I am officially coining the term: “Writer’s Stock”. Writers love to write, right? What do writers write about? Anything. Everything. Specific subjects or topics. Aren’t subjects and topics the same thing, really? Nah, I’m sure a good writer could write 500 words (or more) explaining the difference between the two. Writers have a lot to say, generally. Or do they? I say writers have a lot to write, not say – as in the spoken word. How often do you hear writers speak? Rarely. So if they have so much to say, why don’t they seek out every podium they can find and say it already? Even in common conversational situations, a writer is often the quietest one in the group. Maybe that’s because writer’s are observers (as they ought to be)—but that’s not why I say (or write, rather) that writers suffer from Writer’s Stock.
Writer’s Stock is what happens when a writer is consumed with filing, cataloging, and memorializing his or her surroundings, conversations, moods, weather, and for some more detailed writers, even the pattern of the wall paper. They become paralyzed from being PART of the environment or conversation for fear of tainting it or changing what they already have in their head in case they want to run back to their keyboard and write about it. And they often do.
As much as I would like to coin this new term and make it exclusive to skilled and seasoned writers, sadly I believe this is also the basis for the lack of LIVE human communication or interaction in society today. Our Myspace, turned Facebook way of life–and face it, it is a way of life now, as it has become more important to some than food and water and has afflicted many with severe cases of Writer’s Stock. People who literally walk around like stiff zombies through their daily lives taking inventory (or Stock) of everything around them so they can report it on Facebook, or at the very least a text message to someone at the soonest opportunity, if not immediately, who is doing the same thing somewhere else.
How is this a good thing? People, I believe, are much more observant as a result. Almost no one is walking with blinders on anymore. Oh, they still don’t want to ‘get involved’ for the most part, or even say hello to a passing neighbor, heaven forbid, but people are always taking in their surroundings in case they come across a little gem that might be worthy of a social media post. The real prize, however, is capturing video. I am amazed at how many ‘average’ bicyclists I see in my daily commute who have helmet cams on. Why? I believe it is a case of Cam Stock. Again, people so obsessed with their surroundings in hopes that they find and capture a video worthy of posting on social media, secretly hoping for their 15 minutes of fame when it goes viral. So, is it a good thing that people are much more observant of their surroundings? Absolutely.
How is this a bad thing? People don’t know how to talk to one another anymore. People suffering from Writers Stock and Cam Stock are using this obsession of observation as a wall to separate themselves from being ‘involved’ with others (who are often suffering from the same thing). I’ve noticed this occurs even within the same household, and I must admit, I am guilty of it as well. I have been known to vent in a FB status about something my roommate is doing or saying in the next room instead of going in there and speaking or interacting with him. I’m quite sure I’m not alone in this practice. I’ve also texted my roommate who lives downstairs just to ask if he’s home. One might say, “Well, I do that so I don’t ‘bother him’ by knocking on his door and making him come to the door; he could be busy or sleeping, after all”. Yet, we are confident that a text won’t be an intrusion because his/her cell phone is attached to them like an external organ necessary for survival.
So how do we cure Writer’s (or Cam) Stock? Is there a pill for it? No, not yet, but I’m sure there will be soon enough if someone can make money on it. The cure is simply to disconnect from anything electronic and gravitate to everything organic. When you take stock in a woman passing you, just smile, say hello, appreciate a returned hello and smile back. And resist the urge to run back and post on FB that she had the most snarliest teeth you’ve ever seen.
Teresa X. Roberts