Sunday, June 8, 2014

Too Shy To Scream

I am watching Oprah's Super Soul Sunday with John Mackey of Whole Foods. He quotes Mark Twain, who said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you realize why." I am 64 years old, obscure and relatively unknown, narrowly read by others, and yet I know I was put on this earth to write. I have been thinking a great deal about what that means: to write. It is not to make money at my writing, which is fortunate. Mostly I wrote for myself, but also I write for you, to reach you somehow with a bit of humor, humanity, and even fear. I am here to scream at you. But I have always been too polite, too shy, too concerned with not upsetting anyone. Kingsley Amis said, "If you can't anoy people with what you write, I think there's little point in writing." Personally, I want to amuse as well as annoy, to warn as well as welcome, to entertain as well as educate. Thomas Hardy wrote, "The business of the poet and novelist is to show the sorriness underlying the grandest things, and the grandeur underlying the sorriest things." So be it a poem or a story or an essay, all I want to do is reach out to you and have you pull me into your arms like a long absent friend, then let the time between visits melt away. And when I am loud, forgive me my urgency, but when I am silent, please listen.

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