"It’s important to remember we’re all
explorers–as humans we are risk-takers, whizzing down a hill on a
bike. But we get settled in a pattern. There is so much more inside us."
–Benedict Allen, British explorer, “Disconnecting Is Key to Exploring,” Brigid Delaney, CNN.com
We age and something gets in the way of the adventure. Maybe an idol we seek. Something more important.
Other opinions get in. How easily we forget. Finally, exploring becomes a waste of time. Unproductive.
Very few have the courage and determination to
go back into the wild, like Allen, or Chris McCandless, the wandering adventurer
of Jon Krakauer’s bio. But there’s something ineluctable about it for
writers, this need to disconnect from the machinations of
influence-seeking. Like McCandless and Allen and countless others
before them (Cobain, anyone?).
We all seek to escape.
And yet, we also desire to be of influence,
to be connectors. The world esteems and rewards natural connectors, conveying power
and respect for their contagious personalities. Their messages compel
us because they’re explorers too, charging blindly into the wilderness
that exists between people, inviting us to come along. They have
something to share about this exploration of connecting.
I’ve known influential connectors
and the surprising truth is that most have tapped the
skill of disconnecting and reconnecting with the outside world. For
many writers, I believe this is a hidden key. Mastering this art
requires jumping into your particular adventure by investing your
personality, experiences, and abilities anonymously before reconnecting.
To connect, they’ve first disconnected
from the world. And to disconnect, they’ve connected with themselves and the
God-given tools for the adventure. The journey is universal, but the
results are always unique. No one is an automaton, but as free agents
in a glorious open experiment, we follow the prime exemplar, denying
ourselves, our selfish concerns, and seeking a better world where
“mattering” no longer matters.
We each have a life to live, but it will only be great if we live it.
We want to leave behind more than
landmarks. We hope to pass on an ability to see. From your own
dangerous adventure, you will teach people how to see their world,
others, themselves, and God, how to see the deeper reality, awakening
both the desire to search it out, and the sight with which to
understand. Flannery O’Connor said that a novelist uses the skills of a
prophet, being able to see the “near things with their extensions of
meaning,” and thus, to see “far things close up.”
As a writer, you carry that—you make the
connections between the visible “near things” and the reality they
represent. You’re the very definition of a connector. If that is in you, there’s no need to question it or ask why. Invest in that
desire. Show that however it may appear, there’s little
distance between things in this world. Strive to show that the
greatest chasms of contrast also create the most compelling complements.
It’s either an esoteric philosophy, or
an intriguing invitation, depending on the context you create in which to explore it. The extent to which you can sense that truth is directly
linked to how much you’ve disconnected from the outside world to
connect to your inner adventurer.
There’s a deep significance in how
you spend your waking moments. What are you pursuing in the quiet
times? It will feel foolish sitting behind a computer and hacking away
at the hidden form behind the screen. But disconnecting from the
distancing influences, you’ll sense this broader perspective and
discover deeper truths tied in webs of meaning you never before
This is the adventure, the brave exploration of an immortal soul, disconnecting to embark on a humbling, overwhelming journey most will never even begin. But this is why you’re needed, to connect it up for them, even as you work and strive yourself to continue, straining to fathom the infinite mysteries.