Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Connections -- Part 1

I look for connections everywhere.

I don’t know if it’s my rural upbringing, my writer’s mind or some human trait we all share, but I follow the thread of every person I meet or event I encounter to see how it connects with other people and events. I do this as a person, but also as a writer. That’s why I’ve decided to write a short series of posts on the subject. I’ll write about connections with people, connections with events, how connections shape our lives and how those connections shape our writing.

First up, connections in humanity.

Human Connections
I believe it is, in fact, a very human endeavor to examine the connections between ourselves and others. Whether we’re raised on a wheat farm in Oregon, an Italian neighborhood in the Bronx or a village in Botswana, all of us find something satisfying in establishing connections between ourselves and others.

Whenever you hear of a person-centered event in your community--a birth, death, wedding, accident or arrest--what is the first thing you do? If your family is like mine, you look for relationships. "Ah, yes, so and so who’s getting married is the son of this person who was related to that person who was a next door neighbor of the other person, who is--of course--a second cousin of such and such."

Like any good “Six Degrees” game, you eventually end up with a connection. Maybe it’s a familial connection. Maybe it’s not. In any case, you get close enough to establish that person’s place in your world. They are no longer simply a disembodied name. They are someone who, no matter how convoluted the path, is firmly fixed in your reality. You have a connection.

Next Wednesday: connections in logic and events.

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