Making Connections With People Through Writing

9 Apr

One of our local television news reporters does a weekly special called “Eric’s Heroes.”  Each week he highlights a “normal” citizen who quietly does acts of goodwill in the community.  It’s a feel-good segment, one of the few things on the weekly news reports I look forward to.

Last week he did a segment about a young man who daily goes to Green Lake, sits down on a park bench, and holds up a sign which says: “I desire a conversation. Will you talk with me?”  He will sit there for about an hour each day, and invariably one or two complete strangers will stop and talk with the young man about life and all manner of things.

The young man, during the interview, explained that originally he began doing that because he suffers from clinical depression, and he wanted desperately to interact with people and not stay in his bedroom, tucked into the fetal position.  So he forces himself, each day, to walk to that park bench and interact with people.

It was a touching story.  It is a story I can relate to as a writer.

No, I don’t suffer from clinical depression, but I am painfully shy and introverted.  Conversations are difficult for me. Always have been and I suspect they always will be . . . so writing is my way of communicating with other people.  It is my way of reaching out and screaming “I’m alive and I need all of you!”  It is my release from a self-imposed prison.

More naps these days

I suspect I’m not alone.  I suspect many writers are like me.  Heck, I suspect many people who are not writers are like me.  For some of us, face-to-face conversation is like a trip to the dentist.  While most people seem to instinctively know how to carry on a casual conversation, I am lost in tall forest and dense undergrowth.  Social gatherings are like “death by a thousand paper cuts” for me.

So I write!  I reach out, with my words, and attempt to connect on some basic level with other human beings, in hopes of making a vital connection, in hopes of bridging the deep canyon I am always facing.

And so it goes!

If you would like to watch the aforementioned episode, follow this link.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

38 Responses to “Making Connections With People Through Writing”

  1. Janine Huldie April 9, 2019 at 3:42 pm #

    Bill, you said this quite frankly just perfectly and like you I also right to reach out. But reception started to video on YouTube for that further reaching out reason and has made me feel truly like I am connecting further with even more out there. So, for this and more I feel more than blessed daily for all the connections I have made now and over the years, especially with friends like you. So thanks for that gentle reminder here today. Now, Happy Tuesday once again 😉

    • Billybuc April 9, 2019 at 3:52 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Janine. I love social media because it allows me to meet people like you, a friend I’ve never met face to face, but a friend nonetheless. Happy Tuesday to you!

  2. Susan Zutautas April 9, 2019 at 3:58 pm #

    Bill, I started writing things out at a very early age as I found it easier to convey my feelings and opinions on paper. My writing tablet has always been my voice. Thanks for sharing the wonderful story of the young man. Have a great day!

    • Billybuc April 9, 2019 at 4:28 pm #

      No wonder we’re friends, Susan! We are kindred spirits. 🙂 Thanks for sharing that personal glimpse.

  3. Mike April 9, 2019 at 4:13 pm #

    The story of the young man is unique and truly heroic. It is not surprising that it touched you deeply enough to write about.

    • Billybuc April 9, 2019 at 4:28 pm #

      Thanks Mike! It was an incredible human interest story. Makes me want to drive up to Seattle and talk to the guy.

  4. marlenebertrand April 9, 2019 at 4:49 pm #

    You have such a way with words, it is hard to believe you are shy. But, of course I do believe it. I can identify with what you shared about social gatherings. I married a man who comes alive in social settings. He can strike up a conversation with anyone. I, on the other hand, can never find the words it takes to start, let alone continue a conversation. So, I write. Someone recently labeled me a perfectionist. I don’t know if I like that label. But, I do know I like the “delete” key and the “CTRL + N” key (Start New) a lot.

  5. Billybuc April 9, 2019 at 5:05 pm #

    Thanks for sharing about yourself, Marlene…that was funny about the delete key, and so true. Teaching helped me to speak with people, as did owning two retail businesses. But I’m still not comfortable doing it, despite the fact I look like I am. I’m pretty good at faking it, quite frankly.

  6. Sally Gulbrandsen April 9, 2019 at 5:10 pm #

    What an amazing young man. I am almost tempted to follow his example just for the experience:) As for your own shyness Billy, I don’t think it really matters. I don’t think you realize how much of an influence you have had on my life even though we have never met. I am proud to call you my friend.

    • Billybuc April 9, 2019 at 5:16 pm #

      That is so kind of you to say, Sally! Thank you my friend. The honor is all mine. You just made my day.

    • Rodric Johnson April 9, 2019 at 8:42 pm #

      Sally, me too. It would make for a good story too–the experiences he must have had!

  7. Rodric Johnson April 9, 2019 at 8:41 pm #

    I am so proud of that man taking on his weakness with a determination not to let it define how he lives his life by giving in to it. He is my hero and I want to be more like he is. This was a great story to talk about this week.
    As writers, it is easy if we wanted to, to hide away from the world and reach out only with our words. I believe that it is important to our craft to reach out to others and forge relationships so that it gives us a connection with the people that we write to.
    For you Bill, there are many years of service you provided to students and parents, the community at large for teaching. You have a repository of experiences from which to draw to write.
    Your wisdom saturates your writing because you have the requisite experiences to go along with your writing. For those of us with limited experience, we need to be like this young man who reaches out on purpose to connect with life. This story is so inspiring to me.

    • Billybuc April 10, 2019 at 1:32 pm #

      Rodric, that story touched me like few have. The courage it must have taken for that man to reach out and ask for contact…just remarkable. He inspires me for sure, my friend.

  8. Audrey M Howitt April 9, 2019 at 9:06 pm #

    The whole introverted/extroverted thing is interesting. I think so many writers find themselves alone much of the time–it can be a relief for me sometimes–just the quiet–and other times, it makes me feel restless–I have to say–good for the guy on the bench!

    • Billybuc April 10, 2019 at 1:33 pm #

      Audrey, I do like my solitude, but in short batches. Too much and I start messing around inside my head, and that’s never a productive activity.

  9. Lori Colbo April 9, 2019 at 10:46 pm #

    Interesting that you are shy. I pictured you as very social. I was painfully shy growing up. As my adult years went by I became less and less shy. So I believe shy and broken people write as an outlet to express themselves.

    Always interesting to learn more about you. Blessings Bill.

    • Billybuc April 10, 2019 at 1:34 pm #

      Thank you Lori! You can believe it about me….very shy! I have forced myself to interact with people.

  10. Sageleaf April 10, 2019 at 2:28 am #

    Big Bro, oh the feels. THE FEELS! This story. Wow. We ALL crave stories, and reading this is no exception.
    To that end, we have lost the art of connection with our gadgets and yet we need them. The introverts thrive with the written word because we don’t have to deal with the social anxiety. I gravitate towards writing (as you know lol) but even as I embark on teaching meditation, I knew – just knew – that I wanted to be more based online, in addition to doing classes in the community. But it’s because writing and working with folks online is where I know I shine. So, that makes me a bit of an unusual meditation teacher, but one who does yearn to be authentic- and it’s through words and finding others online that is my strength. And it’s yours, too. You are just one awesome human, my friend. Sending you big hugs!

    • Billybuc April 10, 2019 at 1:35 pm #

      I don’t know about awesome, Lil Sis,but thank you for believing in me. It means a great deal to me, in all seriousness. I admire and respect you, so hugs and thanks heading your way.

  11. Dee April 10, 2019 at 3:38 am #

    I would love to have a conversation with that young man. I imagine he has interesting things to share on life and more. I think your writing converses with others. You inspire readers with every day.

    • Billybuc April 10, 2019 at 1:36 pm #

      I appreciate that, Dee! That’s one reason I write, to inspire, so your affirmation is important to me.

  12. Shauna L Bowling April 10, 2019 at 4:29 pm #

    What an amazing story, Bill! Thanks for sharing the video. I love that John “self-medicates through human interaction”. What a concept, huh?

    It’s refreshing to know the media in your area make it a point to bring human interest stories to the news. I wish every news station did the same.

    • Billybuc April 10, 2019 at 6:28 pm #

      it is refreshing, Sha, but I’m afraid the majority of the news is still gloom and doom. It’s just a sign of the times we live in, I’m afraid.

  13. 1authorcygnetbrown April 10, 2019 at 9:05 pm #

    We are alike. I too am introverted and painfully shy. I think I have told you before that the reason I started writing again was therapy for depression that I had several years ago. Writing is the therapy that pays me! Not a lot, but it’s better to sign the back of the check, than the front!

  14. Billybuc April 11, 2019 at 1:49 pm #

    A therapy that pays you…I like that, Donna!

  15. suziehq April 12, 2019 at 2:37 pm #

    Nice post my friend, I can too relate as in my early years i was very shy. Sport was a great thing that drew me out of being so shy and then working in retail helped hugely. Now I find through using different tools like social media, writing, public speaking I have grown so much in confidence. have a great week Bill and congrats again with the new novel . . . .from strength to strength you continue to amaze xxxxxx

    • Billybuc April 12, 2019 at 4:05 pm #

      Hi Irish! Thanks for weighing in on this. Retail helped me as well. I actually don’t mind public speaking, which is really weird. lol Have a great weekend and thanks for the kind words.

  16. Andrea Stephenson April 14, 2019 at 11:15 am #

    That’s a brave young man, to have the courage to put him out there like that while suffering from depression – I’m glad that people respond to him. I’m much more articulate in writing than in person – I have plenty to say but ask me to say it out loud and you won’t get much out of me!

    • Billybuc April 14, 2019 at 2:37 pm #

      Same with me, Andrea. I would much rather let my writing do the talking for me. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by…you are appreciated.

  17. phoenix2327 April 16, 2019 at 4:49 pm #

    Preaching to the choir, Bill. I’ve spent most of my life ashamed that I couldn’t have conversations as easily as others can. My mother always forced me to interact with others and it was torturous for all involved. After much struggling, I finally accepted the fact that that’s just who I am. My husband like me for who I am, my kids like me for who I am and now I like me for who I am. I am free to socialize or not as I see fit. It’s so liberating.

    Much respect to that guy for not letting his depression control his life. What a novel approach to dealing with his illness.

    • Billybuc April 16, 2019 at 5:01 pm #

      And I like you for who you are, Zulma, which puts me in good company.

      it is liberating. Took me a long time to be free, but thankfully I made it. 🙂

      • phoenix2327 April 16, 2019 at 5:23 pm #

        Thank you, Bill. And I like you too. Don’t ever change. Unless it’s for the better. 😀

  18. Lawrence Hebb April 17, 2019 at 6:51 am #

    I’m the complete opposite, but I have a wife and daughter just like that.
    I frustrate my wife because I seem to make friends easily, but the friends she makes tend to stick ‘through thick and thin’ and those are the friends you really want.

    • Billybuc April 18, 2019 at 1:44 pm #

      We balance out our mates, Lawrence, and that is very cool.

  19. Shell Vera April 23, 2019 at 5:11 am #

    The paper cut analogy!! I don’t like social because I don’t do group conversation well. In one-to-one conversation, it depends on my partner how painful it can be, as I process out loud and interject at times which can throw folks off when it’s not meant to stop a conversation but to say “I agree” or “interesting”. I’m learning to do better in situations where I’m not acting as guide and coach.

    I would be absolutely content never leaving my house and I know that can be a struggle for some. I love being social when I’m seeing people smile and have a good time. But when I have to also be social… that takes energy I don’t always want to give. I’m much better at written communication – even with typos!

    • Billybuc April 23, 2019 at 1:36 pm #

      You are a kindred spirit, Shell. You could have easily been writing that comment about me. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing.

  20. Sageleaf April 24, 2019 at 12:32 pm #

    Just wanted to come by and wish you a wonderful week! I know you’re busy, but I just felt gratitude for all your comments and wanted to return some of that heart-felt gratitude. You sure are awesome, Big Bro! You and Bev enjoy the farmers market and this wonderful season of spring! 😁😁😁

  21. Billybuc April 25, 2019 at 1:40 pm #

    Thanks Lil Sis…..I’m afraid I’m ignoring the blogs for a couple weeks until I find a schedule that is productive and gives me time to breathe. Thanks for thinking of me. Hugs and love always!

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