The Role Of A Writer

Last evening, I dined alone. I chose to go Italian, Waitrose style. I decided as well to enjoy a sorta famous Bogart film too… a reminder also that nobility can indeed exist in “this crazy world”:

[Photos by me, 2018.]

Which led me into considering where we are. I wasn’t going to post today. But I feel I want to note this.

I do so especially because of what we have been seeing particularly coming out of our United States.

There has never been a time anywhere of unbridled tranquility. The world swirls around us as individuals. That has always been so…

[Excerpt from Conventions: The Garden At Paris. Paperback. Click to expand.]

If you visit here regularly, you know I do not spend a great deal of time discussing the ever-shifting political currents of the world. Chances are some of my personal opinions would not be shared by at least a few of you. However, I feel you are entitled to know also that in my small circle in which we discuss issues of the day now and then that I try always to understand others’ points of view without reflexively labeling anyone with whom I disagree either another H*tler or a dirty commie.

If you want “hot takes” on contentious, headline-grabbing issues in the U.S., or anywhere else, there is no shortage of other places to go online to read them. You know where they are. I’d rather not produce posts that will succeed only in alienating some of you and achieve nothing else.

Your interest in current events likely much depends on your own geographic location. Many of you I know have never visited the United States of America. Regardless you may still be interested in what people there may think, or may have thought (perhaps passionately), especially behind closed doors…

[Excerpt from Distances: Atlantic Lives, 1996-1997. Paperback. Click to expand.]

Measuring our words, and also being cautious about what we share with others, is now more important than previously. The internet is immediate; falsehood and ignorance is spread – even unwittingly – now quicker than before. (For instance, the internet is awash with false Thomas Jefferson quotes manipulated to suit political biases.) Nonsense scribbled in a newspaper a century ago did not zoom around the world in seconds.

Where does all of that leave a fiction writer? Do you 1) owe something to morality and eternity? Or 2) are you merely to produce escapism, allowing readers’ burdened minds to drift away from reality for a time?

I believe fiction writers should aim at something of both. I hold to the idea as well that as writers we should write about what we know and allow readers to make up their own minds. What’s the point to writing, really, if writers don’t aim at least partly to try to keep us readers thinking?…

[Sneak peek from Tomorrow The Grace. Click to enlarge.]

Humanity will always be beset with problems. Our ancestors faced theirs the best they could, but invariably always left the world with much unfinished, or having made perhaps terrible mistakes. Undoubtedly we shall find ourselves doing much the same, as will all of those who will follow us.

Certainly it isn’t easy to do so if, for example, someone with a gun is threatening to kill you, and you have a brief window of opportunity to smash him over the head with a brick. But those moments are thankfully rare. That said, the best way to approach any of our lifetimes’ troubles – and particularly if we find momentarily that we have virtually unlimited power over someone else’s destiny – is always to pause, take a deep breath, and begin by remembering this simple saying: “Do to others what you want them to do to you.”

2 replies »

  1. Bless you for writing this. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, a handful of friends and I were just discussing the importance of respecting the beliefs of others and the importance of keeping friends and not casting them aside willy-nilly for their opinions. Do unto others indeed. πŸ™‚

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