Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Writer's Prayer

If I didn't think I could change people, I wouldn't bother doing this. It's too difficult. Want to know how difficult? Amazon informed me of some royalty money coming my way--almost nine dollars! And do you know what I felt when I read their notice? I felt glee!

I felt glee--over nine dollars!

It's the first cash I've seen by way of royalties in almost three months. Nine bucks. In a year where, to date, I've made just a shade more than seven.

Art of any kind worthy of the title is meant, first and foremost, to change people. If all it does is entertain them or give them a little bit of an escape from their daily grind, it isn't art. It's cotton candy--tasty but nutritionally worthless.

It isn't the artist who changes people in the end, however. The individual experiencing the art from that artist must be open to change and actively, consciously seeking it. Sadly, in this day and age, there aren't too many folks like that as a percentage of the population. Probably less than one percent.

An acquaintance of ours who worked as a psychotherapist for decades once told Kye that in her experience, very few people bother considering existential issues of any kind. But in order to experience real change at all, those are the very issues that must be considered. Otherwise it isn't change; it's mascara. It's more plastic over the brittle layers already there.

Such has been my experience of people as well. It explains the flat affect in people's eyes. It explains the lack of fire in their words, and their apathy towards the world and its workings. It explains their choice in movies, videos, music, books, and everything else that could be artful, but in most cases is anything but.

And so, last year, frustrated and depressed, as I get several times a year over the pathetic state of things, I wrote the prayer below. When I came out of my funk, I re-read it, and decided that not only did I still feel as I did when I wrote it, but doubly so.

There is a great scene in The Matrix when Morpheus and Neo are crossing a street. Morpheus is explaining that most people are so inured to their reality that they not only don't want to be liberated from it, but will fight to keep themselves "plugged into" it.

Philosophers through the ages have observed the same thing.

The psychotherapist was just saying the same thing.

My decades-long observations of people confirm the same thing.

In the end, the only people worth dealing with, therefore, are those genuinely seeking escape from that inurement, from "the Matrix."

I hope you're one of them.


A Writer’s Prayer

let me be an interference pattern.
Let me disrupt people’s lives.
For the numb suburban,
let my work cast a harsh light on her unexistence
while showing her the way to a life worth living.
For the smug businessman,
let me show the leprous nature of his greed
and bring him to humility and decency.
For the intransigent materialist,
let my words cast doubt upon his trenchant beliefs,
enough to bring him to his knees to cry,
“I just don’t know!”
For the white-lighty,
let my efforts slop a bitter, acidic paste on her
sugar-coated worldview.
Let it dissolve away the illusion and disease of enlightenment.
For the unserious,
let my books be comets smashing into their
polluted and barren ground. May my words set fire to their skies
and roll them under mile-high tsunamis. Let them
bring lasting gravity and unignorable starkness to their silly moments.
For the cynical,
may my stories be like a fierce sandstorm,
stripping away their pustuled flesh and eating into their poisoned bones
until nothing is left but a Mary Sue or Larry Stu.
For the rich,
may my words make them poor.
For the poor,
grant that my words make them rich.
May my work uproot oppressors and cast them down;
may they lift up the oppressed and give them the courage
to fight on.
May children love my disruptions,
and grow up to love them even more.
And when they become elderly,
may they draw hope and faith from them.
Grant that my interference disrupts generations uncountable,
that through it humankind becomes more peaceful, diverse, tolerant,
modest, grounded, humble, quiet, graceful, judicious, virtuous, and decent.


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