The Purpose of a Writer…

This is one of my favorite #writing quotes:

Civilization

One of the stories trending on Twitter right now is The Matrix. That, in fact, it is a trans allegory. My transwoman bestie had told me that a while back. But today the director Lilly Wachowski confirmed that.

Obviously, my Trouble Texas Style tests that belief to the limits. I am taking on some sacred cows ripped straight from the headlines:

  • Corporate corruption
  • Rape trauma/#metoo
  • Human trafficking including sexual exploitation of women and children
  • And yes, the elephant in the room, racism.

And I am just getting started.

What you may not know is that it took almost a week to get the first chapter of Ready to Run approved. I know that was not an easy decision for Laurel or Manu. But one that I respect and appreciate.

And overall, the reactions from readers have been incredibly supportive and positive. I have only gotten a couple of ‘those’ emails. But one of them stuck with me…

The topics don’t offend me – what is offensive is you are probably going to push your ideology in the story…

I read the stories for entertainment – and you write some great stories.  Please don’t get on a platform to push your political firestorms.  We all have our beliefs and don’t need to be indoctrinated by your beliefs while reading your story.

What left me ‘gobsmacked,’ as they say here in the UK, is that I have been doing just that for years.

Sergeant Mike’s Miracle tour is not simply about the way we treat our veterans, but about finding hope. And might I point out…it, too, deals with racism, especially in small-town America.

Ægir’s/Njörδur’s goes on ad nauseam about the ills of modernity and the value of a simpler lifestyle.

My Apocalypse series (The Arrangement/Solid Ground and Rings of Fire) are about the environment.

And Nothing Done In Love can ever be wrong? That is too obvious to even address.

As Alan and I discussed when I got that email, even simplistic wank-fodder has a message – that there is nothing wrong with sex or a specific act.

With this one, in particular, I was not certain whether to be disappointed or complimented. Obviously, this person has read my other stories and enjoyed them. How could they have missed the messages in those?

As for indoctrinating, I am against that. Period. Full stop.

The purpose of a writer is to raise questions, to encourage civil debate, and especially to foster self-reflection. And a good writer does all that while entertaining. Maybe a great one does it without you even knowing it?

Not that I am claiming to be either good or especially great.

Nor do I claim moral superiority. We are all flawed and prejudiced. I am, too.

What I do resent though is the assertion that I am forcing anything on anyone. No one makes you read my stories.

I got that from the only other one of ‘those’ emails that began obviously with the words, ‘I’m not a racist.’ But then went on and on about how wrong my portrayal of Will was. How black men don’t take care of their women or children.

News flash – my WHITE sperm donor abandoned his children, paid child support only a handful of times in eighteen years, and made no attempt to see us. And how many rich, white men fight to reduce the child support they owe?

Off my soapbox now…and back to the point…

This person was angry that I entwined an interracial love story with the others. That they could not read Trouble Texas Style without also reading Ready To Run. I am not certain I would agree with that.

I don’t want this blog to sound like a broken record. But this is another of my favorite quotes:

“Better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self.” Cyril Connolly, The New Statesman, February 25, 1933

The truth is that from the Epic of Gilgamesh to Homer’s Odyssey to Shakespeare’s Macbeth to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin right down to Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, writers have messages.

Some writers may not even be aware they have. I was not when I first started writing. In fact, this is another of my favorite quotes:

Didion Dunne

So, please don’t think I’m preaching or trying to force my idealogy on anyone. I’m not. I am merely a fellow traveler on this path we call life. Writing is one of the ways that I discover who I am and what I believe. It is merely that I share those journeys a bit more publically than most.

Okay, time to get off here and go have a conversation with two other mothers…in my head. So I can transcribe that all for you in the next chapter of Tight Fittin’ Jeans.

Goddess bless and enlighten us all…before it’s too late,
Tara  

 

3 thoughts on “The Purpose of a Writer…

  1. I have fallen in love with your writing. Small minded people should take a pill and get off their high minded attitude. The USA is going through a social crisis that the white supremacist would love to hide again. I can’t believe how divide my country has become. Please share you gift. I think the Texas stories could actually be published in a book which I would buy. Please don’t think the Neanderthals Speak for everyone. I get completely caught up in your characters and can’t wait for new chapters. Thank you for introducing love and respect are key to a really good relationship.

    Ps. I’m glad you found love and are happy.

  2. Thank you, Wendy. I needed that. When I began this series, and especially when started to shout in my head, I knew things would be dicey.

    But what has happened today goes beyond that. I will be taking a break and try to recover.

    Yes, love and respect is the key and it knows no gender, sex, or race. But we have to feel safe in order to express that. Within personal relationships or as writers.

    In the meantime, please continue to follow the blog as it is likely these stories will appear here first.

  3. I wrote in another comment that I don’t think it is possible to write without showing your agenda. You say in your response to Wendy, “Love and respect is the key and it knows no gender, sex or race” That is an agenda, and it is an agenda that I am proud to agree with.

    I used to say that I wasn’t racist until I realized that as an American citizen racism is a part of my social indoctrination. In this day of required facial masks I love the fact that hiding the lower nose and mouth emphasizes the eyes, and there are so many beautiful sets of eyes. I am racist because one of the first things I notice is a person’s skin color. I am sexist because one of the first things I notice is the gender of a person. I am ageist because one of the first things I notice is the age of the person. I am (I don’t know the word for this) because one of the first things I notice is how the person holds themself.

    Learning that a person is black, or a woman, or young or beautiful doesn’t mean much. It doesn’t mean that they are a nice person of not. It doesn’t mean much of anything in my book. Learning to deal with what they are is a lot more important than my racism, sexism, etc.

    When I was a kid, my best friend was really into sports. She had to be the best on the best team. I said something that I didn’t understand at the time, something about dividing the world into teams: us vs. them. I recognize her need to be the best had nothing to do with us vs. them, but I also realized that the world seemed comfortable with there being an “us” and there being a “them.”

    I don’t see the need.

    I do see the need for love and respect. I see the love and respect in your stories. I transfer that to the person I think you are. Right now I think you need love, respect and comfort. Tell the man in your life that I, a complete stranger to him, is asking a favor of him to give you that comfort. He already loves and respects you.

    So with this I once again thank you for all the wonderful reading I have enjoyed and send to you electronic hugs and support. You deserve them.

    RRC2/Art

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