Monday, November 26, 2012

Like A Tiger On Fresh Meat

Words on a page.
What are they but the fleeting thoughts of one human being capturing a moment in time for the eyes, and minds, of another? 
We are judged today, not so much by the way we treat others, but by the things we say.  And even more so by the words we put on a page.  They live on beyond us, and apart from us.  A writers words can be used against him, to indict him, to judge the entirety of his, or her, life by a few brief thoughts, whether they be well thought out conclusions, or meaningless frivolity inadvertently tossed about like scraps of bread to the birds.  It doesn’t matter.  They are given equal weight by the aberrant, and abhorrent, arbiters of righteousness; and by the pseudo-intellectual, infernal purveyors of social media, and other similar smut. 
Same difference I suppose.   

And those words on a page?  They are used against the writer as often as not.  That’s the way it is with some whose main objective is to satiate their own need for superiority.  They are quick to dismiss the thoughts of those who actually think them, those who have put time and reasoning into them, those who quite often have something of lasting value to say.  Ideas critics would not have even entertained, or had the courage to express had they ever had such profound, significant, or beautiful thoughts themselves.

It takes a certain courage to write.  The words are always written with indelible ink.  No getting around that.  Like spoken words, there is no taking them back.  But the written word is perpetual, eternal if you will.  They outlive the writer and the critic alike.  A writers primary intention will often be misunderstood, exaggerated, compromised, skewed and skewered by the reader.  But still he writes.  The writer stands naked, vulnerable to the slings and arrows, the nefarious intentions, of both the aggrieved and the egregious.  But still he writes.  The more passive-aggressive critics diminish the author with a snide and arrogant dismissal, as if his thoughts, even, were beneath their own bogus dignity. 
But still he writes,
while they are afraid to. 

Some critics don’t even bother to absorb and analyze the meaning of a piece any more.  They just scan until they can pick out what they believe to be a certain ideology of the writer.  They tailor their comments more to the perceived ideology than to the actual entirety of the authors expression.  They drool at the mouth when given the opportunity to judge a person by a snippet of their writing, something (anything really) that can be pounced on like a tiger on fresh meat.  But their assessment usually amounts to nothing more than the intellectual equivalent of spitting on the sidewalk.  It rarely adds to the discourse, or to the collective intelligence.

And I say to them, “If you have something to say, write something beyond your usual 140 characters, or less.  And if you have nothing of value to say, well then, continue to do like you do, and just criticize somebody who does.”

Friday, November 16, 2012

This Prehistoric Landscape

Moving through the valley of death.  Death Valley to those approaching the end of their lives, or who have been held in its grip, whether on their own internal journey, or a road trip they may have once been on. 
Death Valley, California, a place unlike any other place on earth; a depression in the land, as low as you or I have ever been, surrounded by mountains as high as we would ever hope to be. 
The earth’s own version of the manic depressive experience. 

Miles and miles of wide open space.  
Places some have forsaken,
afraid of their own freedom.

Mountains once moved by the faith of great men, now pass by my windows as I move across the land; as time, even, has passed before the eyes of others traveling these ancient roads well ahead of my arrival. 
Valleys long and promising stretch out beyond the imaginations of we who never took the time to envision them.  Taking time now, however, I am enlivened by their depth, by the enormity of their reach across the years.  I am enlightened by the infinite, immeasurable influence of their presence, and the nobility of their age.
Age that is valued, or so it seems, in all that is natural; all, that is, except for the men and women who have reached beyond the years of the young, years where they have finally come to understand that which would not be seen with youthful eyes; things that some fear knowing much earlier in life, terrified of not remaining young. 

Yes, we revere the age of the earth, but deride the wrinkled old men who may creak when they walk sometimes, or stutter when they talk.  We are afraid to be like them, and would not entertain a trade of the ignorance of our youth for the wisdom of age.

“Life,” some would say, “is a road trip.”
I would say it’s more like preparation for a road trip.

Nevertheless, we are but a moment in time, 
and a grain of sand on this prehistoric landscape.