I value authentic communication. One of the reasons I became a writer is because I love to arrange words in such a way to incite feeling. I enjoy sparking discussions. However, I will tell you that it pulls on me to sit in front of screens all day, every day and type out all my emotions, and have people respond in kind. All we do is type, and that’s not exactly what I signed up for as a writer. I’m not liking it so much as a human either.
I romanticized my profession. I admit it. I dreamt of sitting in parks overlooking still ponds, listening to characters, pondering the meaning of life, and after a wee bit of angst and internal debate, finding those magical words that through my NYC-based agent and powerhouse publisher would find a global, loyal audience. I dreamt of book club discussions held in cozy living rooms and quaint cafes where my readers would argue the merits of my book. There would be book tours and readings in city libraries and book festivals around the country. I wrote expectantly and waited for that day to arrive. It didn’t. I turned to blogging to draw an audience. Hilarious. I turned to social media to help draw attention to my blog. It sort of worked. People liked my posts. They clicked the link to my blog. I wrote everyday, and looked forward to engaging in a dialogue. However, I became less and less fulfilled, less focused, with every post. I became concerned about brand, religion, staying positive, using keywords to draw in readers, and writing attention-grabbing titles. I lost myself. I lost my words, and I could not figure out why.
So, for the past couple of years I have been on a relentless search to regain my voice. It’s been extremely difficult. I’ve been so angry, depressed, defeated over losing my passion. A lot of you have been on this crazy journey with me, and I appreciate it. You know that I have given up everything for this. My job, my life, my stability, friends, lovers — all gone. Isolated, but truly believing God had a reason for all of it.
My life has certainly shifted. The pieces have started to come together — except my voice. I’m still struggling, which I suppose sounds strange as I have worked on writing two books this year for clients and have another large project that will roll out in early 2015. I can tell you honestly that God deserves all the glory, because my relationship with my voice is more vulnerable than it has ever been. It could not be me. Writers tend to live in their heads, and my head sounds like an empty, dusty art museum. Beautiful work is inside, and no one is appreciating it.
I recently saw a picture and put it on Instagram. It sparked a conversation about the way we communicate with one another, and in a shared nostalgia with one of my close friends, there it was — my breakthrough, aha moment.
My passion is in the face-to-face interaction, hearing the cadence of conversation via a phone call, seeing the tension of handwriting and the tenderly creased paper of a private letter. Techonology has taken me several degrees away from myself, and away from the romance that started this love affair. I miss the romance. I crave it. I deserve it in my life. I think that’s why these pictures invoke such a reaction. We just miss one another. We miss using our senses.
There has to be more to this passion, and to life in general, than this wireless, touchless connection we have come to accept as the standard. We plug our devices into chargers and outlets, and unplug them as soon as the screen says it’s fully charged. We do the same to ourselves, our God, our relationships, our families and our friends. We get our fix, and unplug as soon as we get feel powered up. There is no romance to be found there.
My voice is in the romance, and until I resurrect those dreams, my voice will not connect in the way I know that it can. Perhaps we can remove the filters, the screens, the publicity of our existence, and once again find our intimacy.