Weird, Creepy, Socially Inept...Writers and Others

I guess I just don't understand the creepy weirdness of some people.  Some creepy weirdness, I get.  I am, after all, an artist.

I tell myself that perhaps a few generations ago, it might have been the "in" thing to be a complete social recluse of a writer.  It made the authors mysterious, and by extension, some kind of cool.  I suppose.

In the days of writers and artists like Poe, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Harper Lee, as well as others, composers, painters, musicians, etc., who were so hard to get to, but so easy to "get," I guess people probably expected it.  Maybe it even added some validation to their talent.  I guess.

But now, we are in the age where being socially inept is not a good look, for people in general, but especially for those who have to rely on themselves to publicize, promote and market their own work. 

Setting aside my own loathing of texting, et. al (electronic/non-human exchanges as preferred mediums of communication), I still feel confused, even grieved a bit for the seemingly dying art of communication.  There is something fundamentally sound in developing social skills that require actual talking, listening, and face-to-face human engagement. Social networking was introduced to enhance and complement effective communication, not to replace it.

The speed and the convenience are one thing, but if you can only comfortably interact with other people in text messages, emails, or instant messages, then you're socially impotent.  Your so-called comfort zone is threatening to strangle the life out of your relationships.  Of course, there's nothing wrong with being adept at the latest modern technology, but there's something missing if you prefer all of that over personal contact.  Least of all, your communication skills are lacking.  Not enough attention as a child, maybe.  Too much attention as a child, maybe.  Who knows?  But something is missing. 

That especially goes for the obsessive video gamer types.  In fact, they kind of creep me out.  When video gaming crosses the line from casual recreation to necessary activity, it's obsessive.  And creepy.  Here is where all the addicts would say, "I can stop anytime I want," feel insulted, and proceed to hurl insults in the comments section.  I digress.

But as I think about it, people probably thought that some of those writers and artists above were a bit creepy, too. You know, the socially awkward, nerdy types.  And I suppose that was okay with everyone back then, since those folks had a lot of good writing, composing, music and artistry to do their socializing for them. 

I suppose if one is a writer who creates and delivers on that level, then reclusive, socially awkward behavior is acceptable.  But self-flattery aside, what of those of us who are not on that level?  What if you're not even a writer or artist, but just someone who's weird for no reason?

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Tags: Communication, Creepy, Networking, People, Social, Weird, Writing

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Comment by Regina Y. Swint on February 23, 2012 at 9:48pm

Hi, Mary-Elizabeth!

Girl, I think you and I are kindred spirits.  I'm sure you've got it right when you say that we are slipping/have slipped into society of narcissism and mediocrity.  Heaven help us!

Now, I have to admit that while I'm no great fan of technology (because I'm very old-fashioned and slow to grasp the "ease" of it), I most certainly do appreciate it, and I recognize its value to me as a writer, publisher, and person living in the 21st Century.  But my goodness, do I miss the days when more people actually cared to hold a conversation face-to-face, or at least voice-to-voice.  If there's one thing people are learning about me very quickly, it's that I loathe texting, mostly because of all of this seemingly acceptable short-cut chat.  I absolutely REFUSE to text to someone in text shorthand, or whatever it's called. Another reason it takes me all day to text a message or a reply.  Thank goodness, there's no longer a character limit.  :)

And I don't give passes to grown folks who do that "How R U" type of stuff outside of a text message.  I barely can tolerate it there.  Lord knows, I cringe at seeing it in someone's so-called professional communication.  Yes, I'm all for expediency and whatnot, but please, take the time to present yourself like you know what you're doing and saying.  As writers, we are the role models for the language.  I know it takes a little more time to type out a word or sentence thoughtfully, but it's necessary, if we are to make a mark and be taken seriously as writers.

I don't take myself too seriously, because I know I'm a big ball of goof, and a mess waiting to be made on most days, but I do take my writing seriously.  I'd like to think of it as a gift, and I don't want to squander it away.

As for the real-word zombies, selectively chatty ones and the like, they can take a walk right on past me and my social networking venues.  I'm learning more and more not to spend my energy on negative folks, selfish (or self-centered, self-important) folks, or folks who are all talk and no movement.  And that includes all of that foolish, time-sucking rhetoric that serves no purpose...not even a laugh or a meaningful discussion.  Shucks.  It might not be a bad idea for those who aren't into self-improvement or self-actualization to actually go hide somewhere until they get a clue.

At this point and place in my life,  I'm all about putting my money where my mouth is, literally and figuratively, and as one friend recently shared with me...there is no more f*ck around time.  Folks need to see and know that I mean business.

Thanks for reading and commenting.  I'm glad I could offer something thought-provoking.  :)

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