Name:
Location: Cheshire, Connecticut, United States

devilishly handsome, screamingly funny, overly modest

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Why Am I Doing This?

In the last year and a half, I've made a bunch of life-changing decisions to make a place in my life for creative writing. I've entered a Masters program at Trinity College, written a few pretty good articles, and, of course, am writing this blog. Although I've definitely felt compelled to make all these alterations in my daily life, I couldn't really have told you why I have the compulsion. Until today.

It's not that I haven't written before. I've recounted in a previous post how I won a short story contest run by Playboy Magazine when at Yale, and published some stuff in the Evergreen Review around that time. I also included in that post my failed attempt to write a novel (perhaps the Great American one) while off in the Muir woods with my girlfriend. (I was sabotaged by raging hormones at that time). I've done some political speech-writing, written multitudinous work-related documents (for myself and virtually everyone else in my office), and penned a few newspaper articles. But none of that explains why there is suddenly a gap in my life that needs filling.

Today, however I read an essay in the NY Times Book Review section that jarred my somewhat somnolent mind into some insight. Maureen Freely, writing about the prosecution of writers in Turkey who have been criticizing their state's revisionist view of genuinely abhorrent historical events (ethnic cleansing, for example), came up with the following comment: "During the 70's, 80's, and 90's, so many writers, journalists, and scholars were imprisoned for their views that a prosecution became a badge of honor: if you had not yet angered the state, then perhaps you hadn't said anything of importance".

I immediately reacted (and related) strongly to that statement. I remembered how my emotional juices had flowed in the 60's , manning the ramparts in the battle against the government's attacks on civil liberties and the foisting of an unpopular war on the too-slowly awakening public. Sound familar? I want to reawaken my feelings about injustice. I want to remember how RIGHT I felt being shot at in Mississippi and dragged from the Admin building in Berkeley. I want to prick the balloon of the smug right-wing SOBs who think that things are just fine as they are ("let 'em eat cake" syndrome). I want to trash the Joe Lieberman's of the world who think that they have some secret knowledge (which they don't share) that justifies the horrific actions of the current administration, leading to the murdering of our troops trying to police a civil war that has not been stopped for hundreds of years. Enough, I think I've made my position clear.

So there it is. My mission is to expose harmful imbedded arrogance and pomposity in our society both on a macro scale (governmental), and a micro scale (my own social experiences). My weapons of choice are ironic humor and indignation, in roughly equal measure. My models range from Mark Twain to Will Rogers to Bart Simpson. If successful, I can bring some balance to my own life and maybe influence a few around me. My measure of the significance of what I write is whether what I say "angers the state" or at least ticks off the pompous and the arrogant.

You know , maybe I'd just like to tick a few of those people off, period.

Later.

2 Comments:

Anonymous colleen said...

Way to go Bill for finding the fire beneath you, for your burning passion to speak truth to power.

Funny though, I started my blog to get away from that kind of writing. I had spent the last few years writing many political commentaries and marching in peace parades to protest this phony war, and I was burned out.

The blog was a way to have some fun, develop my writing skills, and see where it all would lead.

For whatever the reason we blog, I know this: When we share what we do with others, it grows larger in us.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous blue girl said...

You go, Papa Bill!

5:55 AM  

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