“Every compulsion is put on writers to become safe, polite, obedient, and sterile.”
– Sinclair Lewis
We as writers are repeatedly counseled to monitor our social media presence, chastened to be cautious of expressing opinions on topics that could be divisive, urged to be careful not to alienate potential readers. Unless you’ve already arrived on the best-seller lists and made a name for yourself. Then all bets are off and you can pretty much say whatever the hell you want. Otherwise, follow the “rules,” toe the line, button the lip…
Which leaves me even more frustrated than I was when I first wrote the post/read the article/heard the news. Feeling even more helpless and ineffective.
Which feeds the relentless cycle of anger and futility that leads to so many of societal issues to begin with – because we can’t/won’t talk about them calmly, rationally. Or because we might offend someone.
If being a writer means I have to bottle up my emotional reactions – a destructive habit I’ve tried so hard to overcome in my constant battle with chronic depression (anger turned inward, so I’ve been told), then maybe my recent extended bout of writer’s block is trying to tell me to walk away from the literary circus for my own health and well-being.
Writing a nemesis into a novel and killing them off (a crime writer’s mainstay) doesn’t cut it for the overwhelming injustices of today’s society. Must I continue to deny my self in order to keep imaginary – maybe nonexistent! – readers happy? How is that being authentic, bringing truth to the page?
So as I’ve noted on my new home page (relocated): enough is enough. Time to take a stand, to speak out, to make my voice heard. Some will be offended, and I’m sorry; that’s not my intent. My intent is to “speak truth to power,” to counter the flood of #alternativefacts and to encourage rational, fact-based debate about important topics.
I hope you’ll join me.