New Year Ponderings About Sharing Ideas in Writing

In her book, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott wrote: “Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die. They are full of all the things that you don’t get in real life — wonderful, lyrical language…. And quality of attention…. An author makes you notice, makes you pay attention, and this is a great gift.”

Can I create books (or other writing) like this? I do want to pay attention, and I do want to share my explorations and ponderings and observations with others; I do want community — and friendship — and I really, really do want to know how to live and die. I want to explore the cosmic — the God-level — issues.

And while I personally love to read books that do that for me, at the same time I want to find others who have been “caught” by those ideas and want to explore them further, together.

But it doesn’t seem like a very “popular” kind of desire (or at least not very “populist” — but I’m thinking that “populist” isn’t something I’d really want to be connected to, anyway). Still, out of 7 billion people out there, surely there are some who’d like to dig deeper into those issues. The thing is, how to find them? And would they really be interested in reading what I have to say … and responding? Thinking things through, together?

Hmm … it does seem like blogging, speaking, small group facilitating, a focused Meet-Up group perhaps,or other things like that (most of which are face-to-face encounters, I just now realized — something we seem to be losing on a frightening scale), make more sense than writing a book … though I guess a book might come out of it at some point. Of course, some people would say that a book would get the conversation started. So maybe there’s that, after all. And yes, a book potentially can read a larger group of people — though an awful lot of books reach almost no one. (Well, that means I need to work more on high quality writing and marketing … and hope for some luck, too, I suppose).

Actually, I do lots of “putting my thoughts out there” — the question is, am I making anyone pay attention? Am I building community? Is what I have to say truly helpful? Is it something that might start a serious, deeply thoughtful conversation? Is there any point in writing a book (or a Medium post, for that matter), if what I have to say isn’t important? I wonder.