Monday, January 9, 2012

Solitary vs Interconnected

Wow, that last post really seemed to have touched a nerve - my own included. 

Why are relationships so hard to make work?  Just look at the comments section in that last post and you will see why.  So many varied reasons, so many individual stories of heartache and blew my mind.

Of course, how can that question not touch a raw nerve?  Relationships are what define us. Without the input of other people we have very little framework outside of ourselves to figure out who we are.  For example, I spend a lot of time creating things, but without other people to read and see what I make, the effort of creating falls a little flat. 

Yes, even if I lived in a vacuum, I would still be moved to write and make stuff, but the thrill of having someone else experience my creation is like nothing else out there...okay, it's probably on par with falling in love, but that happens so, so, so infrequently (like once every trillion years) that I gotta rely on creating stuff to get my jollies off.

But whether it's being creative or falling in love, the common denominator is 'being experienced'.  When someone experiences us through our work or through falling in love with us, it's like we become immortal for that moment.  We don't just exist in our own heads, we exist in the minds of the people we have touched. 

It's like being on your computer vs. being on your computer that's connected to the Internet.

I like the idea of being connected, of knowing that as I write this, there will be people out there who will read my words and be affected by them.   Negatively or positively, I can't control...just that the act of 'being experienced' is enough.


  1. I totally agree. It is like making dinner, alone I eat cereal. For my husband I make fancy dinner. I think it tastes better when there is someone else to enjoy it.

  2. Writers write to be read. Actors act to be seen. Singers sing to be heard. We all speak so that someone will listen. It's the most basic need. Those of us with a creative drive would still do it, but we still do it for a reason and it's that human connection.

    As a writer, the true magic happens in that moment when the letters on a page, combined into words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters suddenly create a images and voices inside the mind of our audience. As a roleplaying game designer, it's the experience of play that makes a game good rather than simply a nice-looking book and some dice.

    And yep, even when I write stuff to appear on Facebook and Twitter it is in anticipation of the reaction I will see on the other end of it. Good to know that I'm not the only one!

  3. I absolutely agree. I've been following on Twitter for a while, but I'm so glad I've now found your blog as well. You're so inspiring.

  4. Thats funny, I am currently doing that very thing, my hubby is away with work, so instead of making a nice dinner as usual I am eating pot noodles :)

  5. and part of the joy is that you don't know what will lead where! I really love when something I write gets someone else to write as well...

  6. I find that my best work is often a product of loneliness. Maybe that need for connection is what keeps us creating and is especially profound when we long for closeness. The greater the desperation (for me) the more intense and meaningful my writing is. But I know that other people write or create better when they ARE actually more connected. Either way, I feel like the desire to be experienced is kind of a lonely longing, but in a good way.

  7. I've been an artist through the evolution of the internet and I'd be lost without it today. The instant feedback and discovery of like minded people across the world that you would never cross paths with otherwise, is the greatest connection a creative person can get apart from meeting face to face of course :D

  8. I've had to write for myself, write for my sanity, and if someone else reads it well then that's okay too, but I secretly do love it when someone is actually affect by something I have written even if it's just a dribble of fanfiction. Knowing that I moved someone to feel the emotion I was trying to convey is amazing.

    Even if I at times fight the idea of needing to be recognized, or even needing to be around people, everyone wants that affirmation that "Hey I see you, I see the work that you are doing, good job," from an outside source.

    People, can't live with them, can't live without them.

  9. That's why I write. I've been writing since I could hold a pencil. My writing has developed through the years (obviously...or, well, I hope I don't still sound like my 4-year-old self lol) yet the act of writing and having others's one of the greatest feelings in the world.

    I remember about 6-7 years ago I posted my poetry on a poetry site that I had come across. The people that commented... I would cry at some of the things they would say. They would tell me that they could feel my pain or that arc of journey I would be on would affect them. It meant so much to me. Then, about 2 months ago, I got a comment on one of my blogs. There is a girl who stumbled upon my blog by accident, but it affected her. Those experiences created a feeling like nothing else I've ever felt...because in my writing, I'm raw. It's just me. No sugar coat, no appeasing, nothing. I'm stripped.

    We all want people to see us for who we are. I think sometimes it gives us validation. So many times we as four dimensional human beings look for validation in others because we cannot always validate ourselves. I am not sure if this is something embedded into our emotional selves or if it is a learned behavior from watching others around us. I think this generation of adolescence has one of the worst "nurture" environments because there are so many books, movies, television shows where people are inter-dependent upon one another. I mean, for instance, The Twlight Series(I am not taking a stab on the book, I'm just merely relaying an observation) shows a woman who is so dependent upon this man. It seems like she can't make a decision of her own. She's so...well the only word I can use to describe her is "putty". She has no real back-bone. This is what the teenagers have for role models. Edward over-validated Bella and because of that, Bella was then incapable of having her own identity. I believe that we all need to have some sort of validation or to (as you have put it - be experienced) by others. We all need other people to interact with - even if we believe we don't.

    Like you - I get fulfilled that knowing my words, my thoughts, my rants, and my rambles will affect people - negatively or positively. My words allow people to be connected to a part of my soul. It's surreal.

    ok...anyways, I'll stop babbling now... It's like no matter how many times I say "gunna keep it short and sweet", it never happens. Words just flow out of my core and through my

  10. I love that concept of "being experienced" as a core human need. I think it also explains that phenomenon that happens when we are around babies or animals or celebrities. These are entities that we are immediately aware of, but are utterly unaware of us. It feels unbalanced, so we long for some reciprocal glance or nod to acknowledge and validate our existence. We need them to "experience" us, as you put it. It's not quite the same as being experienced through art or a relationship, but I think the difference is only a matter of degree.

    Puts Jimi's question "Are you experienced?" into a whole new light!

  11. "It's like being on your computer vs. being on your computer that's connected to the Internet." That's what I loved about finding email and newsgroups way back in '88! And all the new things since then.

    My GF paints as a hobby, but has decided to start showing her stuff, because otherwise she doesn't see the point. And I really have to get that band together!

  12. Writing, whether it's a book, song, or meant for TV, can also provide for a great escape. Often times I find myself becoming so immersed in a story that I don't want to leave. I can feel what's going on with the characters, setting, and atmosphere and want to become them. Or, if not become them, I often find a way to become a stronger individual by seeing my world through a different light. But, again, it's meaning through another person. To build a connection and, in a sense, to affect another individual.

  13. Among the jollies..

    Being connected to diverse experiences can provide valuable insight into what works, what doesn’t quite hit the mark and ways to improve. Sharing our thoughts often inspires new creative endeavors which could be a continuation of previous types of work, or lead to something else entirely.

    I’ve long admired the fact that you are confident in yourself and the things you create. If every single response isn’t 110 % positive you aren’t inclined to sprint to the nearest bed and hide or.. in this wonderful age of technology.. disconnect. At least, that’s the way I see it after over a decade following your career.

    Anyhoo.. you are encouraged to exist in my brain more often. Wackiness (and occasional seriousness) ensues and I LOVE and appreciate every minute of it! OMG.. I just got an idea… gotta go.. Thanks :)

  14. After I read this I was like...whoa. This is the best-written thing I've ever read. You're the best, Amber!

  15. Joe aka AmberAddictJanuary 9, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    I like being interconnected I find traveling is difficult these days. The internt has proved to be a really useful window on world. I can stay in touch with family friends here not only that I've met some fantastic people I wouldn't have known otherwise. As for being creative I wake up most mornings thinking I'm going to start a blog then I realise what I have to say won't interest anyone. :o( I may not be creative but at least I can admire the work of others like yourself! :o)

    PS sorry if I touched a nerve!

  16. Of course you're right. I'm always telling people to just leave me alone, that I want to be alone, but I can't be alone for too long. I'd just go crazy being completely cut off from the world. It is kinda nice to know that someone cares about you. And that someone is reading this comment right now. Kinda great.

  17. Very interesting points - with the solitary/connected thing - I most definitely think as a musician/producer I need both, I need the solitary bit to give my ideas space to develop, but I need to be connected to others as well to give those ideas context. But it is important for me to avoid sharing my ideas before they are too well developed, or at least to avoid the NEED to share the ideas/music before they are too developed.

  18. True, that feeling of 'connected-ness'(not a word, I know) is wonderful. Knowing others will read what I've written is just ... yeah, great. :)

    Inspiring post Amber :)

  19. Amber,

    Your question about the difficulty of relationships is a good one, but I'm afraid I can't provide much of an answer.

    As a 58-year-old, never married bachelor, I'm probably not the person to even listen to; all I know is that affairs of the heart are an eternal mystery.

    Why people are attracted to each other, why they stay together (or don't), why they hurt each other the way they sometimes do and why they can be so damn decent at other times is a question that I've come to realize is just above my pay grade.

    Sometimes I think that the world is just a more complicated place than the one I grew up, making it harder for people to organize their lives together. But my parents were both married three times, and several of my friend's parents had rocky marriages ending in divorce, so the problem is obviously not new.

    As for your ability to create in a vacuum, I admire you for the ability. I need to know that someone is reading what I write.

    As a general assignment/city hall reporter for a small-city newspaper, most of what I write is fairly routine. But it's work worth doing, and I have little trouble with motivation.

    But the writing I want to do--political commentary and short fiction--hasn't found a home yet, and I find it difficult to get excited about creating something no one will read. I guess I just need to know there is a reader out there (or a deadline). I'm just not the solitary, journaling type.

    I hope you keep up with this blog; you might have missed your calling as an essayist.

  20. absolutely Amber. peeps need to be heard, to interact in some way, hopefully positive. I enjoy being on my own, in my own space, but a bit of interaction every now and again is so good.
    I have a blog, and I'm sure no-one reads it, which is why it gets updated so infrequently!

  21. The human need for affirmation is innate. we create to be affirmed, whether it is for our art, our work or our love we create or give it all in the need to be affirmed.

  22. When I comment and someone I don't know takes the time to read and respond one way or another makes me feel worthwhile. I feel connected while sitting home alone with my dog. Iam pretty much a loner by choice. But I still want some kind of contact. I have had my heart broken YEARS ago and I still haven't recovered from that, which is why I have lived alone for years. Your article made me feel good after reading it Amber...thanks :-)

  23. "It's like being on your computer vs. being on your computer that's connected to the Internet."

    I think it's even more than that. A computer without a connection to the Internet is still a computer. A human without any contact to other humans can't evolve his consciousness. He would live like other animals, just pleasing his needs. I think it is the contact to other people what lets us think about our life, relationships and so on.

    I really like the way you write and I'm so sorry for my English - it's not my native language but I hope you understand it. I want to read some of your novels in the future, so I hope my English becomes better ;).

    Greetings from Germany!

  24. Nice to "see" you online again. :)

  25. Hello dear Amber, and happy belated birthday! You get to share your special day with cool people like Elvis, illustrator Boris Vallejo and Stephen Hawking. Me? Richard Nixon. Ouch! And also Crystal Gayle and former Green Bay Packers quarterback Bart Starr. That's better. But I digress...

    There is a need in all humans to feel like they "belong," that someone out there notices them. Remember when you were a child and doing something you felt was daring or impressive? "Look at me! Look at me!" Remember how it felt when no one looked? We never outgrow that need to be noticed.

    Some nourish that need and go on to become great people - missionaries, humanitarians, doctors, firefighters. Some turn that need into a higher profile career - actors, writers, musicians. And then there are those who gain attention not through acts of kindness or creativity, but destruction. Let's not talk about them.

    I write (mostly fan fiction, but also fantasy), I make Native American-influenced crafts like dreamcatchers, feather dance fans and medicine shields. I paint Breyer model horses. Very few people have read anything I've written; family and my handful of friends. I don't sell my crafts. The only time my models are seen is when I go to shows. I always say "I create for me," that I write or paint or whatever because I want that outlet. But deep down inside I want to be noticed, to be "discovered."

    I always wanted to be an actor (actress), ever since I was old enough to know what it meant. I was in Drama for four years in high school. But out of high school that dream petered out - Wisconsin's not exactly a mecca for actors. I let that dream die because I had convinced myself I wasn't "good enough."

    I turned 37 yesterday, and my only relationship has been with the stray cat I rescued just before New Year's. I'm the most important person in Arwen's life - she doesn't have to sleep outside in 14 degree weather, she has toys and food, and a forever loving home. But I can't share with her - she'd want to eat the feathers or chew on the paintbrush, and I can't read to her. (Well, I could, but she'd probably get bored.)

    Sorry for being so verbose. The short version is we all, as Jefferson Airplane said, "want somebody to love...need somebody to love." Some of us are fortunate to find that somebody. The rest of us...spend our lives looking.

    This comment will probably go unnoticed, but I just wanted to say you're not alone.

    Becky Murphy
    (Hope it's all right to include my email)

  26. ShQ: It's not unnoticed D'C'A'

  27. Hello Amber you seem to be a very down to earth person,i loved you on Buffy but not only. There is a Btvs convention on november 2012 in Paris (the most romantic city in the world) and I would love you to come,so if they(=spotlight envents) join you please say yes please please please I so want to meet you. I will pray god for that :)

  28. Sharing ones creations is key, in whatever field one works in. These creations maybe feelings, ideas or physical artefacts. It is through the feedback the sharing process generates, that refinement, development, evolution are stimulated.

  29. Even surrounded by tens of thousands of people all connected via the web, I usually end up feeling completely and utterly alone. Once in a while.. I do exist. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll do just that.

  30. I also like the idea of being connected. It's just illusory though... We are always by ourselves. Sad; and by ourselves...

  31. As a writer, the real miracle happen at that moment when letter combinations to a page, words, sentences, paragraphs, sections suddenly create an image and sound of the inner world of our audience. As a role-playing game designers, this is the game experience, make a good game rather than simply a good book and some dice.
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  32. I create.

    And when I get told how great or funny or bad something is, that thrill most all creators get eludes me. That feeling I'm suppose to have is never there and quite frankly I don't care for people's opinions. Good or bad.

    All I feel is awkward. I nod, I say thanks like I mean it and I hate the feeling I get when I fake a smile. I really don't like the attention.

    So I no longer show my work with my name on it, I create and I know now that the feeling you get when you're 'experienced' I get /while/ I'm creating.

    And that's more than enough for me.

    My vote goes for Solitary.