The good ol’ days of communication

Don’t get me wrong, I take as much advantage of communication technology as I can. I email. I text. I blog. I juggle as many social media accounts as possible. But how often do I really talk to anyone?

Don’t get me wrong, I take as much advantage of communication technology as I can. I email. I text. I blog. I juggle as many social media accounts as possible. But how often do I really talk to anyone?

I know. I know. Yes, this is another post bemoaning my mixed feelings on social media. Sorry, but I’m trying to work something out. I love that line in a current commercial where the man says, “Fiber makes me sad.” Well, I think social media makes me sad.

Recently, when I had to sort through all the accumulated email after being pretty much offline for over a week, I realized that the ratio of personal emails to “business” was about 199 to 1. How did that happen? I used to have real friends. We kept in touch. We used to actually converse by email. Before that, we wrote letters. By hand. On paper.

Now, my “friends” and I wave at each other on Facebook … if even that. I see their photos. I know what games they play. What trips they take. I read the funny things their children, or grandchildren, say or do. I might even know what they had for dinner. All that deceives me into thinking we’re in touch.

The reality is people don’t pour out their hearts on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or even their blogs, as a rule. I had penpals way back in the dark ages … er … the 80s. We corresponded via twelve … fifteen … twenty page letters! Some of those women became true, if long-distance, friends. Two of them are among those I wave at on Facebook. The others have fallen by the wayside.

How did I get to be this friendless person with a thousand acquaintances? Really, that should make me sad. Truly sad. I need to do something about that.

I wish for you an abundance of real friends … and if you have them, don’t just “wave” at them.

Miscommunication, the bane of social media! Or is it just me?

Miscommunication is key to the plot in my novel in progress, so I’ve been thinking about the ways we misconstrue the words and actions of those in our lives. Of course, that led to remembering how often I’ve failed in my online communications.

Miscommunication is key to the plot in my novel in progress, so I’ve been thinking about the ways we misconstrue the words and actions of those in our lives. Of course, that led to remembering how often I’ve failed in my online communications.

It didn’t take long after I started using email, to discover that lack of aural and visual clues leads to easy misinterpretation of words. The Geeks were ahead of me, of course, and had developed netspeak [LOL] and then emoticons [:-)] as a substitute, but often I neglected to use them and what I wrote in jest or sarcasm was taken seriously.

Unfortunately, I tend to forget that those I communicate with in social media don’t know me. And so, even if I don’t LOL or :-), I assume they’ll know when I’m joking. They’ll know I would never deliberately hurt their feelings. They’ll understand that I often speak before I’ve thought something through and give me the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t work that way.

And I always forget that it doesn’t work that way.

In my short career in the online writing world, I have inadvertently insulted a NYTimes bestselling author by email and a literary Super Agent by blog comment; I’ve incited arguments where I never meant to; and I’ve annoyed, exasperated, and exhausted people with my incessant—and sometimes blatant—questions.

I’m sure the Internet police have a warrant out for me.

What about you? Do have this online communication thing down pat, or do you sometimes flub it up too?

Writing for the light

I’m in a comtemplative mood today. While I did my NaHo cleaning today, I listened to Cat Stevens. What can I say? The T-Mobile commercials got to me. I had quite a crush on Cat in the 70’s. (And for those of you who’ve read Brevity visualize that era Cat Stevens as Renee’s Demetrios, and a good bit of Jalal too.) But back to contemplation.

When I listen to any music that I love (and I have quite a range of faves) it’s like a B-12 shot for my creative soul. I suppose that’s how we choose our favorites songs and artists, eh? So my Cat Stevens compilation DVD was set on repeat and my mind drifted along as I listened and worked. And then, suddenly I tuned back in. “Sitting” is a song I’ve heard countless times, including three times today before it got my attention, but something about it slapped me the fourth time. To be exact it was this part of the lyric:

Now I’m not making love to anyone’s wishes,
Only for that light I see
‘Cause when I’m dead and lowered low in my grave,
That’s gonna be the only thing that’s left of me

I don’t know what Cat meant when he wrote those words. I only know what I felt when I heard them. Sometimes I forget why I write. Sometimes I get so focused on publication that I feel desperate. Sometimes I lose sight of the true goal. The written word is a means of communication. Plain and simple.

I don’t mean that all written word should be life-changing, of course. My novel The Brevity of Roses, is just a story I want to share. The story won’t solve any of the world’s problems. It most likely won’t solve any of your personal problems. But it might take you away to a lovely place for a while.

And that’s the light I see. That’s why I write.