Signal to Noise
I was invited not long ago to speak to a high school creative writing class about blogging, writing and publishing. Here was a group of young people, by self-selection, interested in becoming strong, mature writers: nobody held a gun to their head to make them sign up for an advanced english class.
At some point in my description of my history as a writer, I had some thing really important for them to know, a resource I wanted them to be sure and explore. But it’s importance seemed not to have registered, because they did not respond.
So I made it more emphatic. “Write this down” I pointedly encouraged them, and gave them the info slowly and clearly. “You’ll find this an extremely useful resource.”
And not a single student picked up a pen to write it down. I was stunned. Beyond that point, I knew that no matter how potentially life-affirming, informative, stimulating or helpful it might be, nothing I said was going to make any difference to these people.
Being the soundless tree falling in the forest left me discouraged, and I decided I’m not going to go there again. Somewhere, for some audience, what I told those students would have been received with great enthusiasm and gratitude. But here, I was irrelevant, marginal, and what I had to say was inconsequential.
I concluded that I just have to do a better job of connecting with listeners who are receptive to my frequency and resonate with the same energies that make me more alive as those stories and ideas and hopes are shared.
The general themes of finding resonance and sharpening my focus are running on several concurrent channels here at Chez Fragments, and will likely eventually be revisited as they relate to other writing like the blog.
I guess we all want to find groups of friends or other listeners who hear us and care about what we care about or at least give us an ear, and we should give up at some point on those who don’t and won’t. And I can’t seem to see my way clear to how to do this and be an effective writer and voice of reason. Maybe it is just not possible at this point in my personal and our collective history.
If that is true, what then to do with my time, energy, talents, concerns and ambitions as a teacher, naturalist, citizen and pilgrim? The signal to noise ratio on this trends heavily towards the latter just now.