Monday, August 29, 2011


Why write? 

Man has been described as the only tool-making animal, or the only animal with an opposable thumb, or the only animal with language or the only animal with a soul and all kinds of other "only" things.  I propose adding to the weight of this "only" nonsense with my own "only", while first giving a nod to Bonobos (pigmy chimps) who do tell simple stories in human language using touch screens.  We are the  storytelling animal, then, that  tells long and complex stories with complex language, grammar, and syntax.

The urge to tell stories is probably hardwired in the human brains. I have a hairdresser who has a book about living on the farm as a kid, a mechanic who has a book about divorce, a friend who has a book about sexual exploits, and another friend who has a book about senior citizens.  Not one has committed these books to paper yet, but hearing that I write, they are all interested in telling me the stories and telling me how desperately they want to write it all down "someday".

I wrote in a previous blog that the principle barrier to writing a book is just getting the ass in the chair and staring at a blank page or screen long enough to start putting down some words. That is still the main reason nothing gets done--no ass in the chair. "Well, I just don't have time." is the universal excuse I hear for not applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. True to a point....

Somehow a whole society got sidetracked into consumerism. We all have to work two jobs, and our wives have to work two jobs to support a house that could easily house ten to a hundred families in India, multiple cars, boats, ATV's,  snow machines, six TV's, five computers, four cell phones, two two-week vacations, and a partridge in a pear tree. It takes a lot of work to keep WalMart's stock on the rise. "We really need a four-slice toaster and we need it in red to compliment the red in the new tile on the floor. I saw one at WalMart that would be perfect."

Or we could all live modestly, work three-day weeks and write books that other people working three day weeks could read on their four days off.  We could donate the other two work days to the unemployed, so that they could live at least 2/3's as well as we do and have 5 days off to read the books we write or to write books of their own. And since we would  all be working less and earning less, we would be in low or non-taxable brackets and the evil men in the Military/Industrial conspiracy that runs our government wouldn't have the tax dollars to start wars or bail out Wall Street Criminals.

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