Yesterday, after finishing reading a book from the Air & Space Power Journal , on a lark I decided to see if there were any book reviews of mine published there aside from the one on Space Exploration I had heard about before. As it happened, I saw three other book reviews of mine published there, throughout the course of the last year and a half or so, and so I added those to my scholarly book reviews  last night, and pondered over what it meant. For some time I had read books for them and reviewed them, and no word ever came back from them as far as the book reviews were concerned—I’m not on their mailing list for the review, so I didn’t see if my name was inside of it, but there was no message saying that edits were required, or that the reviews would be published in the next journal, or anything at all. I was reading books, reviewing them in my generally critical but laudatory fashion, and those reviews were being published, but there was no communication at all, just book reviews being sent into a black hole of silence. One of my friends, I told this story, said it was a particularly Nathanish thing to happen. I agree, but I don’t like what that says about the state of communication in my life.
It is my normal task at work to do reports. I pull information from various sources, turn it into excel spreadsheets of various aesthetic appeal, and send those reports to people. Often days, weeks, or even months will go by and I do not know who has read the report, or what they think about the numbers, or even the comments I make to bring specific matters to their attention. Some people are good at sending replies to let me know that they have received the report, or what they noticed, but for the most part I send my reports into a black hole of silence, with very few replies. Sometimes it even happens that I have to re-send reports, because the first time they are sent they are filed into the wrong folder and when they are needed they can no longer be found. Fortunately, I tend to be a bit of a packrat when it comes to saving reports, so it is no big deal to re-send them, forwarded from their original message to show when it was originally sent out, as an appropriate reminder of my own quiet and stealthy diligence, with a wry grin as to the irony that someone as relentlessly communicative as I am should spend so much of my work life in such silence.
Even in my writing I find myself writing into a black hole of silence. In some ways, my own personal writing is a mirror of my professional life, in that I am a relentlessly communicative person in very textual ways, but that for the most part I send out my writing into a silent world. I can look at my blog stats often, which I do, and see that certain posts are being read. I can see the links from what I write shared from time to time, and so I know if the works are appreciated in at least an indirect fashion, but for the most part, aside from a very small group of people, most of what I write is written in silence and goes out in silence, and if it is read, no reply is given, and I do not even know if what is written has been read and understood even remotely correctly. I would not think of myself as being a difficult person to communicate with. I certainly try very hard to communicate and to be empathetic with the concerns of others , but it just appears as if many other people simply have no particular driving interest in communicating with others, or even with sending in those polite little pings that let others know that you are listening and paying attention, that their efforts are noticed and appreciated. It doesn’t take much, but even that little is too much to ask of others.
A few years ago I wrote a play that was based in the Star Wars universe, but that used no canon characters. The play was about a logistics pilot who happened to be a Devaronian who, as a result of malfeasance, had been stranded all alone in a freighter ship deep in space, sending out messages into a black hole of silence, wondering if he would perish all alone in the darkness of the second heaven. In his solitude he did a lot of thinking and a lot of singing, as might be imagined, and the play flashed back to various moments in his life as he reflected on the course of life that led him to depart from his oppressive home planet and seek a better life beyond, while also seeking justice at home. Of course, the play has a happy ending, but most of it is spent in total solitude, with no communication save a man stranded in space communing with his own memories, and his own fears and longings. Why must life be like this? Surely life cannot be so oppressively silent for everyone, right? Surely some people are able to communicate effectively, are they not? And if others can do it, why can’t I?
 See, for example: