Now I am back coding again.

I looked at my html documents tonight
for the first time in five weeks
and reminded myself pretty quickly of
how and what I had done.
I added this page and some gallery pages
plus the text versions tonight.

The thing with cyber space is it's expandability.
I could continue constructing this site for ever.
There is no theoretical limit to the number of words
and images I can link together in a site.
No limits impposed by cost of printing and so on.
But in practical terms there must be a full stop...


ŠJenni Meredith