Never Met a Voice Card...

Voice Card  -  Volume 29  -  John Card Number 10  -  Sun, Oct 3, 1993 5:12 PM

This is ONE OF 3 responses to VC 29 Roger 3 ("No ideas")...


One of the most surprising lessons I have learned from five years of editing Archipelago is that:

  • every last one of us
  • at one time or another
  • has been afraid to write
  • anything at all because
  • we simply can't sustain the belief
  • that anything
  • we care enough to write about
  • could possibly be of real interest
  • to anyone else.
Just convincing each one of you to join our little group in the first place was an effort, and every issue since I've had to plea, cajole, and reassure at least one person that his or her voice cards really do matter and really are wanted. All of this makes me feel like a seducer in a room full of lock-kneed virgins.

The truth is that I never met a voice card I didn't like. The essential reason for this is that every voice card is A) revealing and B) unpredictable.

As a writer and a human being, I have always been fascinated by other people. Each one of us is a mobile, self-contained universe teeming with alien life. And the people in this group are, I think, more fascinating than most. We are like one of Suzanne's prize rock collections: a shiny pebble in one corner, one full of scratches and color, next to it a nearly perfect sphere, dark and mysterious, here the lumpy condensation of an ancient fire, and there a rock so strange it might even be from the moon. The contrasts that arise as the rocks are shuffled in their box only heighten the effect. And after five years of tumbling about we have only scratched each other's surfaces.

Who would have guessed that we could argue about lettuce? And when Stuart and Larry bang together: what pretty sparks! And card after card about bowling, of all things. Wonderful stories. Bits of quiet wisdom in unlikely places. Animal lore. Poetry. And in the space between the cards some of us have gotten married, lost friends and fathers, fathered children, changed and changed again. All of it reflected in the facets of a thousand cards.

So what is there to write about? Absolutely anything that ever occurs to you. If it occurs to you in the bathtub or during a long walk, so much the better. And if it occurs to you, goes away, and then reoccurs, rush to your Mac and write it down!

I realize that the process of hammering liquid thoughts into solid words is never easy. It is hard to write a voice card and so I receive each one like a handmade gift. And no matter what the topic I cannot help but to marvel that you took the time to write about it. That in itself is interesting. And even if your topic does not fascinate me, the way you choose to persue it always will.

And so, in conclusion I say: WRITE, DAMN IT! Keep writing! I want more more more! Keep 'em coming! Lots and lots of fat juicy voice cards!

I love 'em.