Joy and Outcry
There have been a great many people saying a great many things about movements and wavelets and whatever cool term they think fits the current situation, and I’d be foolish to even attempt to join the conversation. I’ve been reading, though. Some of these comments have made me laugh, others have made me angry or irritated or simply bored.
In a very roundabout sort of way, all of this makes me think about talking to Rick Wilber last year at the ICFA about “Loving the Bomb.” One of the things that he said was that I was likely going to have a hard time placing the story, not because of the writing but because of the subject matter. “Bomb”—surprise, surprise—has a very Cold War sort of feel to it.
I guess I knew this when I wrote it. But I cannot simply choose what to write. I cannot make my ideas be one thing or another; they are what they are. I am the kind of writer that I am—though I am still fumbling and discovering and learning what that means. I will not wake up tomorrow and suddenly be cool and stylish enough to be part of the movement that it seems everyone with a journal is talking about these days, though I do like to tell myself that I have my cool and stylish moments. I will not suddenly change the way I write so I’ll start selling piles upon piles of stories; and I will not delude myself and say that this is for great and noble reasons, that I’d never “stoop that low” or what have you. I simply have no idea how I could.
I can understand the reason for all this movement joy and outcry, though. I understand the desire and need to be part of something, to be included in something larger and perhaps greater than one’s self and individual work, to be a part of a force that is changing things, having an effect. I cannot say that I am immune to this desire. And yet I also understand the rejection of such things, too. There will always be those who do not feel included, no matter how inclusive the larger group thinks they are or tries to be; there will always be those who just don’t fit in no matter how hard they try. There will always be those who do not want to fit in, who do not want to be categorized and subcategorized, grouped or regrouped or dismissed as a fad. And there will always be those who just don’t give a damn.
And who knows where I fit. Times like this I just feel like a girl alone with her keyboard, struggling to find a place. This is not bad. This is simply the way it is. One ragged claw in front of the other, one word at a time, for as long as it takes ... and then some.