Saturday, October 2, 2010

To Be Understood

My brain is finally waking up.  My coffee and an hour of Internet surfing are kicking the neurons into activity.

Simon C. Larter (whom I love to tease) posted the following on Facebook:

I will consider it an honor if someday the words I write make someone feel less alone in the world. Everyone should have the chance to feel understood.  

Which made me think for a minute.  And my thought was that, honestly, I don't write to make other people feel less alone.  I write to make myself feel less alone. Telling you guys that my dogs woke me up at 5 a.m. as I sit in this dark and silent house makes me feel less alone.  Taking the crucial moment in my protagonists' relationship and posting it on the Internet and reading "Oh, how sweet. I loved it!" makes me feel less alone.

I write so I can be understood.  I want my readers to understand all those things that burn inside of me, which can only be explained through story because no one would ever actually sit down and listen to me explain them over coffee.  Heck, I wouldn't even listen to them over coffee because without story, they're boring!  Meaning themes and such. Who likes discussing themes?  Yuck. But when the hero's world is falling apart and he has to choose between what he wants to do and what he is supposed to do, suddenly theme is fascinating.

Perhaps I'm selfish.  I want to be understood.

And let's face facts: Nobody understands writers.  Except other writers.  Which is why we are all here on the Internet, pouring our hearts out and complaining about dogs and writer's block and such.

Simon, I admire your generosity of spirit and believe you will succeed.  How about a group hug?

Nah. Pass the vodka.


  1. Connecting with others is what I believe to be the fundamental basis for communication. No matter the form of media, the point of it all is to make that connection with another person so as, like you said, to eliminate that loneliness. Even in advertising the need for connecting with the consumer is there.

    Well said, or should I say well written.

  2. maybe i'm weird, but *i'd* listen to you explain yourself over coffee. and it's not weird to want to be understood. i think most people do, we just don't admit it. i'm glad you and i are part of the same writing community. you make my life richer for being part of it.

  3. I'll take the vodka, thanks. ;)

    You're absolutely right, of course: there's something in every writer that begs to be understood, to be known. But that speaks to our motivations as writers. Readers' experiences are very different from our intentions sometimes, no?

    I think of a particular passage in Hemingway that, at one time, broke me out of a three-week funk, because what he said spoke precisely to my situation. He didn't intend it that way, but that's how I read it. And if my stories can do that for even one other person, I'll be a happy man.

    And now for the vodka. :)

  4. Deep thoughts for a Saturday...but all so true. We write to express what lives inside, but would it mean as much no one read what we wrote? We do write for ourselves, but part of the reward is when someone benefits/enjoys/appreciates that which we pull from our soul.

  5. I'd be happy with the middle ground. In my deafness, I thrive on others stories - different worlds in a hearing environment. At the same time, I love drawing people into my world and letting them see things through my eyes. (Hugs)Indigo

  6. Truly what social networking is all about.

    Understanding and being understood.

    Thanks for sharing both Simon's profound post and your response.



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