Friday, December 3, 2010

About Dinosaurs and Why We Write

A month today since my last entry. I hear many writers say they write because they must, because they can't NOT write. I don't have that problem, obviously. I write because I love to write. I love to put words together for many reasons, none of which have to do with a compulsion to write.

I like to tell stories. I like to paint pictures with words, pictures that make someone else feel a scene as I intend. I like to create (or recreate) emotions. And all that is so amazingly banal. Every writer wants those basics. Craft. No, I write because I like to influence, change or open minds, find commonality. I question and want to shake fixed beliefs and systems and get others to question, or see differently.

I write because I want to make a difference. I admit it. I want to influence people, not to think like I think--that may change from day to day--but to think, period. Not to accept anything as truth because someone has said it is. Yes, that would include priests, politicians, and ministers, imams, and rabbis (and my own father was a minister.) And that brings me to dinosaurs.

I live within driving distance of The Creation Museum. Someday I will go see it, when I think I can keep a straight face, because my experience with the people who might frequent the place is that they often have little sense of humor. But come on, folks. Given the abundance of scientific data, how can these people actually believe that dinosaurs and humans (homo sapiens, of course, since there can't have been any other types of humanoid bipeds in earth's history) existed side by side? Did Noah just forget to take them on the ark? Or did he simply, defiantly disobey God's direct command? Or, wait...might there not have been dinosaurs on the planet at the time of the flood?

It was in the paper today that the creator of the Creation Museum is going to build a life-sized replica of the ark. I wonder where he got the plans and specs? I mean, of course, other than the Biblical cubits of length, breadth, etc. Been a while since I've looked at the specs. But damn, it's going to be tight for the brontosauruses.

And yet, as the military's report on Don't Ask Don't Tell has finally been released, saying what most knew it would say, one man refuses to listen, and he is in a position to allow the change that will happen to move forward. No, he says. It doesn't matter what the people think, what the soldiers think (except those who agree with him), this is wrong because, because, because he believes it is.

Dinosaurs do live among us. I stand corrected.

Now, I don't want my blog to be about politics. I want it to be fun and interesting. But I realize that I don't necessarily agree with the mogul who said, to paraphrase, "If you want to send a message, call Western Union." I don't want to preach or be preached to. I don't want to write polemics. And yet, I do want to influence. I admit it. Pry minds open. Offer questions. Question every assumption. I believe that people with talent to write should use it for the betterment of this small world. Sure, mysteries are great, and comedies, and horror stories, and romance, and dystopian literary journeys into a bleak future. Entertainment for the sake of entertainment is pure wonder and joy. I'm all for it. But between the jokes and the twists and the unique turns of phrase, we need to speak out.

Where are we going, when all movement stops while we each obstruct the other? We'll never all agree. How boring would that be? But must we fight? Must we live in fear? Do we tell stories only to distract? To allay the fear? Or do we look for some truths? Not the ones fed to us. Imagine no religion, John Lennon said. Imagine. Imagine all the people...  Well, we all know. I think that's why I write.

Why do you?