Sunday, March 2, 2014

Having Written

A famous writer once said that writing is "easy."  He went on to say that you just "sit down at the typewriter (change that to keyboard now) and wait until blood comes out of your forehead."  I've seen the quote attributed to a few people, and in a few different ways, but the first time I saw it was next to the great sports writer, Red Smith's name. Hemingway is high on the list too.  His version says you just bleed. No matter; lots of writers agree with the sentiment.
I don't think I've ever littered my keyboard with blood.  Lots of other things, though.  It's dangerous to eat while you write, but we all do it, don't we?
The quote that I think most writers would agree on goes something like this:  "I hate writing, but I love having written."  Again, this little thought finds it's way alongside a few names, but is generally associated with Dorothy Parker.  So what's the message, that writing is torture?  That we like to bask in the light of having gone through something torturous so that we can focus on the praise and adulation that can result?  Probably.  But how often does that payoff arrive, and for whom?
Best to enjoy the process.  If the writer can look forward to the writing, in my view, all these quotes, mislabeled or not become irrelevant.  Either way, it's work.  Like all work, it takes effort and time...for most.

Somewhere on my desk is a small slip of paper with some notes about what might make a good blog post.   An idea goes through my brain, then fades, only to resurface momentarily until I either make it a reality or forget it altogether.  What's more fun and I submit more worthwhile is to combine two or more ideas.  Find the similarities or significance of two seemingly unrelated events, people, or instances and go from there.  Case in point: I daily familiarize myself with the attempt to corporatize and compromise the institution of the public school.  Along the way I find that the same media manipulation and misguided agenda applies to everything from the health care debacle to the demise of labor unions, to the fact that people in this country have lost control of where their food comes from and where and how their clothing is made.  Even more difficult to swallow if the fact that many people just don't care.  At least that's the impression they give.  That's why we have schools.  It follows that it is also the reason a strong system of public education is vital to a democracy.  Here's the rub.  We need leadership to insure we go in the right direction.  But who is attracted to that role?  Only a certain personality type that appears to be made of equal parts of altruism and psychopathology.   That's enough to make yo bleed at the keyboard.

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