ENGAGEMENT…by Bonnie Edwards

The verb engage means to involve someone or to become involved…

As in: engage in conversation, engage in flirtation or even to engage in battle.

Recently my fella and I ran away to Europe for several weeks for the first time. Having never been before, we got lots of tips from experienced travelers. One of those tips was to sit in sidewalk cafés and watch people.

So we did.

We watched old married people, newly-marrieds, dating couples, family groups, flocks of teens and other tourists who watched us back. (the teens were fun! More on that in another post — note to self <write a blog about those kids in Paris and the college boy in Barcelona>)

Paris and Sacre Coeur from below

The people we watched were thoroughly engaged in the moment: involved in conversations, taking part in real social interaction, discussing, enjoying, sharing food, wine, morsels, tastes, and kisses! One couple suddenly stood up, kissed each other then took each other’s seats and meals and switched the view they each had. What fun!

Nowhere did we see people texting, phoning or playing games or watching movies on devices. We saw engagement.

I know that life is different in North America. We’re rushed, indebted, underpaid, unemployed and still trying to pretend we’re not. But perhaps if we became more engaged in the moment, in the meal, in the people with whom we live, perhaps we can forget the rest of it and simply enjoy!

In storytelling what we as writers seek to do is engage the reader…we have many ways of doing that and some of us have mastered them. OH! to engage a reader the way I saw people engaging with each other…this, I think, would make for a bestseller.

Since our return from Europe I’ve fallen back into the habit of checking my email on my device after I’ve shut down my pc for the day. I tell myself I’m only taking a moment…but in truth, I am disengaging: from meal prep, from conversation, from time spent with the man in my life.

It’s early yet for New Year’s resolutions, but I think I’ve found one!

I think I’ll resolve to be engaged!


Article written by

Bonnie Edwards has written romances for Kensington Books, Harlequin Blaze and Carina Press. Check her website for the most up-to-date news, sample chapters and to subscribe to her newsletter. http://www.bonnieedwards.com/

8 Responses

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  1. nightsmusic
    nightsmusic at | | Reply

    Every restaurant I frequent has a table with a family and the kids are either on cell phones keeping busy or they’re watching movies on an iPad. The two problems with that are, 1.) they have no idea how to be comfortable and mannered in public and 2.) there is no engagement at the table between family members! So what is that teaching them?

    It sounds like you had a marvelous time and I’m jealous. 🙂

  2. Bonnie Edwards
    Bonnie Edwards at | | Reply

    It was eye-opening in lots of ways. 7 1/2 weeks traveling and taking in other ways of life.

    Another trend I don’t much care for is screens in back seats for movie or tv viewing. When I drove my children for longer distances, we chatted … yes… and often, they would tell me things I might not otherwise know during busier times.

    things like “Mom, I haven’t been kissed yet…is that normal?” (I had that conversation with BOTH children. LOL)

    Car conversations seem to be discouraged with all the distracting devices being touted these days. It used to be that people wanted to be connected…today they prefer disconnection it seems.

    Truly, I will write about the marvelous groups of teens and young people I saw though. Very cheering!

    So glad you stopped by NM! So very glad!

  3. Gail Whitiker
    Gail Whitiker at | | Reply

    Great post, Bonnie. I think of this whenever I see groups of people out together in a social setting but focussing on their individual devices. In our need to become ‘connected’ we’ve actually become more isolated.

    As far as I’m concerned, when I’m travelling, the only engagement I want is with my surroundings, the people I’m with or meet, and, of course, with that oh-so-decadent piece of French pastry that almost looks too beautiful to eat.


  4. Bonnie Edwards
    Bonnie Edwards at | | Reply

    I do not want to get started on French pastries. Not even started!

  5. EC Sheedy
    EC Sheedy at | | Reply

    Dis-engagement appears unstoppable. 🙁

    About the only thing that will slow it down is the coming zombie apocalypse. It will take no less than that to tear the smart phones from my granddaughters’ sparkle-tipped fingers.

    1. Bonnie Edwards
      Bonnie Edwards at | | Reply

      The coming zombie apocalypse is the ultimate dis-engagement! I mean they are exactly communicating their feelings now are they? And zombies seem to have little reverence for deep and meaningful conversation.

      I think they’re more about eating…

  6. Laura Tobias
    Laura Tobias at | | Reply

    Fun post, Bonnie! And true. I agree with Gail – we’re ‘connecting’ in the cyber world but nothing beats real face-to-face time. With others and with the world around us.

    1. Bonnie Edwards
      Bonnie Edwards at | | Reply

      Laura…I see the cyber world as a way to be informed. But not in touch and certainly not engaged!

      Being in touch is about face to face connection or even about an actual phone conversation.

      I am often informed on FB and on Twitter, but rarely do I make a real connection in the cyber world.

      I miss connecting! I miss face to face luncheons, phone calls and the sound of friends’ voices.

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