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The romance of on-line reading

By Jayne Spencer, Editor of IU Home Pages

Meggin Cabot (B.A. ‘91) was far and away the most magical babysitter ever.

The pre-pubescent girls who lived along East University Street in Bloomington in the mid-1980s adored her. While scooters, soccer balls and jump ropes were the toys of choice at that time, the landscape of neighborhood play would change just a bit when Meggin was coming to “sit.” For one thing, Barbie and her plastic entourage would emerge from dusty closets.

Meggin was a storyteller of the first order, you see, and she needed Barbie and the gang as props. She would fabricate such elaborate and baronial epics that the little girls in her care were transported to distant and ethereal realms. She also was responsible for addicting these very girls to the afternoon soap called All My Children, a habit they continued well into their college years and for which I will never forgive her. But that’s another story.

So it was no real surprise when my copy of the winter 2001 issue of The College arrived recently with Leora Baude’s great cover story about Meggin (To see the cover image, click on "Romance novels" in the arts section of today's IU Home Pageson line). As a graduate of the IU College of Arts and Sciences, Meggin has wedded her fine arts background with an innate sense of fancy and emerged as a successful New York City writer of romance and young adult fiction. She’s already sold the film rights to one of those novels. Not bad for a kid who once made 50 cents an hour.

But Meggin is only tangentially what this column is about.

I wanted to send The College’s story to the now grown children for whom Meggin had created such rich childhood memories. The problem was, I only had one print copy. But when I found that The College was on line, my task became easier. Now all the kids, including the one in Beijing who thought soap operas were as icky as his sister, are getting a “copy” on line, no hassle, no copying, no postage.

It made me think about the number of great publications on the Net with Indiana University content. Take, for instance, Research and the University Graduate School’s Research and Creative Activity, where you’ll find some of the best writing around. The January issue has as its theme “Librarians at Work” with an opening essay by Suzanne Thorin, dean of university libraries. It’s an amazing publication, and its archives are all uploaded for reading. Some stories in the IU Alumni Association’s Indiana Alumni are uploaded, including a feature in the January-February issue on IU students Haranjeet Narulla and Erica Wolf and their studies on entrepreneurship at the Kelley School of Business. Also on line are UITS’ The Monitor and Newsbit for computer updates, the IUB Office for Women’s Affairs’ Majority Report; IU Southeast’s The Horizon, IUPUI’s Sagamore on line, and the Bloomington campus’ Indiana Digital Student, winner of a Pacemaker award this year from the National Collegiate Media Convention. Swim around the Net, and you’ll find many more.

And just this plug for IU Home Pages. This is our fifth year on line, and we’ve added some new features this year we hope you are enjoying. For all you romantics out there (and aren’t we all?), please join us for today’s “Conversation on line” as rock historian Glenn Gass talks about The Beatles, love songs and the power of pop (click on today's "Conversations" column, above left).

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Publication date: February 2, 2001
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