Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 20 2014: It appears that some things are very hard to explain

“It's hard to explain and best thing to do is not be false.”
Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

Three of the attributes of being a writer are curiosity, empathy, and imagination. As a consequence, I tend to be aware of most human activities, can understand their appeal—or lack of same—and can relate to them, if only through my imagination. For instance, I don’t do either pilates or yoga—but have totally positive feelings towards people who do—and am quite happy to listen to people talk about these subjects, if they are so inclined.

I feel much the same about people who collect snakes, jump out of perfectly good airplanes, rob banks—and so on. I might not do these things, or want to, but I understand their appeal, and, even more than that, I’m interested.

Why not? As far as a writer is concerned, just about everything might be raw material. Also, people talking about their preoccupations can often be fascinating, not to say amusing—even if they dislike the activity in question. Specially if they disklike the activity in question.

My weakest area is sports—perhaps as a reaction to compulsory sports at school. However, even though I don’t follow any sport in any way, I understand their appeal—and will even talk sports (if a gun is put to my head).

In truth, now I think about it, I may have an even weaker area—and that is cards and other board games. Nonetheless, even here I confess a weakness for both chess and checkers—though I don’t play either any more. There are just so many hours in the day, and writing is both demanding and time-consuming.

I would like to think that other people could sympathize with my interests—with reading and writing in particular—but I have found both near impossible to explain regardless of the approach I have used.

Let me tell you, such failures are frustrating to a professional communicator—but I will freely confess that I cannot get through to non-readers and non-writers, where reading and writing are concerned.

I might be inclined to feel really bad about this situation—but I rather like the Catch-22 element. The primary way I communicate is through the written word which, by definition, the non-reader won’t read.

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