The work newsletter I've been writing for had their editorial board meeting a few weeks ago. I volunteered to attend; the horrors of meetings long since worn with time and ignorance.
Maybe it was morbid curiousity, maybe it was the unreasonable belief that I'd some how come out of my shell and start contributing and brainstorming and gesturing manically towards trenchant Power Point slides. Maybe the solitude of staring at a computer screen for weeks on end had gotten to me. Maybe I was hoping that I'd enter in a smoke-filled room thick with the heady brew of cross-talking think-tanking and creative outbursts the likes of which haven't been seen since Hollywood did their impression of a New York newsroom.
Ah, I know why I really went. It was to meet people who had almost certainly actually read my articles. I mean, they'd have to, in the course of doing layout of editing or whatever it is that editorial boards do. And sure, maybe it'd only be in passing, or by accident, or just to ensure I hadn't mentioned how the entire world banking system is controlled by a race of hyper-intelligent fruit flies with sinister intentions.
Because on the other side of this keyboard here, furiously torturing metaphors and constructing complex barely intelligible sentences with hope, spit, and bailing wire, there's very little feedback. At the newsletter, there's almost none. I get a little kind note from whoever I submit to, and that's pretty much it. My work group sometimes comments, tells me how it's not the shittiest thing that has every molested their eyes, but you know, they pretty much have to say something.
At Periodically.org High Quality Thrice Inspected Original ASCIII Nettube Products I get the occasional comment, but mainly am egged on by the Google Followers (if you read regularly, and haven't added yourself, er, here's the hint).
There's always that bit of madness and neurosis that inhabits every hack that compels them to write. But the idea that actual people read it, and maybe don't shut down their web browser and kick their computer for assaulting their verbal brain centers, well not immediately afterwards anyways, is the drug that keeps one writing.
So, that's why I went, I think.
It went as expected, everyone really quiet since none of us work with each other on a regular basis, everyone being overly polite and no one making too many hard decisions. This is how I imagine every meeting to go, actually. It was pleasant, though, to see the faces of the other contributors and editors and whatnot. I felt like I wasn't just writing off 500 words and sending off to the ether.
And it might have been my imagination, but I think I may have gotten the faintest glimmer of recognition from some of them, as if they may have remembered that I had written an article for every letter since it had been revitalized. There was no back slap and the jocular handshake of journalistic bon homie, nothing of that sort. But I wasn't greeted as a total stranger. I guess not all meetings are bad.