When you have friends & interests but your interests are not your friends'...

*Warning - the following post is a rant. If you do not have hours of time and at least one full cup of coffee, please proceed to the next "to do" thing on your list, and come back later. ;)*

Friends. Acquaintances. Pals. BFFS.

I have friends. Not a whole lot, like, friends friends, but I have friends.

(Let's try this again. I feel as though I'm defending myself. That isn't what I'm trying to do.)


I have friends. I have a lot of friends, and a few close friends. (There. That's better.) I'm not *as* close with my friends as I used to be, due to kids/work/school/writing/life plus whatever it is that occupies their time and takes them away from the phone/computer, too. (For some reason I felt the need to make sure you all knew I had friends before I went into today's actual post. I'm not sure why.) And that doesn't bother me, us not being as close, not speaking all the time like we used to, really it doesn't. I get it. Life. Life happens.

Anyway. Even though I *do* have friends (and they mean a LOT to me), I've found myself, over the past year or so, moving into a completely different direction. As in, well okay fine, I'll just come right out and say it: I'm obsessed. Obsessed with reading, obsessed with writing. And I've always been obsessed with movies. Every single time I go to open my mouth, either

1) a movie

2) a book/author/story line


3) a writing idea/experience

tries to force itself from my mouth.

And I swear, I try, I try *really* hard not to do it all of the time, to say things like, "Uh, so, the sun is yellow, right?" instead of "Oh my gosh I was reading this book and the best idea came to me and I ran to my journal...", but it's hard.

It reminds me of new parents. (Now, I was one once, almost 13 years ago, so I know what I'm talking about here. And if for some reason you don't happen to know any new parents, and have not been a new parent yet, then please, think of it as new pet owners, instead. It's pretty close to the same thing.) When someone has just had a kid, and that kid is pretty much the only thing the parent/s are dealing with every day, then that kid, and the experiences with the kid, and the cute times and the annoying times and the "once, when she threw up all over my face..." stories (and everything else you can think of that you've heard/told over the years) come out. Constantly. Until you get to the point where (and don't deny it, people) you want to scream, I DON'T CARE HOW CUTE YOUR KID LOOKS WHEN HE EATS A FRENCH FRY!

It's not that the new parent/s are *trying* to only talk about their kid all of the time, but that's their life. All the time. It's all they know. They're absorbed in every little bitty detail of it.

Well that's me. It's not that I'm *trying* to think about reading/writing all of the time, it's just my life now. It's me. I read, write, parent, drink coffee, steal the occasional date with my husband, and breathe.

And so, in trying not to drive everybody bonkers, I hold a lot of the experience, the enjoyment (and of course, the dejection and frustration) INSIDE. Which is a good thing, I'm sure, for those who know me. Less rambling for them to hear.

BUT. I've found myself wishing, over the past few months, for someone to just sit with, someone I could have long conversations with about everything in the writer/readerly world... in person. It's not that I don't appreciate you all out there across the internet, because I do, I wouldn't have survived this past year without you, but to look someone in the eye, see their reaction, hear their feelings about this character or that ending, and get it... I don't know. After a while, the "oh I don't reads", and "it's only a book" looks just make me sad, you know?

There. Rant is over. A cup of coffee has been emptied, and I feel better now. Somewhat.

I came across this quote, and had to share it in today's post.

"One hasn't become a writer until one has distilled writing into a habit, and that habit has been forced into an obsession. Writing has to be an obsession. It has to be something as organic, physiological and psychological as speaking or sleeping or eating." --- Niyi Osundare

How about you? Does the solitary writer life get to you sometimes, too? What to do you to get over that lonely hump?


Liana Brooks said...

I have writing friends, and I have friends to talk about the kids with, and I have friends to talk about church with, and I have friends to talk about the environment with.

My best friends overlap. My BFF can carry on any of these conversations with ease, even if their contribution is a tale about a furry child. I'm okay with that.

I don't know if I could be a solitary writer. I've never been a solitary fiction writer. Once I had admitted I was ready to write full-time, I found an online critique group (critiquecircle.com). I made friends there. Found help there. And made myself a niche there.

For me, writing buddies are no further away than an e-mail, even if half of my best friends don't live in the same country as I do. When I need some writer back up, or someone to talk to, I have them.

So... I guess my suggestion is to make friends with other writers! Then you can talk about story ideas all you want :o)

Brenda Drake said...

Woah, you get me. I totally feel the same. Great rant! :D

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Liana - That's what I'm in the process of doing, taking time to have more of an online presence in order to do just that! And I do think blogs are good for finding friends as well:) But for some reason I crave the physical aspect of it. I know I'll find that in time, though.

Brenda - Doesn't it feel great to know someone else out there feels the same way? ;)

Eric W. Trant said...

I love my wife for many reasons, not the least of which is that she'll sit and act enthralled with my story ideas.

Everyone else changes the topic post haste.

I'm lucky that way, I suppose, because talking it out has this binge-n-purge appeal to it that leaves you refreshed, but with less enamel on your teeth, especially if it's all ugly and green and clumpy that stuff that burps out.

- Eric

Anne Gallagher said...

Thank you for getting into my brain today. I feel the EXACT SAME WAY. I think that's why everyone always raves about conferences, even if they have a crappy time, it's still great because they get to TALK to other writers.

Lila Swann said...

Yes. Yes, yes, yes. You got this perfectly right, and it's just what I needed today. Thank you! xo

Michelle D. Argyle said...

I love, love, love this rant! I feel exactly the same way. I do have friends in real life whom I can sit down and talk with about writing, thank goodness, but those meetings with each other can be far and few between, and sometimes - like right now - I kind of die in the in between stages. Here's to hoping you find someone you can talk to!

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Eric - my husband does his best, he really does. But a lot of the time his eyes glaze over after a while, just like mine do when he talks about golf or things about the business that I totally do not get. So I understand why he reacts the way he does, and I appreciate him trying. He does not read, it's not his thing, which is why I would love to find someone who does.

And to Anne, Lila and Michelle, I can't tell you guys how good it makes me feel to know other people get this, and truly understand how I feel. I really, really debated even posting this because I was worried I'd sound like a crazy person!:) So whew. I'm so happy to hear I'm not the only one!

James Garcia Jr said...

Hey, Snip. I appreciate your rant, as well as the feeling behind it. I love all of the folks across the blogosphere, but being able to look them in the eye is something altogether different. God help us if we ever bump into one another at some valley bookstore! I can see it now: "You guys closed down a bar?" "No, a bookstore!"
Take care and feel free to rant a bit more whenever you need it. ;)

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Jimmy - I commented a response on here the other day, but it's not showing. =( I wonder where it went?