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The power of connection

07 Jul

Even writing can't compete with this little wonder.

Yesterday several people read this fledgling blog and shared my “Indie publishing: perspectives on abundance” post with others. I was thrilled, and it got me thinking about the power of words and how we use them to connect both thoughts and relationships.

Words have so many purposes, but, for me, the real reason for writing, and the true power of words, comes in connection. If I can make a reader relate to my words and connect with them, to the extent that they feel something, be it joy, wonder, nostalgia, humour, surprise or fright, then I am satisfied. Generally speaking, I’d prefer my readers felt, joy, wonder or humour than anger, disgust or disdain, but when writing fiction I know it is my job to make them experience the gamut of emotions so they can live vicariously through my characters and empathize with them. It is harder, in my experience, to coax a tear than it is to conjure up a smile, so making a reader connect enough that they will cry for a character, or for a concept, is a talent indeed.

Yesterday I read a post by Cheryl Shireman that made me weep. It untapped a well of emotion in me partly because of its subject matter, and partly because it was so beautifully, honestly written. It made me stop and think about my life and how my desire to fit so much into every day, and to connect with others through my writing and through social networking, may have been compromising the one connection I hold most dear: my relationship with my baby daughter.

Sure, I do most of my work when she is sweetly sleeping, her little lips drawn up into a slightly parted cupid’s bow, tiny eyelashes shadowing a flushed cheek, and dainty little baby snores floating up from her port-a-cot at my feet, but at other times, times when I’m balancing her on my shoulder while I blog, or jiggling her bouncer with one foot while I edit, I feel guilty about multitasking. I feel guilty for being out there in the world (however virtually) when in truth my world is right here gazing adoringly at me. Right now.

Sometimes, even if I need just two minutes to finish an email, I force myself to stop. I step away from the laptop, and I devote my attention to a little heart that needs a hug.  My writing will always be there, but she will not always be this tiny, this vulnerable or this much “mine.” The world, with it’s many connections, will one day take her away from me. Perhaps not far—maybe just to playgroup, to school, to ballet, to pajama parties, to university, to a nearby suburb, to another city … but maybe to Europe, to Africa, or to America. God forbid circumstances ever lead her to places where I cannot follow. Who knows where her connections will one day take her, but for now her major point of connection is me.

I know my success as an author, as an editor, even as a friend, comes through making those external connections, but my success as a mother comes from putting this, dearest of all connections, above all others. So while I’m thankful that the internet allows me an untold number of ways to connect with others worldwide, I also know that each thread can unravel to another, and then another, until it seems almost impossible to escape the labyrinthine web even when there are other things to do or the one hour I’ve allotted for networking has slipped away.

Online connections are all well and good, but to maintain a real connection with his or her audience, a writer needs to spend time in the real world. Time sipping coffee. Time chatting with friends. Time helping an old man at the post office struggle with a large box, and time wondering what it holds. Time sleeping. Time reading. Time cuddling babies. Time making babies. And, most importantly, time writing. How else can a writer really connect with the minds of his or her readers?

For that reason, for the next week I’m checking my facebook, twitter and forums for strictly half an hour each morning so I can concentrate on two of my most important connections: my family, and my writing.

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6 responses to “The power of connection

  1. Mark Williams International

    July 8, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Karin, if Cheryl’s latest post brought on the tears be sure to have a an extra large box of tissues before checking out this wonderful piece Cheryl did for me over at MWi –

    http://markwilliamsinternational.com/2011/06/12/the-power-of-love-cheryl-scarlett-shireman-on-the-prairie/

     
  2. karincox

    July 8, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Thanks Mark. I did check it out—lovely, as ever. Now I’m off to buy Cheryl’s book!

     
  3. Jean Ward

    July 9, 2011 at 4:47 am

    You have discovered the secret behind being a great writer. It has to start with a discovery of the story, the spark of what you need to tell.

    Good job

     
    • karincox

      July 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks for your kind words, Jean. I am glad you enjoyed it.

      Cheers
      Karin

       
  4. charlie nitric

    July 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Hey Karin –

    Your story above is fabulously written and magnificently expressed. I’m a new fan of Karin Cox; author, editor, and mommy. Your princess is beautiful as is your story. Social media has its perks, no doubt about that. There is also are negatives that come in to play where social media is concerned. We spend more time than necessary on sites like Twitter and FaceBook when there are real persons in our lives whom need our hugs. Good job momma for identifying that and your daughter is a lucky little lady to have you.

    I don’t usually do this but I sense that my story is one you need to read Karin. My story is called, “A Mother Whispers Goodnight”. Here is the link: http://charlienitric.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/a-mother-whispers-goodnight/ . This story should be published as I believe every mother on Earth should read my story. Happy Wednesday to you. 🙂

     
    • karincox

      July 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment, Charlie.

      I popped over to your link and read your story, a fascinating blend of fiction with a real, emotional core. Well done. Glad to have you aboard.

       

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