Pulling the Plug
Here’s where I confess: I used to swear that I’d write everything long-hand. It made storytelling more visceral, my style and voice more tangible. If any concessions were to be made, they would involve–reluctantly, belligerently–an old Underwood typewriter and a bottle of white-out.
Ah, but “when I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man I did away with childish things.”
I decided one day to join the modern world. I plugged in. I entered the cyber-jungle, wary, but pumped full of excitement. After a few short forays, I gave over completely. The stories were still there, despite the “plugged-in” apparatus. Creativity was unleashed. I not only increased my daily word counts, I became a lurker, an online sniper. I showed up on blogs, forums, and e-chats, firing off a few shots before melting back into the cyber foliage. Gotta keep ‘em guessing, right?
Now, as part of this group (thanks to the gracious invitation of Mr. Nassise), I have another literary landscape to explore. Already, I’ve bellied my way beneath some thick diatribes, splashed through invigorating streams of thought, and found myself challenged by the fellow keyboard warriors on this blog. Each of us is aware, maybe painfully so, of the solitude of writing. Yet we’re never alone. We have others nearby, keeping an eye on the terrain, signaling encouragement, imagining new methods for foraging through the cultural underbrush.
Am I romanticizing the experience? I hope not.
When I agreed to be a part of Storytellers Unplugged, I found myself contemplating our name. “Unplugged” has obvious meaning in the musical realm, but is it an accurate description for fiction writers? Or merely a “sexy” one, as they like to say nowadays? Our collective online activity implies an acceptance of technology, as it pertains to our craft. Does this mean art has been compromised?
For the last month, I’ve stretched out with my ear to the ground and listened. I’ve picked up tremors of new things on the way. Through these blogs, I’ve heard ideas creeping closer. I detect creatures afoot, heroes on the rise.
We may be computer junkies and e-mail addicts, but we are–in all the right ways–unplugged. We are storytellers. And I’m honored to be a part.