Subtitle #1: The Wrath of King!
Subtitle #2: Naomi Klein is a Jerk
Anyhow, where were we? Ah, yes, the weather. In our last installment of Elitism and the Writer I spoke of the oncoming winter and how speaking of such a thing as a metaphor in a novel is strictly verboten. Today we'll be focusing on another form of behavior control. First, however, let's delve into some pseudo intellectual mumbojumbo.
Behavior control is a facet of sociopolitical ideologies that has existed far beyond our generation. To put it simply: if you control the minds of your people, you control the might of your nation. The same can easily be said for any smaller community. Any intelligent bunch knows that anarchy does not work, that there needs to be some sort of leadership to keep their group moving forward. When people come to power they tend to have ideals and opinions and they seek out those who share such beliefs. Over time these smaller communities become divided - one side agrees on one idea, while the other considers it blasphemous. If you need an example just look up every church in your city.
In regards to our community as a whole, not our forums, behavior control is widely accepted. We often find no disdain in this pathetic display of loathing, choosing instead to revel in the glory of telling others how to live. In our case, we tell others how to write and if, by chance, they disagree with us we become infuriated. That, however, was the topic of the first Elitism and the Writer. Today, we're focusing on the terms of acceptance in general and how they are another form of behavior control.
Christ, I'm sounding like Glenn Beck. Kill me now.
To begin I have a series of questions for you:
1. What does it take to be a writer?
2. What does it mean to be a writer?
3. Can anyone become a writer?
4. If anyone can become a writer, what makes us special?
Alright, have you answered the questions? I hope that you have, otherwise you're skipping ahead, which makes you a jerk. Those questions are all opinion based. They have no definite answers, only guesses. It would be fantastic to come up with the perfect path of becoming a great writer, but in the end it depends entirely on both luck and the ability of said writer. So then, the answer to number three is obvious: Only some can become writers!
...actually, that's crap.
Writers, just as any other community of hobbyists, fancy themselves as special. We like to think we're all original and that our work far exceeds the works of others. If you're a writer and you have no faith in your material then I would seriously question your confidence. The point is, however, we like to assume that only certain people can become writers. Think of it as being a Jedi. In the original trilogy any doofus with a fancy light sword thing could become a Jedi, but in the new trilogy only certain people with funny little bugs could.
Not just any schmuck can be so powerful, we need rules and regulations. It's like this in all communities actually. In most religions if you don't follow a code of laws then you risk eternal damnation or whatever your religion deems to be torturous. I think for the Buddhists its being reborn as a lamb in Scotland. All of this, with perhaps the exception of the whole Jedi stuff, is a form of behavior control. It is a way for the community to enforce their ideologies.
In regards to the writing community, we are so quick to judge whether or not somebody can become a writer. After all, being a writer is a job of eloquence, a job of intelligence and of grace. We sing the stories of heroes, of the men and women who fight for not simply their own people, but for the... blah, blah, blah. We seem to have this idea that we are born this way, that somehow God or whoever your creator is blessed some of us with the magical ability to write...
I have some bad news...
All human beings, with few exceptions, are capable of writing. I know, I know, there is a difference between just writing and writing. Any fool can type a two hundred thousand word science fiction novel about laser swords and homosexual gold-plated robots. It takes a real writer to create a story about zombies that are created via cell phone usage. In case you're wondering that was my Stephen King reference. I'm trying to throw him under the bus at every turn, I figure one day it might actually happen.
I wonder, what is it that makes a good writer? In truth, none of us can come to a decisive answer. Some of us like tension, some of us enjoy good dialogue sessions, and some of us lust after zombies created via cell phone usage. Personally, I'm a fan of P. D. James and Thomas Sowell.
So then how is a writer created? I suppose this is simply my opinion, but it's when somebody who enjoys reading decides to write. There is an idea that seems to permeate the community which says only certain people have the ability to use their imagination. What we fail to realize is that it is a muscle, one that must be exercised to fully benefit from. So then, what else does a writer need? Well, other than an imagination, which we ALL have, they need to have a decent grasp of the English language. Anything else that you can think of? Something tells me that the only thing left is the basic motor, the drive to become a writer.
We are not mystical, God-sent gifts given onto the world to bless with our writing ability. Instead, we're all capable of brilliance and we're all capable of grace. Rather than allowing these self hating fools to force us down, we should refute the very idea that only the best of us can become a writer. Will every writer amongst us be successful? Obviously not, societal trends dictate what is and what is not popular. Still, that doesn't necessarily mean that the work is bad. Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged was barely published and received scathing reviews, yet it's currently one of the most popular books on shelves.
Language itself is an exercise of the mind. It is an admittance of God, a recognition that the creation of life, even if minor, is more valuable than anything else that we can attain. Our ability to enlighten, our ability to radiate a persons mind and help drive them forward is our greatest gift. The ability to write is simply its vessel, one which any fool can grab onto.
You don't need to be a genius to write. How do I know this? Well, I'm a writer.
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