Writer’s Notes: 26 Jan 09
Winter Slush Advisory
The air mass coming our way promises only wetness and disruption–not a winter scene tomorrow and Wednesday that you’ll ever see on a Currier and Ives Cookie Tin cover. No, Somehow soggy draft horses pulling a sleigh full of forlorn rain-slickered sufferers through the icy mud just isn’t going to elicit the excitement that winter storms once did. These days for us, they mostly mean ice.
Around the Writer’s Block
I’m having trouble chosing a topic for February pieces for Floyd Press and Star Sentinel. From column to column over time, I try to balance local with global, serious with frivolous, and science with folk opinion. But at this point in time, I feel the need to produce happy talk. Lord knows, we need our burdens lifted for a three-minute read about something other than the problems we face. And yet, if we ignore the cultural entropy before us, it is not going to go away. How can I foster hope even while telling the straight story as I see it?
How I See It
I’ve read James Howard Kunstler’s columns in Orion now for literally decades. He is an articulate curmudgeon not afraid to stare the beast in the eye–the very beast I first came upon in 1970. We should have dismounted then; it carried us too fast too far in the wrong direction. We found the saddle too comfortable. Now we’ve got a long walk ahead of us. He tells the story in “the Long Emergency“. He talks about the book’s subject matter in this 69 minute video recording. I’d be willing to bet not a one of you will watch it all the way through. You really really should.
Roanoke Regional Writers Conference: Debriefing
I attended Keith Ferrell’s session on technology and writing (and several other sessions.) His bottom line: the greatest technology for the craft is the alphabet and language; they are being abandoned to video and a general erosion of reading and language-dependent reasoning and communication skills. Librarians in the audience had positive things to say about information technology; but for too many of us, the web and related technologies represent “the opiate of the masses.”
Back to the writer’s block: I did a good bit of research last week towards a column on the current state of endocrine disruptors in the environment. Way too geeky, too depressing. Don’t look, Ethel. So what I need is another venue for that kind of longer piece. Hmmm. If you care to take a peek, here’s a recent update from the popular press about the issue for humans and wildlife. The bottom line: the male gender is at risk. This seems to me somewhat significant, a matter about which we should know so as to demand an end to feminizing substances in plastics, in animal feed additives and in our waterways and foods. Nah.
I apologize for the kibbles and bits writing of late. I find I have lost touch with the vastly changed readership and with blogging in general. My camera has had way too long a rest. And I’ll confess the political and cultural global milieu of late makes blog chatter seem somehow a grand frittering away of time that should be spent doing something more important. And yet, this is writing, is using that technology we stand at risk of losing. The blog represents my morning pages. Sometimes it seems worth sharing. And when it doesn’t, I hit PUBLISH anyway. I appreciate your indulgence, dear reader who stumbled down this dirt road from a google search.