Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In Conclusion...

So I have been learning to "read like a writer" via Francine Prose's not so much life changing but definitely helpful book for students studying "the art" of writing fiction. A wonderfully successful author herself, depending on how you define success...as I do by the fact that she has written, and published, several novels and that people actually read them,(oh yeah, she's won some awards as well) finishes the book with a chapter on courage. The courage it takes for someone to write.

Courage. Is writing a courageous act? People have often told me so. In fact when the subject of my blog, in one way or another, comes up in conversation the responses that follow are more often than not something along the lines of,"oh how brave it is to put your thoughts out there for everyone to read" or "wow, that takes guts, I could never do that.", etc.

I have never looked at writing as an act of courage. When I first started writing, it was just something I had to do. An act that was far from courageous or brave but that, if I am to be perfectly honest, was more for my own selfish benefit. It was therapeutic. Writing, sitting in solitude and putting pen to paper. Talking about the world and the way I see it, or creating lives and stories from thin air. This was what writing had always been for me.

However, in reading authors who manage to "write well", and there is most definitely a difference in writing well and just writing for mere pleasure, I see the act of courage in their sentences. I've often felt inspired by these writers and their courage to write for a purpose, an agenda. We all have something to say, but it's the way we say it that matters. There is a raw honesty in the admittance that most of the time, as writers, we only half way know what we're talking about. None of us have all the answers. Perhaps the best piece of advice Prose's book has to offer is this? She tells us to "forget about life...admit that you understand nothing of life, nothing of what you see. Then go out and look at the world."

Well, until next time...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Me & My Etch a Sketch

"I feel like a giant Etch a Sketch that's been shaken clean, but there is a strange beauty in the emptiness..." - Cindy Guidry.

Blocked, Defriended & Deleted...The wonderful world of technology

So it's official. I've been defriended via facebook. And so what? I'll admit, I recently went through and did the exact same thing to over 200 people on my friend list. But here's the difference. I did it because I wasn't really "friends" with any of those people. In fact, I didn't even like some of them all that much. Some of them I didn't even know.

I, on the other hand, was defriened by someone who had recently become significant to me - an influential person in my life. Someone who I had even come to consider, maybe foolishly, a best friend. So it got me wondering if being defriended via facebook is equivalent to being defriended in life? In this case, it may be. I can't be sure, because, unfortunately I cannot predict the future. However either way you look at it, the implications of this act were most definitely meant to hurt me, and guess what? It hurt.

This got me thinking about this whole technology thing and how it factors into our relationships. And in thinking about it like this I can't decide whether to love or hate technology. Some of my most valued friendships are, in fact, only able to significantly prosper by use of technology - but it's not just talking on the phone anymore. With texting, facebook, gchat, twitter and even blogging, there are so many different forms of communication, I find myself having a hard time keeping up. It makes me think of that scene in "He's just not that into you" when Drew Barrymore's character is talking about all the different communication devices you can now get rejected from, and you know what? Drew's right, it's exhausting.

At the same time, my relationships with my best friends wouldn't be the same without these things. I relish the random texts or wall posts I get from friends that always make me laugh no matter what's going on, or the hour long gchat conversations I have in between working. (That is on the rare occasion I even have time to go to the bathroom during work, let alone sign on to my gmail account, but that's beside the point) The simple reality is, none of us can spend our lives talking on the phone all day. Some of us can try; some friends of mine have even gotten pretty close. But in between the calls, it's these little forms of communication that keep me sane. Things that have become such an intricate part of my daily life I can't really imagine living without them.

Of course the flip side to all of this is that these same forms of technology seem to create an almost lack of intimacy when forming new relationships. When you've already established a relationship with someone beyond these methods, you don't really have to talk to that person every day. They are the friends you can go without seeing for weeks, months, maybe even years, and in that moment when are reunited it feels that no time has passed at all. These are the kinds of friendships and relationships I strive for. That's not to say I don't have plenty of acquaintances or people I associate with via on the surface interactions, but for me personally - If I'm going to put my time and effort into getting to know someone - I don't look to these types of technology to develop the relationship for me. And to be honest, I can't really take anyone seriously who tries to formulate a relationship with me in that way.

What am I getting at? Well, a few things, if you'll allow me to speak candidly (as if you had a choice). I prefer human interaction. Or at least a voice on the other end of the line if that's the only option. And while we're on the subject, in terms of potential "romantic" relationships (for lack of a better term), since when did facebook become match.com? And who are these girls that whore themselves out via facebook? I read an article about divorced couples who site facebook as the prime reason for their split. Usually because the men had developed relationships with other women that began through the site. I just don't get it? Oh, and btw... no I don't want to facebook chat with you about what bar we can meet up at on Friday night, this does not constitute as a "date"...nor do I want to be hit on through a facebook message. Come on guys; let's try a little harder here. Oh, and things like gchatting and texting are supposed to be in addition to actually picking up the phone and calling - they aren't supposed to replace this form of communication all together. I mean, are they? I certainly hope not. I think that most of us girls would agree that this is not exactly equivalent to sweeping us off our feet.

So in what appears to be a never-ending technological revolution, it makes me wonder how the whole concept of human relationships will continue to change and evolve. Let's just hope we remember the truest form of communication comes from within ourselves...The one that's often realized in a moment of silence, between two people, that feels so strangely natural that you don't even notice it...Otherwise, I'm afraid we may all just turn into robots.

Well, until next time...