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A Constant Communicator in Every Possible Way

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Photo by Irina Iriser on

As a child, and even through my adult life, I vividly remember how my father would chide me in his playful way about how I always strived to communicate. During those times of light-hearted teasing, he’d joke about my extreme focus on communication, an intense need to keep in touch. At the time, I knew his intent was more fun-loving than critical, but I still felt self-conscious and, as a result, more uncertain of myself than ever. Secretly, I wondered if some strange defect reverberated within me, always questioning whether other people regarded me as odd. Now that I’m older, though, I’ve achieved a much greater comfort with who I am, an easier acceptance of my various quirks. So I fully and quite proudly embrace that constant desire to communicate as an integral part of my identity.

Communication is what drives me in every sense. It’s the underlying factor of each decision and interaction that I make, the integral basis for how I view the world around me. For all of these reasons, I think that explains why being a writer is the perfect profession for me.

But writing isn’t the only way that I attempt to be in contact, to demonstrate care and reciprocity with others. I’m discovering this fact as I get older and feel greater acceptance of myself. Yet, to be honest, the path to such recognition all started with that powerful connection to the written word.

In my view, the essence of writing involves a continuous determination to communicate and, as a result, to construct important relationships. This is actually one of the most wonderful aspects of writing as I see it. In fact, I don’t think a written piece can be effective or memorable unless it clearly conveys a specific idea or a viewpoint through carefully woven language that reflects detailed descriptions, forever intent on breaking down every morsel of information for easier absorption and with the audience’s needs always in mind. An unspoken bond to readers exists at the very core of any text, where the writer and the audience unite with that profound understanding of eventual likemindedness.

So, through the lens of writing, I no longer consider the impulse to reach out and to foster connections as detrimental, as a flaw to be concealed, even though I remember that chiding from my younger days. At this time, with a much clearer idea of myself, I regard that need to write as a constant, always dedicated attempt to forge a profoundly important comprehension with others in order to develop relationships that contain meaning and value.

To me, writing represents a very active form of communication, building trust, credibility, and a significant alliance, which is the way that I always frame this effort to my students. As I teach them certain principles, which I’ve gained from a combination of study and personal experience, I feel it’s important to realize that writing never occurs in a vacuum, where words have little purpose, floating in an undefined space for eternity. Instead, each word, even every syllable, matters in forming that crucial, immensely sacred link to the reader, allowing the audience to visualize all of the details provided in concrete fashion, and making that all-important positive impact.

After sharing this lesson with my students, much of which I understand through a growing awareness and acceptance of my own emotional desire to generate authentic connections, I see it come to life quite beautifully in their work. This semester, more of my students than ever before have written personal narrative essays that are accomplished in their concrete detail, descriptiveness, and overall structure, too. I notice great effort in ensuring the reader can witness every key aspect of my students’ experience as they bring their stories to such vivid life.

While I eagerly celebrate my students’ development as writers and feel much more appreciative of my own writing identity now, the constant need to communicate isn’t restricted to this one art. Over the last few years, I’ve been learning how to play racquetball and I have come to see this sport as another great avenue for communication. Not only does it help me deal with chronic back pain to the point where I barely feel the ache any longer, it’s revealed another way to connect quite wonderfully. The act of hitting a ball against an extensive wall, where another player must reach for it, serves as a surprisingly satisfying form of communication. I never would’ve imagined this delightful reality to be the case before my exposure to the sport.

But with that continual leaping of the ball, there’s an effort to be in touch, to reciprocate the challenge of sending this object into the air at high speeds, almost as a gift, for an opponent to return. Although definite competition is involved in these intensive relations, the desire to make friendly contact also exists within this fun endeavor, which represents one of the aspects of racquetball that I cherish the most.

Writing and racquetball truly express my constant need to stay in touch, to build wonderful connections, to keep lines of communication open for the inevitable enrichment to come. Finding important ways to communicate will always be crucial to how I interact with the world. And I no longer feel self-conscious or unnerved by this need. It’s a motivating factor in how I look at the world around me and my place within it. So even though I clearly remember that teasing from my childhood, I feel no shame about my continual desire to connect, whether through writing, racquetball, or other means. Communication is at my core andI’m proud to say it represents an attempt to make sense of the landscape around me, to understand those whom I meet, and to make meaningful connections that enrich my life. To me, that’s the value of building such bonds and the reason why I am a constant communicator in every possible way.

Alisa Burris

Alisa Burris is a literary fiction author whose work depicts alienated lives with glimpses of mystery blended into the narrative layers. Her novel Detached explores how three vastly different women cope with the trauma of a violent murder in their townhome community as they face private secrets of their own. In addition to writing stories that reflect today’s complex world, Alisa holds a PhD in English. Her dissertation specifically examines the fiction of Jewish-American women authors in the context of the cultural estrangement that they personally experienced during the twentieth century. Currently, Alisa also teaches composition and literature courses on the undergraduate college level.

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