Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hard Times

I've taken a day to work on a project sans family since I haven't had a chance to write in four days. In general, it's been tough finding time. But now, I'm sitting in an empty house, missing my wife and my little girl, and instead of writing, I'm thinking about how we don't actually make enough money at our teacher day jobs to pay our bills, and how our crappy insurance just got even crappier so that now, essentially, we don't have insurance ($5000 deductible, have to pay full price for meds, etc.), and the whole thing seems really difficult. Impossible. The kind of thing you just throw down and walk away from. I've taken steps -- I can't really be explicit because, you know, the thing about the internet is anybody can read it -- so I'll just say I'm doing what I can to rectify the situation, but it will take time. And it's not going to be easy. It's a challenge to focus on writing when the difficulties in life seem so momentous. Worse than that, it's difficult to enjoy my time with my family when I can't stop thinking about these things. It sours me on life. So I end up wasting the time I should be spending on important things worrying.

My father grew up in the Depression as a share cropper. Struggle is nothing new. The Depression was caused by rampant greed. The current economic situation was caused by just the same thing, but we never learn. People are still out there clamoring about the poor corporations and billionaires being so mistreated. They throw out words like Socialism and don't even know what that means. It's all about greed and pettiness and it's disgusting and sad. It holds us back. As someone else said, there will always be some indentured servants eager to praise their masters. I wish I could get clear of the pig-headedness that allows this to keep happening, but I can't. It's hard to set it aside for even a moment because, sadly, it has such an effect on my life.

So what do you do? It's tempting to consider writing as an escape, and it can be that, but good writing is not that, not at all. Good writing has an agenda, but a more subtle one than propaganda. Good writing tries to change the world. Good writing teaches. It focuses on the real, capital T Truth. It fights the good fight.

Let me be clear: teaching is the most important thing we can do (aside from actually saving a life, as a doctor or fireman, perhaps, or a police officer, though even that is a form of teaching). Teaching is at the core of who we are as humans. We are social animals; we learn from each other. We are born with few, if any instincts. Everything we know we've learned, we've been taught. This is how we communicate. This is how we interact. Some of us teach by writing.

I'm going to keep working. Then I'm going to go see my family. There are all these assholes in my way, but they're not going to win. They say that history is written by the victors. That may be, but it's taught by teachers.

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