After returning home last night from a visit with relatives I thought about how easy it is to visit with people whom you’ve shared a long relationship with; someone you have a history with. And how much more work it is with strangers or new friends.
We spent the evening with my hubby’s brother and sister-in-law. They only live about fifteen miles away but we don’t get together often because our lives and children so often take us in different directions. It was a nice comfortable visit –dinner at a restaurant so nobody had to cook, and good conversation afterward over strawberry shortcake and coffee at their kitchen table.
Meeting strangers and making new friends can be exciting (or maybe not so much for introverts). Sharing facts about yourself and learning new information about someone — looking for areas of similarity in personality, background, likes and dislikes, — is always interesting. But it’s a lot of work mentally and emotionally. This factor causes some people to avoid meeting new people altogether.
Spending time with relatives or old friends, while perhaps less exciting, is a lot less work. All the background information is already known. You know what is safe to talk about and what isn’t. You pretty much already know an old friend’s views on politics, religion, family and most other aspects of life. Even after months or years of separation, visits of this type usually consist more in catching up on what was missed while apart and on current events. Such visits are more relaxed than sharing your life with a stranger.
Because of the influence of Carol Garvin (see link to ‘Careann’s Musings’ in Blogroll at right) I began to ponder how this difference between new and old relationships might relate to writing. I realized that though I joined a writing group to explore creating fiction, a previously unpursued genre, I have drifted back to non-fiction essays. This blog is an example. My fictional writing is on hold. For me, creating fiction is more work. It requires more mental energy and more time. Essays are familiar and comfortable and relatively easy for me to write. One thought leading to another I wonder if other writers find themselves drifting back to writing in genres that are familiar.
Do you write in genres that you have little previous experience in?
Do you find yourself being drawn back into writing in genres that are more familiar and comfortable?