Last evening, over dinner, we spoke about how anyone who wants to be a writer has to be willing to experience life. One must be unafraid to face down one's greatest fears and dredge up one's most hidden secrets, and that's not easy. There has to be an innate curiosity about life - what it is and what the hell are we doing here - and although it sounds paradoxical, one must, at the same time, get one's focus off of oneself, loosen one's biases, and be willing to explore other people's universes.
Henry Miller wrote,
"Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself."That sums it up for me, but then, Miller almost always sums it up for me on most issues.
It's unfortunate and disturbing how many people today choose to live in a narrow world, a world without good music, literature and art, and without experiencing the richness of other cultures and other lifestyles. Thanks to America's corporate feudal system, the necessity of a college education has robbed most young people of the education that comes with travel. Whether it's through something like the Peace Corp or riding a Eurail pass through Europe, there is more to learn out there than what is taught in college, which has, after all, turned into not much more than an expensive trade school. Going to college these days is more about landing a good job than it is about learning, and all specializing is, really, is learning more and more about less and less. To write, one must learn more and more about more and more, and writing from what you know is more important than getting every comma correct.
I hope that things in the world will settle down a bit, that people will begin to live rather than subsist, and that some quality of life will return, especially here in the States. If the current financial crisis can bring us back to what's really important in life, that is, family and friends, good music, literature and art, then it will have been good for us. I hope the days of the diamond encrusted cell phones and designer doggiewear are over. Mostly, I hope that a crop of new, young writers will emerge to tell the stories.