Director, Author Services, LinDee Rochelle, November 17, 2010:
I stare out my window at the giant sycamore tree (that’s the only tree name that came instantly to mind other than pine) at another gorgeous San Diego day and contemplate the CD I opted to enjoy while writing. The inimitable Janis Joplin*.
I choose Janis’ “Greatest Hits” (1973) when feeling particularly defiant, bawdy, irreverent, vulnerable … singly, or all at once. Janis was all about people. “Piece of My Heart,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Get It While You Can” – she loved us, hated us and spoke for us. A voice silenced much too soon.
And yet … Janis was labeled a loner; a talented island in a sea of creative camaraderie. Something writers can definitely identify with. Are we too alone? If Janis had felt more connected to an intimate network of friends or family – if she’d had the Internet – would she have lived longer?
Cry, cry, baby … It’s been proven that from infancy, we need each other. We reach for the touch of skin on skin as we’re pulled from the womb. Even as we age, often pulling back from intimacies, we can’t help ourselves; before we know it we’ve formed new friendships, met the neighbors, joked with the neighborhood grocery store clerk, and become part of a community clique.
Most authors go through periods of self-imposed isolation, especially when we’re writing. But is it healthy and truly conducive to your best creativity? Tell me, in order to write, do you avoid your neighbors, shun your family, or regularly kick the dog? Then find you still can’t write a cohesive sentence? Writer’s block is no joke, but may not be internal. Take yourself outside … that doesn’t always mean “out.”
Are you registered on Facebook? How about MySpace? Do you boogie with your old chums on Classmates? Maybe you prefer a more creative community like AuthorNation, or GarageBand for recreation? Do you dabble in a heartfelt hobby with other like minds? Quick breaks in fun forums can refresh the mind and juice up your creative inspirations.
Even “way back” in 1997 Businessweek (05/05/97) magazine saw the neighborhood graffiti hit the Internet wall, “Instead of flitting from site to site dabbling in the gobs of information and latest news flashes, this new class of Netizen is settling in, staying put, making a home away from home.”
We thought at first that the computer and Internet cocoon would isolate us and swallow us up, with no contact to the “outside world.” The more it has grown and matured, however, we’ve learned the Internet is about as “outside” as you can get! Your vast new cyber communities (CC) are nothing more than virtual neighborhoods.
“Block parties” occur every time you enter a forum. You talk about the kids, a misunderstanding with your mate, or an upcoming dreaded birthday. You’re offered “food for thought” from your neighborhood chums, and may adventurously dive into a new community pool (forum) – oh, and don’t forget to abide by the community CC&Rs! Break ‘em and you’re evicted!
A balance is imperative, though; CCs can isolate you from your real world family and friends. While you may have found a boatload of new, exciting cyberbuddies on the ‘Net, don’t forget to venture out into the “real” sunshine! Share your Internet escapades holding hands with someone special, while enjoying a leg-stretching walk, or spectacular sunset.
Thanksgiving is nearly upon us. This is a great time to give thanks for what you have, including of course, your passion, potential, and positive genius for writing. And minimize the importance of all else.
Then while family and friends are neighboring with their cyber buddies or greeting the dawn for the sales on Black Friday, make the most of your creative solitude with a refreshed and rejuvenated mind, to write. And with Janis,
One of these mornings
You're gonna rise, rise up singing,
You're gonna spread your wings, child,
And take, take to the sky*
Peace & Love … LinDee
P.S.: That said, when you feel the need for neighbors and have not yet found your niche on the ‘Net, below are a few intimate communities where you might fit right in ... join cyberhands with folks in your city, state, or on the other side of the world … and while you’re chatting, don’t forget to mention your book.
http://forums.womansday.com/ for women by Woman’s Day Magazine
www.hipforums.com/newforums/forumdisplay.php?f=5 Hip Arts & Culture
http://thepetsforums.com/forums/index.php pontificate on all pet issues (and equine, etc.)
www.small-business-forum.com/ mix it up, business-style
www.AuthorNation.com intellectual home for Authors AND Readers
* Janis image on KHJ-Los Angeles radio station music survey, 02/17/1971, Blast from Your Past collectibles. Lyrics from “Summertime”; you haven’t heard this iconic George & Ira Gershwin (with DuBose Heyward) tune ‘til you’ve experienced it with Janis on her album with Big Brother and the Holding Co., “Live at Winterland ’68” (recorded April 12-13, 1968).