The last couple of weeks I’ve experienced one of those weird cosmic convergences that makes me think I need to pay attention.
First there were two amazing blogs by the Social Network Ninja, Kristen Lamb. Bravely, Ms. Lamb took us places the rest of us where afraid to go. The first was about Empathetic Correctness and how this new phenomenon could seriously hurt writers. The second was about Diversity, and just how strained connection has become. Lots to make all of us think here. I have been a fan of Ms. Lamb for years, and she always has good information. These two, though, they hit home.
Secondly, I read Stephen King’s On Writing. Again. I love this book and in all honesty, I was hoping the words would do the magic they always have before—make me eager to go write. After the last few months, I needed a kick in the pants. As usual, Mr. King stepped up to the plate. Though written in 2000, the words fit today’s PC environment, “…writing fiction in America as we enter the twenty-first century is no job for intellectual cowards. There are lots of would-be censors out there, and although they may have different agendas, they all want basically the same thing: for you to see the world they see…or at least shut up about what you do see that’s different.” Food for thought.
Third, is the death of the brave and amazing writer Maya Angelou. She used the pen to speak out at a time few dared, and continued to write courageously until her death May 28. The world lost a truly awesome woman.
So, little me, sitting here at my desk, trying to decide if I really need to use the f-word in my current manuscript, and wondering if I have the kind of courage to be the writer I have the capability to be. I know I hold back, and not just from profanity. Many times I won’t let myself go deeply into the world in my head, the world where the good stuff is.
Writer or not, we all need to think. Being led along by sound bites and the ravings of those sensors Mr. King spoke of could well mean the end of freedom as we understand it. If we PC everything, then we won’t have words to tell the honest truth anymore. We can look away and pretend bad things don’t happen. Will the bad stuff go away then? I don’t think so. I think bad will go to terrible, and we won’t be able to tell the truth about it. And that will be the end of freedom.
Lots to think about.