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Thinking 'bout: Closeness

This is my shiny new Explainer Demo, my monument to closeness in 2020.

I don't do things alone.

When I have an idea, the first thing I want to do is share it. Growing up, I would call my neighbors to come over and wait in restless boredom until they got there. I'd come up with games to play- always with others, write annual original Christmas skits with my cousins, and create bizarre audio dramas and commercials with the neighborhood rowdies on my TalkBoy. Always together.

When I got older, I'd do things in groups, but never alone. We were the types of theater kids who descended on movie theaters like a swarm of insecure, awkwardly flirtatious locusts. In college, I filled my time with acting and collaborative writing, eventually ditching my first job in retail in college for a job writing and directing a community production of A Christmas Carol. When I picked up a hobby as an adult, it was improv comedy. I like people, and my creativity flourishes where my ideas can be most infectious.

Other things are infectious! I'll give you three guesses.

Just before the pandemic, I did something uncharacteristic: I took a train to NYC to record the demo at he top of this blog, alone. I took the day off from work, woke before the sun, recorded in the morning, caught a show in the afternoon, and ate at a restaurant completely alone. I don't do stuff like that, but now, I suppose, no one does.

I connected with a lot of people that day. Strangers, demo producers, fellow voice over artists. It opened my eyes to just how possible it all was, and how I had let myself fall into safe routines, or into other peoples' plans and group activities. I like the safety of a group I know, but sometimes, you have to trust yourself and just go do what's best for you.

I loved this trip, but on the other side of COVID, it feels so foreign to me. I brushed elbows with strangers. I packed in next to them in a theater. I shook hands and exchanged business cards and touched the same railings they touched. I was close to them, and the trip edged me back closer to a more authentic version of me.

I miss close, but I think it's still out there.

I think digital closeness can happen, despite division. I think we can reach through our screens and our microphones and really make people feel just how possible it all is. Close can be uncomfortable. So, too, can hope.

But it's the uncomfortable things that help us grow.