The lost art of conversation. [FSF]

This week, Lillie McFerrin’s prompt for her Five Sentence Fiction challenge is “WORDS.”

I went a few different ways with this prompt, at first…though, my initial flash fiction idea – while based on a true story – pushed the vulgarity a bit too much than I like to do for a public challenge. So, this little vignette, taken from the early days of Fearless:

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By AstroHurricane001 at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“The loss of artful conversation”

Stretched upon the sand, beneath a canopy of stars, with the rhythm of the rolling current nearby, the lads often turned reflective.

“I think,” Neville mused softly, “with all this technology, and the culture of instant messaging, mankind’s lost the skill of artful conversation, like the poetry that used to exist in the days of Shakespeare, or Milton: what happened to that, where’s all that gone?”

With his head laid in the pillow of Amber’s lap and soothed by both the sound of waves and the gentle drift of her fingers through his hair, Ross hummed, and murmured, “There might be something to that. But,” he added, his gaze finding Amber’s as he opened his eyes again, “for some things, I don’t think you need conversation.”

That settled the lads for a long minute, until Niall sniffed, and declared:

“I’m gonna bring back ‘rad.’”

I’ve spoken on this blog about making art with words before, so I don’t think it needs repeating. I do often wonder, as Neville does, if the immediacy of communication hasn’t taken away some power of words, though. When was the  last time we made efforts to write real letters, rather than emails, or instant messages on a phone?

Or, perhaps, I’m just waxing nostalgic, and that old power of lyricism in dialogue has been replaced by something else. What do you think? How do WORDS speak to you?

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19 thoughts on “The lost art of conversation. [FSF]

  1. I think technology has its pros and cons, yes it has taken away old fashion chatting and writing letters (i love receiving letters via post) but it has the ability to connect with so many people, quicker too! Loving this character he is so thoughtful, i like thinkers 😛

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    • Thanks, Jenny. Neville’s definitely my careful thinker. 🙂

      I certainly appreciate the immediacy of modern communication, as well. I do often miss those long, winding roads of written letters, though.

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  2. I love the characterisation here; very deep thinking and pondering. I love conversation and would be lost if I couldn’t talk face to face with someone on a daily basis. I love texting but do need the face to face. A very well written, thought provoking post. xxx

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    • Thank you, Lizzie.

      I appreciate quick communication, but there is nothing quite like “real” conversation, well-thought and considerate.

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    • Thanks, Ang! 😀

      This one was taken from an actual conversation…the “rad” part being the reality! It was just too good a comment to pass up.

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  3. I’m another who likes a bit of both, but passionate debate and conversation can be one of the most exhilarating things out there! I’d hate to lose it… As a family, we’ve tried hard to create conversation, discussion and diversity, and not just sit with devices in our hands permanently!
    Loved your piece!

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    • Thanks, Lisa.

      I do like having a communications outlet right at my fingertips, especially since I’m sequestered in an office most of the day. But, I enjoy the freedom of honest-to-goodness face-to-face interaction, too. Bravo to you and your family, for keeping that alive!

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  4. I think these days of instant communication are affecting language and how we use it, both in speaking and writing. I’ve been pondering a post about the “death of words” in writing. Our culture (and writing) constantly changes in ways we can’t predict. But just as not all evolutionary mutations are “good,” so it is with culture. I wish we would use our ability to think about the future more often and really consider whether some of our choices are good adaptations.

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    • I’m admittedly nostalgic for the days of multi-paged letters, JM. I used to write and receive them back in my university days…and I still have them stored for my own remembrance!

      Technological advancements like email and instant messaging do allow for quick replies, searches, and concatenation, but I just *know* the interpersonal skills have broken down, at least a bit. I’ve seen it, among our students! Maybe I just need to be more adaptive.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. It seems they’ve done quite well with their conversation. Just because it was short didn’t make it less valuable. And Ross and Amber seemed to be communicating even if it took a while for Neville to catch on. Nice scene!

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  6. I have to agree with the desired immediacy of communication. Everyone seems to just talk in memes or is always texting, and sitting down to a nice conversation I can only seem to find with few friends or older generations. Even I can feel that I’m a little slower when I speak compared to my classmates, but I trained myself to do so.

    However, I sometimes find texting to be a blessing when I don’t want to “speak” to certain people. 🙂

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    • As I mentioned to a few other folks, I do like having the option to communicate more or less instantly. However, that instant sometimes makes me make mistakes, or chew on my own foot. 😀

      Thanks for stopping by, spooney!

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  7. I guess, like everything, faster modes of communication can be good and bad. My husband is consulting in an office where everyone sits in cubicles but cannot get up to speak to each other regarding any element of the job. They must send emails. While I understand they’re trying to crack down on chit-chat and needless wandering from cubicle to cubicle, I also think that face-to-face dialogue is ten times more effective than back and forth emails. Not only that, it’s warmer, if that makes sense. There is a kindness that most people exude when they’re talking to someone in person as opposed to an email or a text message.

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    • I work in an office by myself most of the time, so I use e-communication for most everything…but I can’t imagine being in an office like your husband’s. I do understand wanting to contain the often time-wasting wandering and chatting, but – and you’re totally right, here, Kate – actually speaking with a person can often save enormous amounts of time. Plus, that personal interaction and warmth (or, coolness) just cannot be duplicated with any other form of communication. Even over a phone, voices speaking have a much different relationship than words on a screen.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Sadly, it’s true that our collective vocabularies are shrinking and compressing. Wonder how long it will be before we just speak binary and lolz….
    I definitely got a chuckle from this one, and I agree with Neville. There are a few words form the 80’s that need to reemerge.

    Great work as always, Mayumi!

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    • Your comment reminded me of an old fellow Star Wars friend, who was a CS major. He was so into computers, we used to joke he spoke in Binary, with a “0” button in one hand and a “1” button in the other. I’ll have to look him up again, see what he’s up to. You know, maybe that’s not a bad idea to incorporate into a story…. 😉

      I mentioned to a few other folks: I appreciate the immediacy of modern technological communication, though I do wonder what it must have been like to live in an age where people still spoke in full, flowery sentences.

      Thanks for the comment, Shade.

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