1halffull's Blog

The Writer’s Crisis
July 3, 2015, 11:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

So, I said I was back but then I didn’t post anything.  What’s up with that?

Here’s what’s up with that:  I’ve had a writer’s block for over two years – or has it been three?  Even though I wrote again for the local newspaper, when it came to my blog, I had nothing to say.  Or rather, I had things to say, but didn’t think I could, or should, say them here.  Too personal and better left to my on again, off again journal – yes, even with that I’m selective about what goes on the page.

Then there’s this other ‘thing’.  I can best express it (and of course I’ll feel compelled to explain it) this way:  Lily Tomlin, who has been one of my favorite comedians since the first time I heard her say “One ringy-dingy….” also said this:  “Sometimes I worry about being a success in a mediocre world.”

I feel her pain.

Years ago, when Erma Bombeck (look her up) was still alive and writing a daily newspaper column along with her many books, you really had to be almost a stellar, one-of-a-kind writer to be invited for an interview on shows like TODAY or CBS This Morning.  Not that those interviews were the pinnacle of a writer’s career, but that accolade was pretty darn special and didn’t hurt your book sales one bit!  Now it appears that anyone can get a gig on these shows.  In fact, it’s nothing to see several writers pop up on any given day.

One such writer is touted as one of the best this generation has to offer.  Someone gave me a copy of one of her books which I dutifully read.  It was so below the ranking of mediocre that I tossed it in the trash rather than subject anyone else to its contents.

I asked my son, because he is a writer and understands these things, how these people make it to the TV set?  I have to say I was horrified, yet not at all surprised, by his answer which was this:  If you write a book, and you have a blog with a lot of followers – think over 80,000 give or take a few – versus some mom in the sticks who’s written the greatest thing since The Kinsey Report, the chic with the blog will win.  TV people see her as someone who can potentially bring them 80,000+ viewers to add to their ratings and for them, that’s all that’s important.  Not the person.  Not the writing.  Just the ratings.

Why am I so surprised by this?  Actually I’m not.  Instead, I’m insulted for all of us that they choose ratings over excellence, which more often than not, enhances the culture of mediocrity.

So I question:  Do I want to be a success in a mediocre world?  No, I don’t.  However, like Erma Bombeck before me, I do think I have something to say that people can relate to.  And for that reason, I will continue to write.  It may not often be stellar, but it may make someone laugh, or cry, or realize that they are not alone on their journey.  And for me, those responses make it worth the effort.


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