I haven't been a fan of the impersonal touch that seems to characterize so much in the way of holiday cheer in recent years. I complained before about the holiday cards that offer no trace of personal touch and the home decorations that families don't even bother to use as a fun family togetherness activity, but instead hire services to accomplish. I often wonder if part of the alienation that so many people, particularly young people, seem to feel from work, government, other people, even families - basically all institutions and group activities - stems from our ability of late to confine our interactions to those handled at a keyboard in front of a computer screen. (I'm quite sure this is also the reason that good grammar, spelling and sentence structure have hit the skids in recent years.)
I recognize the irony of reflecting on all this via blogging - yet another solitary but quasi-social activity. My absence from the blogosphere (if that's what we're calling it these days) over the holidays was most definitely the result of having plenty of face-to-face time with actual people. My kids were here and they are two very interesting people, full of opinions and ideas and thought-provoking commentary. I thought about posting here a few times and even drafted a couple paragraphs in my head during the last three weeks, but all those thoughts ended up being fodder for conversations instead.
This begs the question, obviously, of whether blogging is a pastime for the lonely. I've decided it is not. It's just another outlet for ideas, an alternative form of self-expression. Blogging is like all my other writing: I don't write because I lack people to talk to; I write because I have a pressure of words and ideas in my head, and the process of getting them expressed on paper/screen, just right, is intriguing, challenging, fascinating, an ongoing pleasure. It's monologue as opposed to dialogue, but that's ok. Sometimes it's nice to express without having to explain, to remain blissfully unaware of the flaws in one's position until that little internal voice points them out, to solo instead of being part of a chorus. It's not an either/or thing: conversation is good, and so is soliloquy.