It was an amazing day. A truly remarkable event took place that day impacted every single day since.
That was the day Alexander Graham Bell phoned his assistant Thomas Watson and spoke audibly and instantly from New York City to San Fransisco. In an instant, Bell brought one coast intimately in touch with the other – a continent away. The message passed over the wires with speed the Pony Express, for all its glory, could not dream (much less match).
And at the same exact time, Bell quietly and ironically put a thousand miles between next door neighbors.
Hardly a soul noticed.
When I was 20 years old, I volunteered for Hospice, and one of my clients was an old, last-of-his-breed cowboy more than eighty years old then. (He would have been alive when that first call was made but would have been out on the range with the cattle and antelope, not paying no mind. I was so young at the time I could hardly appreciate his point, but the old man lamented to me once that when he was young, his nearest neighbor lived almost ten miles away. But he knew that neighbor ten miles away better than the guy living next door just ten yards away at the time he mentioned it to me.
“Reach out and touch someone.” The telephone company ads used to say that when I was young. I haven’t heard that in a very long time.
I don’t wish to blame phones or Bell for this isolation, but technology designed to bring us together has an overtly ironic side. I watch my grown kids sit on the same couch and send text messages to one another rather than speak face-to-face. Somehow, sometimes, the media drawing us together is actually an impediment, but it can be hard to see.
I suspect blogging is like that in some ways.
I used to keep private journals. I didn’t expect anyone to read them, but I could work out my thoughts there and occasionally revisit my own thoughts. About twenty years ago, I was introduced to blogging and began exchanging with others in this kind of forum online. (I had tried to navigate chatrooms a few times, but that was a lousy experience!) My early blogs never were terribly popular, and I never was a major influencer. But in recent years, I publish thoughts here that barely get a looksie, nary a like, and rarely, a comment. We NEVER (well, almost never) develop a discussion).
I remember my parents literally talking to the neighbor over the back fence when I was a kid. Maybe not a lot, but sometimes it was more than mere pleasantries exchanged. That NEVER happens now, not at my house, and I have tried!
I don’t hardly ever go back to look at my own posts either. If I was keeping a journal, I probably would do that from time to time. I almost never look at my own thoughts here after a day or two, and even then usually only to engage in conversation which is rare.
I am thinking the blog is a waste of time, even a waste of thought.
I belong to a writer’s group critiquing one another’s work in creative writing projects, and I have begun developing my writing skills and style since joining them. I neglect this blog lately so I can attend more to those projects. But recently my work was critiqued so harshly, I was asked if I write for myself or others. It seems my work was so repulsive and disengaging, if it were not for the task of critiquing, this critic would have preferred to put it down and not read it at all.
That’s face-to-face communication! Usually that kind of bluntness is reserved for the anonymity of the internet these days, but I got it right to my face, AND others in the group chimed in too!
I am still assessing that. There may be more than one way to understand that feedback, but on the face of it, it looks like I am not much of a communicator, certainly not a good writer, and my message is not wanted.
I am taking a little time to give that some thought and consideration.
I feel the power of this keyboard to connect me to you, whoever you are, even if you are in Australia, Israel, Africa, Latvia, or Kansas. But I also feel as far away from you as that old cowboy did from his next door neighbor just feet away. I’m thinking about getting myself a journal again. Not sure if I want to read myself, though.
That’s pretty detached. But it’s a cold world out there. I have said that a lot on this blog, and I feel it too.
Anyway, that’s where things are at the moment.
God bless you for visiting this blog – the few who do. Thank you for your visit over the proverbial back fence from time to time. Sorry if I bugged ya. Thanx for your patience with me and with the poor.