Sunday, September 12, 2010

What we have here is... failure to communicate.

Before I get into the post, I just want to say sorry for being so quiet lately. I don't really have a reliable Internet connection at home, which is why I haven't been blogging that much. Also thank you  to all of  the new ladies and gents for clicking follow. Hope you enjoy it here.

I've been thinking I might have something to say about an aspect of being a writer - being misunderstood.

Is it only me or do we function on a completely different wavelengths to other people? Sometimes I just shake my head at the fact that a person just completely missed the point of what I said.

It's a bad habit, but when I speak, I speak the same way that I write. There are multiple implications in my words. And I assume that my audience will grasp those implications and run forth with it and take the idea to it's fully understood glory. Who said I can't be an optimist? Half the arguments and disagreements that I have had with people are due to the fact that they aren't paying attention to everything. They pick up on the literal and the literal alone before coming to a conclusion (read, judgment).

Worst of all, they will then stick to their guns and argue with me, while I am arguing exactly the same side. All I want is to help the person to realize what the argument is lacking, but sadly, most people lack the ability to see past the obvious to the... well... really obvious. Do I sound patronizing? If I do it is completely unintentional, but I'm sure that I am not the only one in contact with this blog that has come up with an idea, verbalize it, have it shot down, only to have the shooter change the wording and verbalize the exact same thing a few minutes later. Luckily my happy place is quite spacious, so I can just smile and walk away. 

And that's just our thinking patterns. Here are some of my favorite assumption based niggles:

Mention that you write, and the run of the mill person tilts their head with absolute amazement and exclaim:
"Really! I want a signed copy of your book please." Cringe. The assumption seems to be that the only writers that are real writers are those that are published. If you aren't, and you explain as such, you tend to get the following: "Tisk aw... what a pity. I thought that I knew someone famous." Simmer simmer boil boil.

That's the second big assumption. We authors write to be famous, so if we are published, that automatically means that we have tea with the Albert Camus.

Forgive this obscure reference, but as far as I recall, he's the only Nobel prize winner for Literature that I have in fact read. I might be wrong, since I don't keep track of the Nobel and Pulitzer and best romance writer of the year etc. winners that sneak into my reading list. This point, as well as the valid point that he is in fact quite dead, is actually... well... besides the point. But I felt the need to point this out to prevent people from thinking I lost it entirely by drinking tea with Monsieur Camus. Back to the main train of thought...

Another thing is that non-writers absolutely don't understand how we can have multiple voices in our heads and still be considered somewhat sane. How is that difficult to get? Normal insane people have voices telling them what to do. Writers have voices that tell them what they are doing in a story. Huge and vital difference people.

Most gratingly, non-writers talk about the writing lifestyle as if they know exactly what they are talking about. No? Ever heard: "A writer's block is all in the mind and easily overcome..."? No.... I'm just sitting there pulling my hair out for months because I feel like it. Or... "It can't be that hard to get an agent..." hmm... Generally I just smile sweetly and have an internal dialogue about the pros and cons of a character's now imminent and violent death. Did I mention my happy place? I speed there as fast as I can.

I'm not going to go into the others, since that can take up a book on it's own.

But really, we're human, they're human (I hope) so where does the communication gap originate? I think it's because we see and consider things differently. I'd like to think that writers, as the scribes to humanity, should be at least a little bit wiser than your garden variety human being. Maybe it's arrogance, but where they look at me with horror and perplexity, I look at them with pity.

They don't understand, and so won't try to write. They will never get to experience one of the most gratifying ways of life that can be found, but they will always look at us and wonder what the hell we are. I find that sad.

What about you all? Is this yet another rambling from a truly convoluted mind? Or do you experience the same or similar problems and/or niggles? How do you deal with them? 


  1. I think I don't get these questions a lot because I teach, and writing is a hobby. Nobody questions someone who writes in their free time, other than to question the sanity of committing to writing a novel when you have no free time.
    Wishing you all the best.

  2. Hahaha so true. Sometimes I question my own sanity for that same reason :-)

  3. Hey there

    Oddly enough, I was thinking about something similar to what you're describing here. Although, admittedly my issue is a bit more mundane - The gist of 'flight of fancy' was that not all people bother to develop an imagination and therefore they can't fathom those who revel in their imagination and they are indeed to be pitied. I share your frustration, try arguing a fine point about some theory or argument with the more literal minded 'engineers' among us and you find yourself bashing your head against a wall - painful and ultimately futile, for you, the wall does not care.

    But don't mind them too much, those who do not understand will never know the true joy you have in writing, and for that they deserve our pity and not our anger. Good luck with the writing!

  4. Hahahaha I know! Those walls tend to talk back, tend to say things like: "But that wasn't in the book..."

    Screw the books! We write the books! ;-P

    PS I've been very naughty, but the newest installmet of my Beast will reach you ASAP.


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