|Should I have said it? (photo by Betty)|
If you really thought that I wouldn't be posting on my birthday then maybe you didn't get your wish when you blew out your last birthday cake candles. For some of you, my blog posts might be like the proverbial bad nickel (it used to be a penny, but, you know, inflation and all). Hard to keep a blowhard blogger quiet when there's always something to say even if it is my birthday. And if you're wondering about my age then I'll just say it's a palindromic number that is one numeral shy of being the favorite number of those who don't particularly like the Christian ideology.
And that is the lead-in for the topic of not only my next Battle of the Bands post coming on Wednesday, but also my topic for my February edition of...
The Insecure Writer's Support Group
Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog.
This month I'll address the same question that others of you will be discussing along with some expanded thoughts:
How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?
About the same time I became a more serious reader back in the mid-sixties when I was in middle school, I also began to experiment more with writing. As the years of schooling progressed, more writing was required in many of the classes I took and more reading was required as well. The curriculum required the reading and study of certain classics and we were encouraged to read according to our interests. Book reports, essay writing, and research for required projects entailed reading and more writing, none of which bothered me much since I enjoyed doing both. For me, reading good writing makes me want to write, maybe something as good as what I've read, or maybe just write whatever fulfills me the most written in the best way I can manage writing it.
Certainly, reading is a means of escape for me, however I want to read things that I would like to have written. Fantasy as well as fantastical science fiction is not where my writing interests lie any longer so therefore I don't read much in those genres. Most of my fiction writing throughout the years has been feet-on-the-ground types of stories to which I can relate. More often than not, the reading that inspires me most is in non-fiction genres. My reading experiences now will be escapes into the realities that others have experienced which in turn adds to my own life experience.
Good fiction can also do this for me, but I want to believe what I read while at the same time to not be distracted by such nonsense as explicitly written sex scenes or profuse profanity. Sure, those things are part of real life experience, but rarely does elaborating on any of this actually enhance the value of a story being told. This is not what I would write and likewise not something I care to read any more than I'd want to read intensely accurate descriptions of any bodily functions or extended passages of small talk that goes far beyond character development or whatever literary device is being attempted.
Call me a prude or whatever, unnecessary description or dialog of a prurient nature is offensively distracting to me. If I'm going to be offended then I want to be offended with ideas that rouse my mind to work in higher levels of reasoning and counterargument. Light reading has its place for any of us, but profanity for me is not lighthearted fun or escapism. The vilest and most frightening characters in literature scare us more with their intellect than their stupidity and their baseness. Reading my favorite authors like Flannery O'Connor or Cormac McCarthy has introduced me to some of the creepiest folks around and they spoke nary a profane word.
Writing profanity or explicit sex scenes is not something with which I feel comfortable and this attitude goes hand in hand with my reading. If I'm out to offend people--and this is not something that I necessarily strive to do--then I can write about topical political themes that upset readers or discuss religious and ideological concepts that can absolutely rile those who bitterly reject such things. Of late, I've apparently been doing this as I see certain of my posts with a decline in the number of comments. I do have a consolation in more thoughtful comments and some lengthier ongoing discussion so there is a trade off in that respect. Should I ever consider writing fiction along these thematic lines? I have, but then also nothing I have written has been published nor have I tried to get them published--at least not since the short stories that I submitted to publications in my college days many years ago which all got rejected. Must have been at least partly something I said.
Truth is that just like I don't particularly read content that offends or distracts me to no good purpose, certain readers may not want to read many of the things I want to say. I know my writing does have an audience, but it also will have its detractors. The question arises of how can I get a point across effectively if I'm only preaching to the choir while arguing with the rear ends of horses as they run away from me.
Okay, so I posted this Insecure Writer's Support Group post a couple days early. It's my birthday and it's my blog so I can kind of do what I want. Besides, I didn't want my next post on Wednesday to be overly long because it probably will be so anyway. I'll continue in a sense with this current post as I present a Battle of the Bands song that will be so offensive to some that I won't even name it in my post's title like I normally would. After all, a lot of people these days are mighty touchy--irrationally touchy even.
If you want to hear more about what I'm talking about then be sure to come back for Wednesday's post. And if not, I hope you at least come back to listen with an open mind to a song with a style that some of you probably won't like much and about a topic that might be a turn off to others. After a lot of my recent posts the song was just something that came to my mind so I felt like maybe I should say it.
Besides bad writing, what are some things that will make you less likely to finish a book that you've started reading? Can you think of any superior quality up-lifting or mind enriching literature that relies heavily on profanity or explicit sex scenes? How old do you think I am based on my clue provided in the opening statement?