Saturday, October 30, 2010
An American Writer
The days of my First Annual Rogue Bud Writing Competition are drawing to a close. It'll soon be time for me to make a final decision as to whom I will come alongside and help to actually create a book. It is a very long and complex process, most of which is the working of the words - getting them on a page. Not only does the story have to compel the reader forward, but the story lines have to be consistent and also believable.
I have come to be quite fond of all of you. It's a two way street here. Not only did I have to see value in you and in your work, but you also had to step out and trust a total stranger with your precious hard work. I will not abuse that trust.
I am going to share a piece that I wrote a couple of years ago. It will be included in a book that I am currently working on called Crooked Places Straight: Straight Talk About Hard Places. It's one of the many things that are hidden in the hard-drive of my now deceased computer. I had blogged this short exhortation on my other blog, http://Joyfulnoizministries.blogspot.com/ The Road Less Traveled, or I might not have had a copy of it at all. I don't always write in my hard copy notebooks like I use to... Ah, technology. I'll know tonight if my files are retrievable. I try not to be anxious. I'm grateful for the few things that I know are not lost.
I understand the hard work and hours of effort that has gone into your work. Here is a short piece to help you to have a little better understanding of me and of who I am.
An American Writer
Now what in the world could a blue eyed all American girl know about being An American Writer? How does one get to be An American Writer? Must one go abroad? To be culturally savvy surely one must be a world traveler? Is that not true? But how about the mean streets of indifference? Can not a person gain insights and understanding in the stained and dirty suburbs of any given city within the parameters of any given society?
Are not the basic needs of any culture centered upon humanity as a whole? People need to feel included and accepted and understood. People need the warmth of a touch; the healing mercy of a smile; a compassionate glance of tolerance.
Is there not a oneness with creation that begs belonging?
You can teach me about all of the pain and the suffering and the great injustices of the world. You can teach me about all of the world religions and belief systems. You can teach me about Socrates and the great minds of days gone by. But can you teach me to care? I mean to really care: To reach out my hand to the helpless; to the desolate; to the rejected. Can you show me the way to right all of the past wrongs? Can you show me how to restore lost cities, lost hopes, or lost dreams? Is there anything that I could possibly have to write that would matter? What kind of a message can a girl from the city, from the country, from the uppermost part of New York have to say?
A world traveler? No, I am not. As a young divorced mother of three I did go to Mexico once. I saw the poverty and the lack. I saw the hopelessness and despair. But these things I saw on the memory of the back hand of a less than honorable man. These things I saw firsthand as macaroni and cheese, out of a box, no less, was a mainstay in my children’s diet for lack of education, income, and opportunity.
And how about intolerance? That I experienced outside of the conventional box of religion or politics. That I experienced at the back of the line; the welfare line as I was forced to ‘apply’ for State assistance. Was I greeted with compassion or care either one? No. I was greeted by an overworked paper pusher that most likely could afford Velveeta cheese with her macaroni and not much more.
And my tears? They were wasted on indifference and a harsh predetermination that surely I was from poor stock or just lazy. How about abused? Was my pain no less real than any others that had suffered before me? Did I need to know of far away and far reaching social injustices and calamities to experience my own devastation and sorrow? What atomic bomb had savaged my childhood, and what ghastly plague had robbed me of my dignity? What greater loss can one experience that equals the loss of one’s own self?
Do I, a woman, a mother, an American, dare to compare my suffering with the great travesties of the world? Not even. My pain was only a scratch compared to the gaping wounds of those who have gone before. My pain had remedy; resolution; an end. So much suffering goes uncharted for the vastness of the wound – a world of pain and suffering, winked at by a society that considers their Starbuck’s coffee a cultural experience.
Am I naive? I am. Apathetic? Sometimes. Observant? Always. Am I an American Writer? I guess not. But what am I really? I am a voice; a voice of compassion; a voice of concern; a voice of hope: A voice of an American. I am the voice of a writer bleeding red, for the slaughtered, bleeding white for the innocents, and bleeding blue for the honest and true.
(C) Audrey Semprun
Joyful Noiz Ministries