Recently, I have had many friends take a leave of absence from our normal communication routines. Whether it is travel, school, work, or something else, it is nice to be able to stay in touch. While I have Skype for some, twitter, facebook, Google Plus, or IM for others, nothing beats a good old fashioned snail-mail letter. I know, I know, low tech, but before you shun me, let me make my point.
When I wrote out my first draft correspondence, it was awkward and messy. I had to think harder, to write too much and then edit it down to fit in an envelope. I had to better word my feelings than ‘lol’ or ‘smh’. And much like sealing a manuscript into a manilla envelope and wishing for the best, writing that address on the outside of the envelope and attaching a stamp became an unexpected emotional ordeal. This was a piece of my heart I was sending on it’s merry way, each word carefully thought out. How would the other person receive it?Just like signing my name and sealing the envelope on my words gave me a sense of trepidation, and simultaneously relief and exultation, so does finishing and submitting a story on here. Once I publish it, it is out there. Once I mail it, the letter is out of my hands.
I was surprised at the intimacy I felt in penning my letter, more than a chat window, much like a phone call. This is what makes ficly tick, the family atmosphere, the intimacy gained when we put our hearts and brain children out there for display, for discern and what makes us fall in love with the site.
But how many of you have penned a ficly before you typed it? There is a distance sometimes between our keyboard and our heart. Something in the processing of the letters into dark bytes of information that appear on the screen which are so easily backspaced into oblivion keeps our hearts guarded from the raw emotions underneath. I don’t know why it works, but using the fine motor movements to twirl ink onto paper does something for our brains. Sure, it works sometimes, our hearts flow into our typed words with reckless abandon, but too often we become someone else when we type.
My challenge to you this week is to put pen or pencil to paper before you open your browser tab or window and put fingertips to keys. Try some journaling, brainstorming, poetry, or flash fiction in a good old-fashioned spiral bound or composition notebook. Smell the pages, feel the ink, make the words flow and maybe the tears run. See what comes out. Perhaps it will be the best ficly you will never, i mean ever share.