I’ve often noticed that I can write about some things much more easily than I can talk about them. This has always struck me as a bit unusual, a bit of a character flaw. Most people seem to want to talk things out. Just say it. Get it out there. Resolve it. Say what you mean and mean what you say. For me, though, talking face to face, making eye contact, communicating in person, this can be difficult sometimes. Expressing feelings. Emotion. Maybe that’s what it’s all about with me. You’d think at age fifty-one I might have figured it out by now. Maybe I have some kind of low grade autism or something. I suppose that in my analysis I should take into account the many people throughout my life who have likened me to a robot or a Vulcan. Ya think that might be a clue? I laugh at myself as I notice my use of the word analysis above and its context. At least I can laugh at myself.
But can I really say the writing is easier? Writing, and particularly writing well, is not all that easy. When speaking in person, besides using the words themselves, one has the ability to communicate meaning through voice inflection and body language. Not so with writing. I know, I know, in our modern tech age we have come up with poor substitutes to try to help communicate meaning in a sort of quick and easy way using written characters, like emoticons to take the place of facial expressions and acronyms like LOL to signify laughter. But I tend not to use these shortcuts most of the time. To me it’s a little like cheating. I’d rather use well-known and long-accepted techniques to communicate using the written word. Otherwise, how else can I call myself a writer? Now, granted, I’m no English major, and people a lot smarter than me could probably point out a number of mistakes I’ve made in this piece alone, matters of sentence structure and grammar that I’ve bungled. But I try to do my best. I’ve even cheated here a little, some might argue, in my use of italics to signify emphasis on certain words. I’d respond by pointing out that italics are in common use in professional print media such as magazines and books. So far, thank goodness, I have not seen a lot of smiley faces in these places.
Now, if speaking in person offers the benefits to communication I’ve mentioned here, like the ability to use voice inflection and body language to carry meaning, and I’m admittedly fond of using logic like a robot or Vulcan, wouldn’t I logically choose to communicate my most important thoughts and feelings in person using spoken language?
Aha. I have a problem using voice inflection and body language! I have been told in the past that I speak in a monotone, and I probably just don’t have much expressiveness when I talk. Thus the comparison to robots and Vulcans. I must have always subconsciously been aware of a clumsiness or ineptitude I have when it comes to using those tools of communication that are so easy for most people. So I choose writing, where I don’t have to put my ineptitude on display.
Thank goodness it’s not related to an unwillingness to talk about my feelings, after all. I’m glad I got this nailed down.