Whether in person or via social media, I can’t help but hear a common refrain of late. Similar discussions all related to media pieces that focus on silly distractions and spectacle created purposefully to keep people from focusing on the real issues at hand. I want to suggest that within that very refrain, while the “real issues” vary, there is a hidden point that we as writers should consider heeding.
Don’t worry, this blog post is not political. This post is not red, blue, right, or left. I suppose some will argue with me and suggest I’m an idiot, and you’re probably right there, but hear me out. We are writers and our job is to create art. Yes, the act of writing and creating art can be political, and yes, to all those cries of resisting and rising and hell, throw in some revolution! Writers and artists have played an important role throughout our history; however, I might argue that never before have we had so much access to so much content, or so many pressing and troublesome issues heaped upon us daily.
The last thing I want to do is diminish those writers alive during other great struggles, but those writers didn’t have at their very fingertips the voices and passion and struggles and woes of millions. They couldn’t call up their own favorite writers in seconds and read the last social media post. In some cases they had to go read hand printed flyers off of actual wooden damn posts! Wooden! And they had to stand!
Forget about standing. I can sit, on my ass, in my rocking chair, beside my crackling woodstove, beverage of choice in hand, and in seconds be scrolling through the non-wooden posts of so many of my writer friends. Some of them (I won’t point any digital fingers) are damn fine artists, and I respect their work and their political passions and love them with all my being, but some of them (and I won’t attempt to draw their individual faces by emoticon either) should be spending more of their time doing that art of theirs that I love so much.
There. I said it. That’s the point I think we need to heed. I am not saying don’t be an activist. I’m not saying lose that passion. What I’m saying is as much a reminder to myself as a message to anyone who actually read this far (thanks, Mom and maybe Kris Farmen!). Really, none of you should have read this far! You should have been creating your art. That is a second point, I threw in for free.
The distractions. The intrigue. The nonstop: Pressure. Concern. Angst. Fear. All of that is not something that is easily ignored, but it can easily distract.
Set status to “writing.”
And, if you have to, tune-out.
At least long enough to use some of that pressure, concern, angst, and fear to make great art.
I’ll be there to “like” it when you do.
Don Rearden did write this piece, but he honestly doesn’t have time to write his own bio for this blog post because he’s too busy promoting his new book Never Quit; however, Kris Farmen the novelist, historian, and freelance journalist who splits his time between Anchorage and Homer thinks Don Rearden’s serious opinion pieces are actually funny. Despite not fully understanding the complexity of Don’s very nuanced blog posts, Kris has written some damn fine books including Turn Again, The Devil’s Share, and Blue Ticket.
Don’t miss former 49 Writers board president Don Rearden, author Brian Castner, and current board VP Matthew Komatsu together on Sunday, March 12, 2017 in Anchorage for our next Crosscurrents event, 6:30 doors, 7 pm start, 49th State Brewing Co. Barrel Room East. Facebook event