Posted by: Kathleen Mix | October 19, 2012

Speaking to Strangers

When I was growing up, my mother frequently warned me not to talk to strangers. I was a shy child, and happily took her instructions to heart. Whenever a stranger was near, I faded into the background, hoping not to be seen or heard.
Over the years, I slowly outgrew my shyness. And since I started writing, I’ve grossly ignored my mother’s advice. First through non-fiction articles, and later through my fiction, I’ve indirectly spoken to untold numbers of readers, telling them my stories, giving them a peek at who I am inside. My six published books alone total more than half a million words, an impressive total for someone who used to stumble for something to say and beat a hasty retreat after the first hello.
In the course of promoting my books, I’ve given workshops and speeches to hundreds of writers, librarians, and civic groups. Before I walked into those speaking venues, the people in the audience were strangers. After I spoke, the ice was broken and the informal words could flow.
Social media has made talking to strangers an everyday occurrence. When someone follows me on Twitter (@kathleenmix), following them back can be the beginning of a extended conversation. Facebook and this blog have allowed me to share thoughts and impressions with strangers who slowly have become friends.
Over the years, I’ve discovered I enjoy talking to strangers. My Mom’s advice was appropriate when I was six, but today I enthusiastically speak to everyone I meet and love communicating through the written word. Whenever I get the chance, I speak with old friends, new friends, and soon-to-be-friends who, only for the moment, are strangers.
My message for today? Hello, Stranger! Lets talk and be friends.


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