Dear Imaginary Friends,

I was thinking, this evening and as I drove home from work at the witching hour. I was thinking about human nature, loneliness, and the value of having community.

It was sparked by thinking about what I was going to write here. I have not been writing much at all. Ok, very very little and nothing publishable. Heck, I didn’t even art yesterday, and that’s twice this year I haven’t managed my daily artwork. I’ve been just a wee bit distracted. Yesterday, it was my son’s 16th birthday. We’d celebrated Monday, because work. However, he insisted on birthday cake on his birthday, and you know, some traditions are worth making happen. So we did. Anyway I’ve begun to feel a bit like a fraud, writing about writing, when I’m not writing.

However. Not only am I pretty sure you all understand Life Happens, and that I will eventually (hopefully!) begin to write again, I’m unwilling to give up my community and you’re part of that. Yes, you reading these words. Hi. I see you. In a manner of speaking, anyway. I know what they say about internet friends being illusory and all that. You feel real to me. Writing a blog post talking to people I know in some way makes me feel connected to a community, especially when the comments get going.

And as I was thinking about loneliness and how much I miss my husband and how much I’d miss you all if I gave up writing and pitched everything to just focus on the day job, I remembered something I haven’t thought about in years. I can’t remember which of his books it was, since I read all of them I could get my young hands on, but Thor Heyerdahl’s story of living on a South Sea island until loneliness drove them back to ‘civilization’ came to mind. As a kid, I did not get that. Frankly, being on adventures far from home, with no people around, sounded idyllic to me and I totally wanted to do that. I didn’t grasp that being alone is hard. Being isolated from in-person interactions is rough on the psyche. I get it, now. I’ve been isolated on purpose, and it wasn’t my purpose. Later I was isolated simply by virtue of bonds formed of my own free will and that through using the internet. Hard to hug someone’s neck and love on them when there’s half a globe between you. Humans don’t do well, isolated.

So I get it, now. Leaving paradise for the safety of modern medicine and the help that is people you know, that get you. Uprooting a life you worked hard to establish, for the comfort of closer contacts. I am going to be seeing my daughters this coming week. Had I not done this disruptive thing that has thrown my family into turmoil and my writing shoved onto the counter (back burner, heck, it’s way over there by the sink…) then I wouldn’t be in their lives even a little. I want them to be independent, and they are. But still, I’m here if they need me. But I’m also far enough away to work on being my own person again. Which is, let me tell you, a strange transition after being someone’s mom for twenty-odd years. More than half my life, my world has revolved around my children and I still have a couple of years of that left.

So. One of the things I’m working at? Is not the career. Whether that is writing or science. It’s community for me. Not someone’s mom, or someone’s wife, or this worker bee. It’s me, Cedar. All the things I am, and will be. Which has been a writer, and will be, because even in this time, story is tickling at the edges of my brain. So I can throw back my shoulders and say that even if I haven’t got writing news for you, I’ve got the stuff. It just may take a while. Also, why is all the rum gone?

Cheers! see you in the comment section!

40 comments

  1. I have been very po or and writing or blocking myself and especially poor and reading the blogs that I always counted on. So perhaps it is appropriate today is when I get back to reading again cedar. Yes even when I didn’t read this was part of my community. I think it was you have done on blogs for myself and especially Betsy in the comments and it is a good connection. I think you’ve been working on that question of ourselves amongst it as well. I know that in the house we have here and the people we help as they pass through community always seems to be element that comes forward. Anyway I’m meander and wonder thank you again for the reminder as I said once before you can even make watching growing grass interesting and this is much more important than that.

  2. I fully understand. The Project I spent two years getting up and running took all of my time and energy, so writing just didn’t happen. Starting to get back to that now, and prepping to retire from my day job. Writing will come back when you have the energy for it.

  3. I have a very good imagination, but it’s not good enough to have come up with you lot! I’m quite sure all of you really are out there, somewhere. And I shudder to think how empty my life would be without this community.

  4. When I was younger, I sometimes had fond thoughts of the Desert Fathers (and Mothers) of the early Church, heading out away from the cities and just being religious on their own in a cave. (OK, skip the whole “being attacked by demons” part, though.) There are days after work when I still wonder if there are any anchoress jobs available. 🙂 However, last year taught me that while I am an introvert, I’m not really cut-out to be a hermit. Seeing people, casual chats about the weather, or grumbling about the state of the dumpsters, grousing about the rock-hard peaches . . . Those are the foundations of trust and community. One of the hardest things last year at Day Job was not being able to socialize with coworkers, even just the casual chat at the microwave or coffee maker.

    As the Book of Genesis says apropos of a different context, “It is not good for Man to be alone.”

    1. I do think there’s a reason that when people did go seek out hermits, they found them more than passing strange.

      And even in context it’s pertinent. Man alone is an end. Man, in company of others, has a future.

      1. “Man alone is an end” It’s the end of “future” and the beginning of eternity.
        “Leaving paradise for the safety of modern medicine and the help that is people you know….” Been there, done that. Better to discover”who you are” before working on an illusion.
        I’m a hermit, intentionally community-less; don’t know anyone much like me. But I love y’all just the same! We share the same journey.

      2. A lot of hermits had pets. I like the guy who had cobras, he was cool.

        Also, of course, there’s nothing wrong with chatting with the Lord, especially since He’s always around.

    2. And Christ did not teach his followers to pray “MY father” and God Himself is two persons whose shared Love is so great as to be a person also.

      Yep.

  5. Internet friends are not illusory. We’re just far away. Easy to talk to, less easy to borrow a ladder from.

    Life interferes with writing. Even here in the Phantom Redoubt, Life(TM) manages to weasel it’s way in past the moat, the alligators, the automated defenses and the Wall of All Consuming Flame to get in my face with it’s nasty scratchy voice, demanding my precious time. Life is persistent, also persistently annoying. 😡

    Still, un-death is probably worse, so I too shall persist. ~:D

    Relax, try to kick back a bit when you’re not getting paid to work, and eventually the characters will be banging on your mental front door, screaming their story through the planks and begging you to write it down. Mine do, anyway. And they sulk if I yell at them and tell them to hurry up, so rushing is pointless.

  6. What’s the difference between someone who’s imaginary, and someone you can’t see, touch, or hear? (Sniffing and licking others is beastly behavior.)

    Ah, but you see our footprints on the shore, and Friday was a useful chap, once he was tracked down.

    In the meantime, we’re here, quietly watching you.
    But in a nice way.

    1. The cat has decided she’s a dog. At least that’s what I think, since she has started licking ankles as she walks by, and when picked up licks noses.

      Lurking on the internet leaves less traces. But then again, I have no need for a Friday, just friends.

      1. Sib and Sib-n-Law have a cat named Friday. She was the 13th animal to join the household (already present: 10 fish, one Guinea Pig, one tail with a cat attached [seriously. Freya was all tail, no cat.])

  7. Dear God in his heaven but does life demand its own way.
    There is no such thing as a life/work balance.
    Work doesn’t love you but your life and family can.
    The words will return when you (and they) are ready.
    Best wishes to you and yours.

  8. A writer writing about the difficulties in fitting writing into the niches and crannies of “real life.” Seems to me that this is writing about writing.

    Perhaps not as useful for the nuts and bolts as, say, “How to Search Pixabay for Cover Images” – but quite comforting for me who is trying to do the same. Even if you are my illusion.

  9. I’ve been pondering on my reasons for being a hermit. Besides being socially stiff as a board, verbose as a rock, cheerful as a wet blanket, and having few interests in common with anyone else, any other good excuses?

      1. Yup. Stuff. When I try to talk about the stuff that keeps me going, it’s usually either boring or intimidating. When it isn’t fatuous.

  10. I am not sure how well I would have made it through the covidiocy without my imaginary friends. Thank you for your posts.

  11. I know what they say about internet friends being illusory and all that.

    Uh…. :::rude response:::

    Since middle school, my internet “friends” have been better than my flesh-space ones.

    And I’m still in contact with several of them from when I first got to the internet, which can’t be said for any IRL “Friends.”

  12. I’ve been rereading Mrs. Sanderson’s books recently, so I do hope for more. But even if I do not get them, the ones she’s made thus far are a gift.

  13. I want to get a job as a Rich Idiot With No Day Job, as I was able to do very well during the whole Crow Flu thing. Sadly, since to get that kind of job would require me to retroactively replace my parents (or win the lottery, which I’m trying within reason), it’s time for me to find a job and make my way back out into the world again.

    Yay…fun. Not.

    1. It’s not fun. I got very lucky on this transition, but the one before it I tackled as a full-scale project complete with data collection and spreadsheets. That helped me take all the rejection less personal.

      1. It’s never fun. Especially in these days of data-driven algorithms that are probably tossing out my resume because despite my best efforts, I miss the Important Key Words they’re looking for.

        1. That’s what made this last transition almost painless – I had a headhunter come after me, just when I was contemplating the need to search. So I didn’t have to drag myself through the process. But she’d already talked to me and had a resume, so it was a win-win situation for both of us. It can happen.

          1. I’m working with a guy at the local employment group and he’s been finding things for me to apply for, and some suggestions on resume revisions, that kind of thing. Only one interview, but I’ve had a few others and one second interview. That’s been a while, so not optimistic there.

  14. I truly enjoy this internet community. I’ve seen you and Sarah on video and that’s it. But I would love to be able to see people in person. One thing I got from pandemic lockdown was that while I truly love my alone time and I’m perfectly happy to be reading the day away, that time is actually better and feels more like a gift when it’s surrounded by time with real, live, flesh and blood people. And whether that was colleagues and students, meeting friends for lunch, having people over, whatever. I need that to balance the alone time.

    1. If I ever win the lottery, I’m going to take the cash option (get the tax bite taken care of up front), and arrange for a Writers’ Weekend in Canadian, Texas or somewhere similar. I’ll cover lodging, snacks, and writing space, y’all bring yourselves and pay for meals. I know we’ll all get a lot of work done, and be very productive. Really.

  15. Community matters. I’m thrilled my local con is happening in person this year. I need to see my Internet Friends in person occasionally to convince the backbrain they are real. Plus all the other fun of cons.

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