I HAVE BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF MUCH DECENCY RECENTLY--
AND IT BOTH WARMS MY HEART—AND MAKES ME WANT TO RESPOND. I HOPE I DO.
I write alone—as is the way of most book writers—not because we are anti-social—but because we need to focus with a very particular level of intensity which doesn’t leave much space for anything else (while we are writing).
When not actually writing, we authors—I’ll have you know—can be quite charming socially. There are exceptions, of course, but most writers I know are thoroughly agreeable people. In the main, they are intelligent, intellectually curious, socially concerned, empathetic, and entertaining.
It helps that most writers are also readers too—so we tend to be well informed. That said, you don’t have to be a reader to be well informed. One of the most knowledgeable and interesting people I have met recently, Alex by name, reads little—because he is dyslexic—but, if something get his attention, he still manages to familiarize himself with it to a level of detail which is downright impressive. I love the written word—but there are other ways to keep informed.
Those who don’t read are not to be looked down upon. They just do things a different way—and they are not necessarily less cerebral either. More often than not, they just tend to apply their brainpower to more practical things—something I rather envy. If ever you get marooned on a desert island, best you be accompanied by someone who can do stuff apart from write.
Can I speak as highly about politicians or corporate executives as I do about writers? I don’t think I can. I’m not claiming here that writers are innately superior—we are as flawed and human as anyone else—but writing is such a tough way to make a living that it is hard to become as indifferent and arrogant as those in many other activities.
Institutions tend to breed arrogance. When wearing an institutional mantle, all too many people tend to feel less vulnerable and superior—and act accordingly.
The fact that I write alone does not mean that I, solely, deserve the credit (or blame) for what I write. In fact, the only reason that I can do what I do is that I receive considerable assistance, from all kinds of people along the way.
I am a real believer in the concept that no one does anything worthwhile alone. We are all dependent, in some way or other, on others. I am not a believer in rugged individualism. Of course, one should endeavor to be as self-reliant as possible—but the concept of community is extraordinarily important.
Here, I am not talking about moral support—which is also much needed—but about the kind of decent behavior from ordinary people that lubricates life and enhances its quality. There is much of it about—though clearly not at the top.
That is a thought worth pondering.
Why do we tolerate it to the extent we do? Or are we so manipulated that we don’t really have choice?
VOR words 501