08 August 2013

What I know about conversations



I love talking to people - to friends, to strangers. It's great getting to know someone, to hear how they pronounce words and listen to their laugh. When I was in England I'd try to talk to someone new on the train every day. The friends I stayed with freaked out because I was talking to strangers, even letting them carry my bag. But it was a great way to stave off being alone in a foreign country.

I used to have lengthy phone calls but these have reduced considerably. Who talks on the phone anymore? Now most of my conversations are online. This doesn't detract from the quality or depth of them at all. There's always someone to talk to online, always someone to listen. I hunch over and cup my phone like a steaming mug, and spend my time crafting words on my phone. I think the evolution of posture will be called iPosture.

I fall in love during conversations. I know when I am not falling in love because I don't get that excited feeling in my tummy during a conversation. I fall in love with people's words, they're honey, a trap.

I wrote this almost a year ago. It was a difficult write. Been thinking a little about it lately, even though I shouldn't. And then I remember how good things are now.

What we had was so intangible – pretty much two years of words on a screen, dancing over both our hearts. There were breathy phone-calls and mutual realisations of love – the kind of stuff that unleashed a kaleidoscope of butterflies in my stomach...

In this digital age, it is easy to be consumed by words. We are wrapped up in communication. For me, words have more power on the screen – I can feel the emotion in each syllable, and if there is love intended in the message, I can forgive the sender not knowing the difference between you’re and your. Maybe, because I am a writer, and communicating via the internet has been a large part of my life for 15 years, words can make me fall in love before I even get to breathe the person’s scent. Words have created the personas I’ve come to love. Am I an idiot?

I felt something for him in his first message to me, back in May 2010. He was dangerous, but I wanted more. And I got more. I should have put a full stop on his words, before they hurt me further. But I let the sentences run on too long, only punctuated when he wanted to stop what we had. Again and again. He was so bad that the good shone brightly around my perception of him, like stars peering through a night sky...

There’s a blank page now, where new words are invited to bring me new happiness. And when they come, I’ll try not to read into them too much. It may just save my heart.

A good conversation is like a journey. Long and winding, with many discoveries. I never feel like anyone is too important (or not important enough) to talk to - I will talk to anyone.

I used to be told off for talking too much. It's paid off. And now I do it with purpose. I talk in front of many, making them think, laugh and sometimes cry, and I'm not afraid. Today I'm having a conversation on radio, about the influential songs in my life. I've waited for this moment forever.

This is a writing prompt from the lovely Sarah Wayland - the theme is What I know about conversations. You can join in too.



  1. I would love to be a great conversationalist, but I am more of a voyeur (in a good way). I love to sit and listen to conversations like a fly on the wall and just observe. You can learn so much about people, life and even ourselves.

  2. I like this piece - and it's wonderful to hear that something you've been criticised for (talking too much) has become a fundamental strength for you. I love reading about people who take something that others might see as a fault, and turn it to their advantage. I enjoy talking to people, but it's very hard for me to overcome my shyness and self-consciousness unless I am engaged in a written conversation, where I feel much more free to express myself.

    I felt inspired to write a piece on this theme after reading yours :)


  3. I am still not convinced that online conversations are quite as connected as live ones, but the internet seems to want me to feel differently! I'm a good talker and a good listener, so conversation finds me regularly. I like it very much. x


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