I’m now a semi-regular blogger over at the QueryTracker blog, and I was supposed to be answering reader questions, but I blew it. Instead I told a story you may have heard from me before if you’re on one of the online forums I frequent. It’s about when I was tutoring a student in grad school and told him something he’d never heard before.
(So wait: if I’m talking about a blog post in another blog post, is that a metablog? Or am I overthinking again?)
Please check it out, because the thirty seconds that incident took place burrowed into my understanding of people in general. The irony is that his reaction to hearing his words were important became more important to me than whatever it was we were writing about at that time.
Re-reading the account this morning after it posted, I realized how much Josh (from my string quartet novel) owes to him. Josh didn’t have trouble writing; he has trouble speaking. But how many of us have problems communicating? Whether it’s speaking, writing, communicating in a second language, or finding the courage to expose ourselves in words or even gestures, we all face that vulnerability. Communicating the important things is an uphill climb. It’s not without cause that Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith said “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” (Rough paraphrase.)
When people speak from the heart, their words are who they are. Those words are gifts.
Tell the giver of that gift those words are important. That’s the heart of my QT post: Listen. Listen.