Month by month, it’s becoming harder and harder for me to write — anything. I’m not written out, not with WIPs that still entice me to finish them. Not with new ideas steadily percolating. Not with the world bursting into flame everywhere I look. But it’s a good day when I write a couple of hundred words. It’s about relevance — the place you come to one day and say “What’s the point?”
A recent article in The Daily Beast asked “Are We Distracting Ourselves to Death?” That instantly reminded me of a book written by Neil Postman thirty years ago: Amusing Ourselves to Death. The answer to the Daily Beast’s question is, of course, yes. It’s just a replay of Postman’s book. I read over a dozen news sources, including independent and international, so I have a pretty good picture of what’s taking place in the world — the trends and patterns of international politics and how the average person views what’s going on. And the only possible conclusion I can come to about the value of writing anything is that it’s an exercise in futility, unless you write purely for the income.
I’ve never spent much time on social media, and have less and less motivation to do what little “promotion” I’ve been capable of. The effort is just too great for too little return. What difference does it make if 25 people sign up for my prison blog? The only people who will do that are already interested in the topic, and they are perfectly capable of getting the same information elsewhere, from dozens of sources. What difference does it make that I write novels exploring moral issues? The few people who buy and read them, are far more interested in the emotional issues of the characters. Give your reader someone they can cry over, and the rest of the content hardly matters.
I’m not so much bitter as realistic and very, very tired. I’m tired of reading about the dangers the human race is facing, and the overwhelming indifference and sheer denial of most individuals. I’m tired of living in a country that bills itself the champion of human rights and freedom, and that grips the rest of the world ever tighter in its fist, with military bases everywhere, and the ability to deal remote-controlled death wherever it wishes. The people of the United States have been conquered in an almost bloodless coup (unless you happen to be poor and/or black), and are now living in a military/corporate regime that is the real power behind the presidency.
But none of that matters because what the beautiful people are wearing is far more important, along with the pity parties that are becoming standard fare, as everyone moans publicly about their bad marriage, unhappy childhoods, their unappreciated books, etc., etc. Studies have shown that news items about abused pets or babies draw far more interest than stories about villages being wiped out, whether by nature or bombs, or about horrible injustices that take place daily. I don’t find that at all surprising.
Believe any of that, or not. I really don’t care. This post is just about how I feel, not an attempt to influence anyone.