I am notoriously bad at keeping in touch. It's not that I don't think of people, and it's not even that I don't think of getting in touch. I'm too perfectionist about it. If I call, I've got to be in the exactly right frame of mind to talk. If I write, I've got to have the exactly right words that will be worthy of the recipient's time. The same goes for e-mail. Blog comments? They'll hang around on someone else's blog forever! What could I say that would be worth that?
I keep waiting for the right time to phone or write, and days stretch into months into...
I've lost touch with more people that way - people that I've really wanted to stay in touch with. I do keep up with a few friends from high school and college through that old standby, the Christmas letter. However, even that has fallen by the wayside this year - so far. I was going to write a Christmas letter after my knee surgery when I'd have lots of time to sit. I didn't take "keeping the leg elevated" into account and ended up reading lots of books in bed instead.
The Christmas letter turned into a New Year's letter, then a Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day letter. The letter is done. I just have to finish making it perfect editing it. This week is too busy so it won't be a Valentine's Day letter. Maybe I'll just color it green and send it out on St. Patrick's.
I also have a difficult time getting together with people that I don't see on a regular, informal basis. If I call up out of the blue and ask someone over, it's got to be just right. Impossible. I find it easiest to get together with neighbors because I often just end up with chats with them in the court, particularly in our recent nice weather. Then it's easier to get together because we've seen each other.
Strangely enough, Facebook has helped my online perfectionism. It's the online equivalent of the chat in the court. People post what's going on in their lives, and you can make a brief comment, which then vanishes in a week or two. It makes me feel more "in touch" and more able to write e-mails or post comments.
In anything online, I have good days and bad. Some days I feel expansive, write blog posts, actually answer e-mails, "friend" people on Facebook, and comment on other blogs. Other days, I feel more reclusive and self-judgmental. Nothing I write will be good enough - so I don't (hence last week's LOLCats and photos)(I don't have this trouble with photos for some reason).
This weekend, I was feeling particularly expansive, and ended up "friending" a number of people on Facebook, including some friends from high school that I haven't seen for years. This expansiveness was started by a high school friend who "friended" me. I haven't seen her for decades, and was surprised to see where her life and mine are similar and different.
I found another friend on Facebook a few weeks ago. I haven't talked to her for, oh, decades, though we had been good friends in high school. I "friended" her immediately, right? Wrong. It took yesterday's lovely weather and an extremely expansive mood for me to creep out of the past and "friend" her in the present.
Then we fell on each other's virtual shoulders and hugged and caught up on everything we've been doing for the last 20 30 since we last saw each other, right? Wrong. There's a way you can send a message when you "friend" someone, and I usually write something in there, but I forgot. I could send an e-mail, if I'm in exactly the right mood and can write exactly the right things...
However, I have read her entire blog, Leftbrainwrite: Musings on Writing and the Mind..., in the last 24 hours. We knew each other from band and orchestra, but I had no idea that she could write like this. She writes about her job in Pharmacology and Public Health, which interests me because I worked in Public Health for a while (and hopefully will again some day). She writes about her family and her life, which is new to me.
The writing that strikes me most, however, is her poetry and her writing about her fiction writing. She discusses creativity and the creative process, which is something that has fascinated me for years (society and creativity was the subject of my graduate work). It's not just what she writes about that interests me, however. I love her unique voice. One example is the beginning of Idus Martiae:
I think of the Ides of March not so much a metaphor for impending doom, but more a time of uncertainty, of shifting tectonic plates. Of blood coursing through veins too fast, too hot.
I watch the earth in our garden crack, the soil heaving upward; I like to think of the repressed plants rebelling against the last of the cold and thrusting upward to the sun. That’s how my heart feels this time of year: yearning, striving, desiring something more, something greater. It’s my time of restlessness, of pacing behind my psychic boundaries like a caged cougar...
I, particularly, love her poem, "On My Father's 70th Birthday" (in The Asparagus Are Up...Celebrate with Poetry) especially the last two lines (which feel very familiar).
I also love this quote that she mentions in her post Flying the Coop:
"You practice an art to make your soul grow, not to make money or to become famous. And this would include singing in the shower or dancing to the radio or also drawing a caricature of your best friend, or whatever—all this makes your soul grow. And you meet a person who's done that, whether successfully or not, and you sense a larger soul." Vonnegut
It's been fascinating reading through her blog and seeing the person she's turned into.
[I could edit this for four or five more days, but I'm just going to post it.]
Oh, and, Linda, if you happen to run across this?
[Photo from the inside of the Moravian bakery in Old Salem, NC has nothing to do with the post.]