The other day Forrest commented, “Does anybody else have trouble writing letters - as these blogs seem to be - versus having it easy writing fiction?”
I used to be an avid letter writer but I don’t think of these blog posts as letters. Even email isn’t the same to me. McLuhan said, “The Medium Is The Message.” The method of our communication is critical to what we’re communicating. This could be the subject of a whole other blog post, but bottom line is, we all approach things differently, depending on the form, or medium, of our communication. A novelist must write to the senses and transfer the emotion to the page. A scriptwriter doesn’t have to focus on that as much –that’s what directors are for. They must deal in dialogue and plot above all else. They don’t always have to describe what characters look like either. I’ve even heard some just write “have sex” and the actors take the initiative. We novelists should be so lucky.
The blogger creates the focus of the blog, sets the tone. It isn’t one-sided for blogs where posters allow comments, but there is still a degree of control the blogger has. I could delete comments if I wanted to.
Now, I wouldn’t delete comments cavalierly, but the point is, I CAN if I need to.
In email, it’s different again. For one thing, email has a sense of immediacy. We’re more prone to think of responding quickly because we aren’t encumbered with the need to buy postage and address an envelope. We’re more prone to send a one-liner or ‘touch base quickly’ that way.
When I write a letter by hand, it’s an account of what’s going on in my life.
Most emails are pretty compact. The ‘reply’ key and the speed of typing a quick reply encourages that. The act of getting pen and paper and writing a letter by hand, addressing it and posting it involves too much effort for anything too quick and casual. Who books a suite, gets special attire, drives a few hours and checks in for a quickie? Nobody I know. Too much effort. You’re going to make it worthwhile.
I am a complete oddity in that I am incredibly shy by nature, but in email I can say almost anything to anyone. Electronically, I have no shame, which the regulars here know.
I have a hard time understanding it. Why can I say things to a person in email that I would likely never say to their face? Why do I talk about stuff on my blog that I’d be red-faced to discuss even with close friends?
There’s only one answer I could come up with. When you stand in front of someone, you’re forcing them to acknowledge you. It’s much harder for them to dismiss you. Most people are conditioned to try to be polite.
With email you can be brushed off in a snap and not even know it.
I always figure anyone can delete my messages without reading them. They don’t have to respond*. I don’t expect it. I mean, I put a different standard on myself than others, and I do try to write back to everyone, eventually. Usually right away, because I’ll forget and I’m anal about keeping my plate clear. Waiting on a really important email more than 1 hour is like an accomplishment for me, as so many who hear back within minutes should be able to imagine. But what I send out, I try to have no expectations on.
I suppose it’s my dual nature, being a Gemini. I’m one part social butterfly – and when I’m in party form, look out! But I am also one part scared to death of people.
I remember in gym class, my teacher calling my name as squad leader. He called it a second time when I didn’t move.
I crawled across the floor to the spot, letting my long hair fall over my face to hide my tears, I was that shy. And Mr. Manoulakis was a bit intimidating.
I can psych myself up and prepare mentally and do fine with certain things. I’ve placed in public speaking competitions. I’ve been hired as a professional speaker. I teach classes.
All of which is totally different, because I’m talking a topic. It isn’t about me.
Way too much of me is still rooted in fear over being rejected by people.
I get emails from some people (usually people who intimidate me) and I cry. Not happy cry, but scared cry. I’m truly pathetic.
It’s hard for me to reconcile my contradictions. Even harder for Kevin, patient man that he is. An author friend of mine asked me my opinion on something, and I said, “What difference does it make what I think?” Kevin told me I had to stop believing I wasn’t good enough to be an author. It’s just, I believed for so long what I heard, that I couldn’t do it, that although I was determined to prove people wrong and worked hard to make that happen, I still don’t believe sometimes I’m going to be published, like it’s all a big cruel joke and the sky will come crashing down any day now, and I’ll look the fool because I was stupid enough to believe I could get anywhere in this business to begin with.
Does that make any sense? Or am I just a freak?
I know there are some people that have been startled, maybe even troubled, by my openness in emails. Some people I’ve been writing sporadically for months, I’d still be reluctant to walk up to and chat with.
Okay, so I have some problems.
And I think I’ve been hated on some listserve groups because I didn’t introduce myself when I went on, just eventually started making posts. But I can’t introduce myself – that’s too much making it about me. One thing for me to discuss the merits of married vs unmarried sleuths but to say, “Hello everyone! Here I am!” I do that when I need to do that, but on listserves with designated topics of discussion? Just feels wrong.
Still, I’m pretty sure someone who made a recent comment about hating people who just turned up when they got a book deal meant me. I just didn’t know about that listserve until I got my deal – then someone suggested I sign up for it. Ugh. I feel like I should crawl back under a rock.
Stuff like that chokes me up. Even when I’m really hurt, which I have to be, I can fight the cause and argue with someone when it’s needed. Then I walk away and go hide in a corner and cry.
Should’ve called my blog Sandrablubberer.
I find a surprising number of fellow bloggers confess to being shy. I think, perhaps, like me they find they can control the face they present to the world through this medium, and they feel comfortable with that.
I keep telling myself this is going to make it easier for me when I “meet” people in person that I already “know” online. On the one hand, intellectually, I know it will. It’ll make it easier when anyone talks about stuff they already know about me – I don’t have to try to start a conversation.
But there are still some days when the thought of meeting some of the people I “know” strikes fear in my heart.
One thing I can’t imagine is anyone being excited to meet me. Yet I’m an absolute giddy schoolgirl when it comes to meeting people I respect.
Man, I hope the people I’ll be seeing at Harrogate aren’t disappointed when they meet me.
You know, I met Kevin online.
And we’ve been together more than 7 years, so give it up people. Not all online romances are doomed to fail.
But that’s another story…
And just to make sure everyone’s offended by something…
(Jokes, people. Just jokes.)
For wild news, someone who isn’t communicating through the spoken word...
THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS MEXICAN
His first name was Jesus
He was bilingual
He was always being harassed by the authorities
THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS BLACK
He called everybody "brother"
He liked Gospel
He couldn't get a fair trial
THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS JEWISH
He went into his father's business
He lived at home until he was 33
He was sure his Mother was a virgin,
and his Mother was sure he was God
THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS ITALIAN
He talked with his hands
He had wine with every meal
He worked in the building trades
THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS A CALIFORNIAN
He never cut his hair
He walked around barefoot
He started a new religion
THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS IRISH
He never got married
He was always telling stories
He loved green pastures
(and now the MOST Compelling EVIDENCE)
THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS A WOMAN
He had to feed a crowd, at a moments notice, when there was no food.
He kept trying to get the message across to a bunch of men who just didn't get it.
Even when he was dead, he had to get up because there was more work for him to do.
* Please, don’t everyone rush to write me back if you haven’t. No guilt trip here, seriously!