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Don’t ever stop touching

standard April 11, 2013 6 responses

The longer you go without touching someone the harder it is to start touching them again.

That little truism is pretty much all I retained from the movie Hope Springs which I saw this past winter, but it’s something that has somehow stuck with me since I heard it.

Think about it.

When you have a spat with someone the last thing you want is to be touched. Touch is intimate. It’s a form of language, and when you’re mad, you don’t want to talk, no matter what language it’s in.

But then, when you’re done being mad, when you’re done not wanting to be touched, it’s like an abyss has been formed between you and the other person, a gorge that’s hard to reach across to make contact again.

Same thing happens when you’ve been separated from someone or something you love for reasons out of your control. A vacation, an illness, a move, a deployment…  When you first see the person after a long absence, it’s hard to connect again.

The rather simple solution to it all is to just not stop touching the things that are important to you. But that’s neither practical nor always possible.

6 weeks ago I set aside my second novel so that I could focus on the rewrites of the first to get it ready for publication. I was on deadline and I needed to give the first book my undivided attention.

The setting aside of the first book was both intentional and necessary and yet I so wish I hadn’t done it.

I turned in the final version of the first book over a week ago. (10 days if we’re being precise.) And what have I done all week in regards to the second book?

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

I’ve just procrastinated.

The file is right there. It’s filled with a book oozing potential, a book I’ve really enjoyed writing so far, a book that I’m not close to having finished.

And yet, I can’t bring myself to open it, to read back, to write forward.

I should have popped open the file every day. I should have read a few paragraphs or written a few hundred words before moving on to the necessary edits of the other piece. I should have at least touched it.

Every day I make a point of touching my husband’s shoulder when we dance around each other in the kitchen. I make sure to kiss him hello, hug him goodbye. Little nothing touches here and there that keep us close, keep us connected. It’s something that I never thought about before watching that movie, something that I never forget now that I know what could happen if I stop reaching out, stop touching him.

I should have realized that a relationship with a novel-in-progress needs the same kind of nurturing touch.

I’ve let the abyss grow and every day it gets harder and harder to cross.

It’s not a mistake I’ll ever make again.

Crazy movie about older couple who learn to touch each other again. Funny. Kinda.

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