What would we “writers” do if someone had not invented the pen, electricity, computer, the printing machine, manufacturing paper and ink? Would we write with a feather like our forefathers, on papyrus, maybe an old typewriter, under a kerosene lamp? Writers can’t make anything. They only make things up!
Just imagine if some nuclear bomb destroyed all we have, including the inventors who made things and the people who know how to make them. All of a sudden, everything would stop, none of my books would be sold, read or reviewed and give me glory. And nobody would know how to make things again.
We would have to go back to school and start all over again, in the hope some inventor would see “the light” once more!
Every time I launch my computer, I think of the people who make it possible for me to do what I do. I cannot make anything, not build a house, repair my car, heater, airco, or stove. Forty percent of our electricity comes from coal. Who takes it out of the mines? Not me. And people (” liberals” all) around me even loathe coal. Wait till the lights go out, then they scream, especially those who loathe coal.
Writing consultants (yes, there are a lot of “them consultants” and I wonder if they ever crafted a book) say “write till you can drop your “day job”.” If all those ambitious writers would do that, who would make the things we need? I live near Washington D.C. and see these throngs of government workers crawl every morning over 395 North or creep over I 66 East (I used to be among them. Had to make a living, you know!), and when they finally get there they sit down at their computer and stare. Thanks to the coal miners they get electricity.
Thanks to the gas and oil drillers they get heat or airco. Thanks to the tax payers, including the companies that make things, they get their paycheck. And thanks to all those hardworking “makers” I can spend my day writing without worry that my light goes out or my heater or airco stops (well, they do when some drug-infested driver runs into a light pole or thunder strikes, but who cares? You buy a generator that runs on gas! From the people who invented and know how to make a generator. Can you???). Not so long ago there was an outage in my area due to a huge storm, and the only place where you could find electricity was in a generator-driven Panera or Starbucks. How quickly did all those writers know! Everyone plugged, connected and reconnected, using multiple connectors, happily drinking tea or coffee. Ain’t we writers lucky?
Tea and coffee are planted and harvested. I have seen how that goes. It takes years before a plant gets the leaves or beans ripe for plucking. Then it goes through simple or sophisticated processing machines depending where it is done. Thousands and thousands of people are involved, so that I can have my Lipton or Starbucks.
What if that suddenly stopped tomorrow? How would I get my inspiration, my adrenaline?
Does anyone realize how blessed we writers are? I have been in the middle of countries without electricity where they only have kerosene lamps when dark falls.
How are you going to write? That’s why in such countries people TALK about things; they have fabulous STORYTELLERS, with countless listeners enjoying their stories.
Those listeners are their audience. All those smart writing consultants always say “target your audience.” But who and where are they? Those storytellers attract them at the kerosene-lit market place. Since nobody can’t do anything else (except making babies) they come to the storyteller, an entertainer, someone who can inspire through speech. Nowadays we must find our audience through good writing, giving speeches and through the internet (hey! who invented that? You still remember?), assuming everything we don’t know how to make, runs.
So, I am not complaining. To the contrary, I am immensely grateful to all those people who invent, make things, make things happen, and keep things running so that I can write undisturbed. And so should you!