The problem is that everybody and their brother and their sister thinks that they’re a writer. So I’ competing for air time with the like of that fellow in my writing group who is writing about his ongoing (and it is ongoing) conversation with a tree. The tree is an Ent, a Tolkien character, but nevertheless, still a tree.
This fellow has no scruples when it comes to his audience. And therefore, his refusal to revise his work is doing this audience a disservice. Audience – there is, first of all, those in his immediate audience, which is those like me who cannot for the life of us figure out what he’s getting at. This is because the voice of the tree and the voice of the narrator are one and the same. And there are those in his publication audience (agents included) who when they give him an obligatory nod, take time away from those of us who have taken the time to revise our work.
So onward and upward with the arts.
And yet another rant: Today Pete and I ran into a neighbor who was heading home. He was driving the family mini-van. We immediately started talking about the weather, the implication being that the unusually warm temperatures are due to climate change. His take on the matter made itself apparent in a single statement, which was that “this is the new normal.” I said to him that this was a cliché, and then added “the reality is that future generations are screwed!” The father of two pretended like he didn’t hear me – and instead continued to play around with the words “normal” and “abnormal.” Indeed, I thought, language is a virus – we humans are adept at using it when attempting to deny things that are oftentimes quite significant.
I later realized the full import of my statement. Neighbor has two kids. Other neighbor has seven kids. Visiting neighbor has nine kids. No one, even the most astute of individuals (and the car driver considers himself to be more astute than any of us) sees that having kids in this day and age is an act of irresponsibility. I mean, here we are – the oceans are said to be dying – hanging out in our now fouled nest. We’re going to leave the next generation a mess so large that they’ll never be able to clean it up. Heck, there is a mass of plastic in the Pacific that’s as large as the state of Rhode Island. And no one knows what to do about it. By the time the neighbor’s kid is a teenager, that mass will be the size of Texas. This is really unfair. But you can’t tell people not to breed because they feel that this is their dog given right.
If, say, the guy writing about trees took his writing task seriously, he might actually get someone to think about trees and their very important role in the ecosystem. His, in fact could end up being a very important book, which is one that might guide the thinking of future generations. For sure, this is a long shot because this dude is never going to care enough about this work to revise it. At least he is a good example for me to draw upon in writing about the effect that short sighted individuals have upon others.
Next: 64. 3/6/15: A Conversation with Jokla