When my son was a toddler, he didn't want to sleep in his own room. While the family bed concept might work for some people, I needed my sleep and found that hard to achieve with three bodies in a double bed, especially with a child as intellectually energetic as he was. He could easily stay up to midnight with only a one-hour mid-day nap at preschool. So we would tell him, "Go to bed, you've got Mr. Bear and all your stuffed animals with you."
"I want real people!" he would shout back.
(Eventually, we fashioned a solution for him. Whenever he was lonely, he could come and get into the sleeping bag we left for him beside our bed. With just a rug beneath it, it proved less comfortable than his own bed and he would return to it after an hour or so. Soon, he stopped coming to it all.)
The other day, in the midst of writing all day by myself, I took a break and opened up my Facebook page. It was the day that Facebook launched its new everyone-everywhere-has-something-to-say format. I couldn't pick out anything interesting or important from the chaotic stream, so I closed it quickly. But I still had a need to communicate and let someone know I was alive.
"I want real people!" I said to the empty house.
I know that such quiet is necessary to write (and to do my other, editing work), but my days have a lot of quiet to them. For me, too often, Facebook and a full Inbox have become substitutes for real encounters. And by opening them as much as I, often necessarily, do, I am keeping myself from the potential for such encounters.
The new Facebook format that I loathe has given me an excuse to wean myself from electronic forums. Unfortunately, at least right now, there is nothing to fill the void I thought I was filling with them.