I’ve been thinking a lot about connections lately, or more specifically, connectedness. I’ve spent the better part of the last four years writing my new novel (with two others getting completed and released in that time). I like to write and see where the story takes me, thinking more about plot than themes. Once done, or nearly done, and looking back at it, I saw that it revolves around being connected.
On a family vacation last week I saw a beautiful old Farmall tractor, shown above. A tractor like this is featured in the new novel, Family Line. Connection. A photo was snapped with my phone and texted off to a friend who’d read the manuscript and understood without anything else being said, a smiley face sent back to me. Connection.
A few days later I was walking down the street in Seattle and there was a beautiful Japanese maple, its branches stretching out over the sidewalk. Yup. Another visual element from the new novel. Connection. Sure, you can find those trees about anywhere. There’s one between my home and the neighbors. But I’d spent the better part of that vacation going through the finished manuscript, working through notes from beta readers, and typesetting it, so the book was heavily on my mind even while on boat rides with my son.
Now, that’s one form of connection. A connection between me and my writing (and a good friend).
I wrote about a man disconnecting himself from the world, hiding away due to a secret. He chose to do this. How that all plays out, you’ll have to buy the book (then have that connection with me).
While on vacation, as well as back home, I see other examples of being disconnected. I don’t want to be the cranky old guy complaining about people on their cell phones, but it’s true. And now it isn’t even about making calls, but texting each other, not even hearing each other’s voice. Misspelled words and emoji trying to express thoughts, emotions, humor, anger. The art of conversation is dying, replaced with electronic signals, or when actually in person, just trying to get a word in rather than listening to what others are saying.
We’re all guilty of it.
With Facebook I watch the lives of so many friends go by and occasionally realize that I haven’t seen most of them in person in years, even ones living in the same metro area. I’m not advocated a burning of electronic communications, not by any means. But just actually using it to make a call sometimes. Instead of sending that heart emoji, dial the number and say I Love You or I miss you or let’s grab lunch and talk in person.
Read Family Line, available soon at Amazon.com and most other booksellers.