Monday, February 20, 2012

Message in a Bottle

Anybody out there ever listen to the Police?  I had a thing about Sting in my twenties and seriously had a crush on a guy, despite his lack of interest or even knowledge of my existence, because someone once said he had Sting's nose.  Shallow much?  Fortunately, I've matured.

That said, I still love the music.  The references to Greek mythology and Nabokov.  The vaguely misogynistic creepiness of it all.  The cheerfulness with which they approach such heavy topics as suicide and pedophilia.

Lately, I've been thinking about "Message in a Bottle".  You know how it goes.

Just a castaway, an island lost at sea-oh,
Another lonely day, no one here but me-oh.

Sometimes social networking can feel like this.  Like every Facebook update, every tweet, every blog post is really that message in a bottle, sent out into the void.  Looking for some kind of response.

Woke up this morning, don't believe what I saw,
A hundred million bottles, washed up on the shore.

All those people out there tweeting and blogging and tumbling their little hearts out.  Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, reported in June that 100 million people use Twitter every day.  A hundred million bottles, my friends.  All trying to reach someone.

Why do I bring this up?  Because in a way, a novel is like a big note in a slightly bigger bottle in that ocean.  We all write for the same reasons, whether our messages contain 140 characters or 82,000 words.  We write to be read.  Not just to hear ourselves talk.  (though that can be fun, too, sometimes).  Because any kind of message can be scary to send out there into the world.  Whether you're posting photos of your cat or commenting on the guy next to you on the bus or sticking poems into the fork of a tree branch like Lennie in THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE.  Because you never know what's going to happen when that bottle reaches the sand.

So cheers to all you fearless people out there, sending out your thoughts and feelings and daily cravings.  Sting says, "Seems I'm not alone in being alone."  And I, for one, am glad of it.

Thank you all so much for your comments, for your follows, for your views and your silent readings.  For taking away whatever you find here, whether I know it or not.  But most of all, thank you for your support and enthusiasm for GILT.  That bottle seems like it is such a fragile thing for something that holds my heart and dreams.


  1. Now this blog post deserves a response! It is so comforting to know we are not alone in the universe, and that someone is reading all those messages in a bottle we send out, the big and the small. By the way, is 82,000 the word count for GILT? Seems like a random number otherwise. And I love the allusion to THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE--one of my absolute favorite YA books. Hoping to add GILT to that list soon! (And I kind of still have a crush on Sting. Have you seen how in shape he is? Dude is 60! Okay, looks like I'm a bit shallow too.)

  2. Very fitting analogy! (And oh, how we hope our messages will wash up on a shore and be found instead of winding up in the great floating garbage patch!)

    Great post! (And now I must away to youtube to hear this song again!)

  3. Heh, I started singing it in my head as soon as I saw your post title in my feed. It's a great analogy, Katherine!

  4. We'll be shallow together, Eve. And yes, I think GILT clocks in just above 80K, but I honestly can't remember what the actual word count is!

    Elissa, I, too, hope to avoid the great floating garbage patch.

    And I'm glad I could bring a little more music into your day, Elissa and Beth...