I used to be a very social person. Now, I don’t mean to focus on the “used to be” as much as the “very.” There has been no 180 degree movement in the opposite direction. But for obvious reasons, I have felt removed from the notion of social interaction. My job in a call center has always involved communication via phone but there were co-workers with whom to commingle. My wife and I were not the “going-out-to-dinner” types because, well, I love to cook.
It is more an internal change, a lack of desire to be involved in groups for entertainment purposes, or gatherings of necessity rather than intention. When this “whole thing” passes, I will not be inclined to go back to an office setting and will be hard pressed to venture forth.
There is one place, one kind of gathering that suits me and that is demonstrably important: a writers conference. The communion found there is the type of energy and sustenance I feel is vital to my overall well-being. This is not to say I might have differences of opinion in both the religious, political, and personal discussions. Nevertheless, when writers gather, the focus is on craft, creation, and ultimately, the life-affirming acts of Art.
Many disagreements of a personal nature found prominently on social media melt away at a writers conference. There is a singular focus, at times abstract when filtered through the Happy Hour gatherings, but mostly a desire to put into words characters and places and events that heretofore did not exist. It is nothing short of exhilarating.
So, I can only hope the pandemic will not interfere with my attendance at the OWFI (https://www.owfi.org/) conference in 2021. Or that I will be able to see my local writer’s group here in Wichita at one of our local hangouts rather than Facebook Room or Zoom or Skype. I will certainly keep writing but I do miss that communion.