It’s really easy to get discouraged with humans. Whether you’ve recently been more disenchanted by Miley Cyrus, Syria or the baffling balance of press coverage the two stories received, I think we all can agree that it’s been a rough week for humanity.
What makes it worse, I believe, is that we encounter so many of these stories – and then communicate with each other about them – from behind our computer screens. Alone. And it makes us feel worse. Humans, like our wiser companions (dogs), are pack animals. We like to commune, and especially when we feel drug down or disappointed, we need to.
As as extroverted writer, I feel especially susceptible to this need. Though I spend most of my days in constant communication with sources, editors and others via phone, email and social media, I am essentially alone most of the time. It’s not that I couldn’t arrange more in-person interviews or sit-down meetings, I just tell myself I don’t have the time. And when bad things or annoying things happen in the world, they seem amplified by the isolation. It’s a bummer.
This week, two of my major gigs are on hiatus for the holiday. I had a number of things to do today, some of which I could have done by phone or email, but I just showed up places instead. I talked to humans. We shared stories and shook hands. And it was wonderful. I walked away from today with a bookstore interested in carrying my book, a delightful local Michigan-themed gift shop called The Eyrie who took a handful to carry immediately, a reading event scheduled, and even had a surprise visit with my husband at a coffeeshop. It was a great day.
With none of these people did I discuss serious issues or have any overly dramatic encounters. But when negative things are going on in the background, it’s important to remember that though the world will always be full of complicated matters that expose humanity’s dark side, it’s the small, human interactions that make them easier to bear. If we take the time to get out of the house and have them.