Monday, September 26, 2011

extremely loud and incredibly close

My friend, Brett, and I drove out to East Lansing yesterday to see Jonathan Safran Foer speak. How great it was to hear him speak about the writing process for him because he had different views from most writers that I have heard before. Foer said, "Sometimes writing means just what it says. It doesn't always have some deeper meaning" (that is paraphrased). He also said that his characters, to him, are merely tools in telling his stories. They aren't real people to him. This struck me as interesting because most authors tend to let their characters grow inside of them--almost becoming real people--, and they feel a need to continue to tell more of their story.

What I think may have been the most important part of the evening to me, though, was the drive home with Brett. Other than kind of getting lost on the backroads of Lansing in the middle of the night in the rain, we had some great conversation. We talked about Foer and how he said, "Emotions and intuition are muscles that need to be worked." How true this is! We often don't allow ourselves to feel certain emotions (particularly sadness) because it doesn't always feel good to feel that way. Brett said something that I thought was beautiful: "Why should we deny ourselves to feel? Even if it is sadness, I want to feel something real." We talked about the importance of nurturing our emotions--even when that means allowing ourselves to feel sad.

It's nice to know that there are other people that feel the same way: Being on our own is not easy, especially being apart from our best friends. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, but particularly because I heard Foer speak last night, about this deep longing I have to feel connected to people, yet I feel constricted and unable to do so. Foer's book, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, speaks volumes to this. His book tells the stories of so many people who want to communicate with one another on a deep level but all are unable to do so. My problem lies in the fact that I don't feel connected to that many people in this area. I do have a couple of close friends around, though, and I have hope that the Lord will guide me and help me to nurture those friendships with people.

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