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Saturday Evening Post

Glass of Red WineFor the first time since M3 was born, I have no energy for a post. If you would like to hear the tale, please, grab a cuppa and snuggle in. The temperature will be dropping soon, so do pick up a blanket.

Struck

I am sickened. Oh, aye, I am on the mend physically. What is sick is my heart. At the hands of those I love, those I respect, those about whom I care, those I do not know, those who will never be known.

I reach this place often. Its primary symptom is a wordlessness which is characterized only physically. Inside my head the words are formed. Despite limitations, they are all capable of reaching my hands and becoming a form others can read, celebrate, share, debate, disregard, dismiss or ignore. The disconnection is merely one of self-preservation.

Writers

As a writer, holding the words inside can often lead to volatile outcomes. Left alone, they can swirl and coalesce into gut- or heart-wrenching prose and poetry. Sometimes, they fade out against the emotions they are meant to evoke. Once purged, the writer is left more balanced, but the reader is atilt, unsure what the meagre letter formations were meant to convey although certain they have not escaped unchanged.

Many writers make hay on those trapped words by capping them until their energy explodes into a rant. They fume with bluster, vitriol or merely well-timed acerbity. The burst of written flame catches fire to the consciousness of the reader who fans the flame into a raging, consuming fire which spreads.

dimeThese writers rarely are noble. They do not serve their words for the better good. Instead, they serve them merely in an attempt to garner attention. Most often the attention they seek is coin of the realm. They are occasionally aligned with the words on a theoretical level, but most often they serve an agenda tainted with avarice.

In their attempt to garner attention, it is unlikely they bother with the audience’s ability to understand the words. Nay, they prefer to intentionally use words knowing their audience will be so moved with emotion as to overlook what is going on behind the curtain. The reader should mistake the avarice of money, fame, social recognition, social change, notoriety and a coveted place in history for a genuine respect for the subject at hand and the reader’s intelligence.

You, dear reader, should overlook the fact the writer has something to gain by your pandering their words. In many cases, this kind of writer has already gotten a benefit in exchange for the words. Sometimes, readers are unaware. Most often they know and are willing to overlook the fact may have tempered the words by fueling the flame with an unwanted source.

Still other writers take advantage. These opportunists are often not looking for a bank draft for their efforts. Many believe they are convicted to write such things. Be it divine calling, righteous indignation, social character or moral turpitude, it is as individual as any other opinion.

Readers of these writers are often of like mind and gladly carry the message to audiences otherwise unwilling or disinterested to hear such words of their own accord. What the writer may or may not intentionally recognize is the spread of the personal agenda is no different than any other form of propaganda which capitalizes on an emotional event, real or imagined.

Symbiosis

ReadingWithout both the reader and the writer, writing fails to exist. Without the ability to strike emotion or action in others through words, writers would cease to exist. Without the ability to read and be affected by the words, the reader would cease to exist. While some of the most voracious readers are writers and vice versa, most often, the two are in a symbiotic state which exists only in a balance which cannot be measured by an outside scale.

Readers seek out the writings of those who cater to not only their more cerebral pursuits, but also their baser instincts. Literature is densely populated with looks into the morally acceptable and the morally repugnant with equity. Over time, the two categories are commingled. Contemporaneously, the two are commingled. In truth, without one, the other ceases to exist.

Comedy and tragedy are a comparative case. While each can stand alone, neither’s greatness is appreciated without the other to stand in stark comparison.

Responsibility

In any symbiotic relationship, both partners carry a responsibility to uphold the relationship on equitable terms. The writer must not exploit the emotions and fallibilities of the reader. Likewise, the reader must be aware of the writer’s motives. Neither is exempt from the reaction to the words.

Words should incite readers to look within themselves by presenting a well-reasoned case and offering the chance for the reader to apply the logic to the world in which both operate. Even when the well-reasoned case is fraught with the writer’s emotional bareness, the shock and provocativeness of such nudity cannot be the only factor on which a reader may be given the choice. Truly, it is merely a choice of My way or the highway.

lizzie hand

Most writers are artists. The nudes they paint with words are not intentionally pornography. Readers are mostly seeking enjoyment. They do not expect the words to carry them to a place of future regret. The pursuit of either vocation without the responsibility to apply one’s own principles, logic and emotion in equal measure is tantamount to ceding one’s ability to decide for oneself what is real, what is true, what is right and what is sustainable.

Words may be free to say and write, but each one costs. The writer may have bled it onto the page. The reader may bleed to death reading it. Use caution.

Words are weapons which can protect or destroy. How you use them truly is important.

Quietly,

Red Signature

 

Have you ever read or heard something which moved you to do something you regret? Have you ever written or said words which hurt someone? Do you know how to be a responsible reader or writer?

When you tweet or +1 this post, please use the hashtags #amwriting and #writingrules. Thank you for sharing The M3 Blog.


© Red Dwyer 2012
Writing Hand © Liz Campbell used with permission
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49 Comments

  1. You have put words to what most people can’t even begin to explain. The relationship of reader / writer the responsibility of each to use the words wisely and the motives that are overlooked in favor of gratification without understanding what is behind the words.. within more like. I understand the bleeding on the page.. often writing or drawing is what purges the pain from my system or organizes it enough to be examined understood and then let go.. I have words upon words that I hold onto in my draft box or other holding spot while I decide on the value of putting them out there – the consequences and reprecussions. Really thought provoking and worth taking a minute when we write or create to think what is our responsibility.. I hold words higher than actions for reasons I won’t go into here because um.. it would take the whole bottom page like i am not well on my way already 😛 but I am often hurt most by words that were said to placate with no real intent or meaning behind them. Thank you for using my picture – it looks good there…
    Much love
    <3 Lizzie
    p.s. you put in a few of my favorites – all in one post lol..just saying)
    Lizzie Cracked recently posted..The Gift of Giving – The Fourth Holiday Mental MomentMy Profile

    Reply
  2. I wrote a comment and then forgot to hit send. This post was so powerful and important to me, it will affect what I write in any realm of communication, and likely what I speak to others, too. To me it is about the profound power and ultimate failure of language. The power of language is to connect with a reader and share the human experience. The failure of language is to use language as a weapon to maim people in intended ways. I often bleed on the page, but need to be more sensitive to how others are affected by witnessing my pornographic open gashes . I also hope to uplift people with the power of words, through love and gracefulness and beauty. Lizzie, like you, I have drafts of written material, but often when I go to reread in the light of day, I delete them for the ugliness and ill-thought out messages they deliver under the surface. The nudity of those emails and posts are not artistic, but exploitive of feelings. That is the power and failure of my language.
    Red, this post has meant more to me than any text I have read in years. It causes me to examine myself, my motives, my gain, my losses through writing.
    Thank you,
    Gailxxx

    Reply
    • While I have loads of things written which will likely never see other’s eyes, I do not toss them aside. Later, it is often a lesson for me to learn about myself and whatever motive brought me to be so caustic. That which causes me to strike deeply often has struck me deeply. xxx

      Reply
  3. I think everyone has said or written something that has hurt someone. Sometimes it’s intentional to seek revenge, and sometimes it’s unintentional, but it’s rarely something to be proud of.
    Binky recently posted..They Don’t Make Hammers Like They Used ToMy Profile

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    • I have often written words to hurt others. Rarely has it been vengeful, for those words are never released. I have been known to burn them. I have been accused of being hateful more times than I remember because I am often the messenger of a hurtful truth. Agreed. It is not a matter for pride.

      Reply
  4. Hmm…The advantage of the words I write is that (in non-fiction) I can portray an idealized (read: inaccurate) version of myself.
    One of the greatest responsibilities I feel when I write is to not use it as a cutting tool. Unless I’m willing to hold myself responsible for its effects on the target.

    There have been times I’ve used words to go after someone. And right or wrong, I stand by it.
    Not necessarily proudly, but at least accountably.

    Hope whatever has you down passes, and you rise above it (as only you can!).
    El Guapo recently posted..Friday Foolishness – Get The Goods EditionMy Profile

    Reply
    • I am far more guilty. I often use words to go after someone. I could placate myself in the belief I only do it for their own betterment, but to do so would be largely inaccurate. Pride is not a large facet in my character, so it is not whence my words come. Like you, I stand by them. Rarely, must I do so with them on a plate.

      It shall, and I shall. Although, it leaves me to wonder if again I am left preaching to the choir.

      Reply
      • I think that’s one of the pitfalls, at least of blogging – most of those who stop by are of a similar outlook/pov.
        There are some I interact with who are good people, but with different outlooks.
        Makes for some lively conversations…
        El Guapo recently posted..Friday Foolishness – Get The Goods EditionMy Profile

        Reply
        • My sphere is far more diverse. Many with whom I interact are of very different outlook and vastly different POV. In that diversity is where I find the least reciprocity in terms of responsibility. Even here, I committed a swipe of the sword using the word avarice. I have found a large amount of what I read recently to be a lust for garnering and hoarding (greed) attention (riches). It is part of what weighs on my heart. Whether borne of loneliness or aloneness, real or perceived, it produces great sadness to witness.

          Reply
    • “There have been times I’ve used words to go after someone. And right or wrong, I stand by it.
      Not necessarily proudly, but at least accountably.”

      I’ve been using some strong words to Amazon this past week. And I’m standing by every last one of them.

      I do this rarely, and never to individuals, only to Behemoths who try to abuse me. : )

      Reply
  5. I’ve got a whole folder full of crap I’ve written. Some dark. Some even darker. All well encrypted so no one, not even if I die and they go browsing through my junk, will ever be able to read it.

    I don’t even know why I keep it, but I do.
    MJ Logan recently posted..The Third Day of ChristmasMy Profile

    Reply
    • The writer’s hoarding. I understand it. It is quite a left handed fortune so much of my darkest writings were burnt. I have never felt the distance from them, yet know it is my admission of my own balance and proof of my responsibility to cause more good than harm. You keep it to help you remember not to leave it unwritten. Peace.

      Reply
    • MJ, this is apropos to me right now; I’ve unearthed a whole little box full of the notebooks I kept when I was querying agents/editors and writing the saga. I’m so glad I dated everything, for these pages show me not only where I was but when (can it be so long ago??). I’m finding handwritten drafts of scenes that are a mixture of “made it into” and “were totally forgotten” but the most telling bits are those long lists of NY agencies who rejected my work on the sheer basis of a letter. Thank God for POD, no matter how many issues I have with them. At least they’re accessible. And such awful poetry….ouch. Now, to burn, or save? Or destroy the integrity of the object by ripping out and keeping only those pages I like….

      Reply
      • I am going to interject. Keep the book in tact with the awful poetry. One thing I learned when I put together Mantra for a Muse was some of the things I abhorred (as in after I had the book in my hand I wondered what possessed me to put them in) we very well received with those who were not really in tune with the more layered poetry. Some of the kitsch rhyme pattern appealed to those who wanted to read but not have their minds taxed. Some of the short, simplistic concepts brought warmth and light. It is a fine example of beauty in the eye of the beholder as well as being one’s own worst critic.

        Reply
  6. Just because someone can write doesn’t always mean they should. Sensationalism, and drama draw more attention than charitible contributions and peaceful gatherings.
    Laurie recently posted..Budgeting Money and TimeMy Profile

    Reply
    • I believe there are many things we can do we should not. I have to wonder if the attention drawn is about anything more than the amount of drama and sensationalism created.

      Reply
      • It very well could be, time will decide in most cases if the desired reaction was achieved.
        Laurie recently posted..Budgeting Money and TimeMy Profile

        Reply
        • Were it wouldn’t, but history is repeating itself. For all the the drama is merely a cover of an old song which was not a hit when it played the first time centuries ago.

          Reply
  7. There are thousands of words, never will they see the light of day. They sit in journals, yours or mine; they slice, dice and cause us to bleed.

    This was provocative. The relationship between writer and reader, is important. I wonder though, if sometimes the writer doesn’t simply write to tell a story whether the reader follows or not.
    valentine logar recently posted..Hunting GoodwillMy Profile

    Reply
    • I find with striking frequency writers who write merely to tell a story without regard to the reader, in terms of heart, intelligence or sensibility. It is the core of my despondency.

      Reply
    • “sometimes the writer doesn’t simply write to tell a story whether the reader follows or not.”

      YES!! Telling stories to myself has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life.

      Reply
  8. This subject is not one to be careless with, as the words we use are best used with care.
    This is a conundrum, like a snake eating itself… we are who we are and we say what we say and we read what we read…
    The most import I draw from your post is the responsibility of both writer AND reader to use discretion and be watchful of our intentions.
    As well, therein lies the beauty, when both realize the power of decision is a private and personal duty. I cannot take responsibility for how my words are perceived, other than from intention that is pure and selfless. And I do not let the decision lie with anything I read, I must be judicious and critical in my understanding of so much more than the very words I read. For the responsibility, the decision lies with each of us, on our own, in the end.
    Thank you for such a thoughtful and evocative picture of what lies beneath!!
    And I thought I was rendered speechless by your post!! HA!

    I wish you much love and warmth and peace while feeling the sadnesses and discontent which assault us daily…
    HUGS

    🙂

    Reply
    • I am always touched by the comments which begin or end with “This left me speechless.” It is a matter of taking the personal responsibility on both ends of the equation. I know it will pass when I have had time to read something more edifying and have accomplished something of my own. I have been dying to write for days and just rather had the winds sucked from my sails early this morning. Much love, sunshine <3 xxx

      Reply
  9. This makes a lot of sense. I know when I speak, or write something for that matter, it is helpful to know who the audience is. Why do they care about this? With writing it might be harder to gauge that, but it is still important. I know that if people don’t know at least a little bit about who I am or why I bother to write the things I do, I might get fewer readers. But, then again, what about the goals of the writing? Some of it is never meant to be read by a lot of people.

    Have I ever written something to hurt someone? Probably, but I can’t remember one. I was in middle school at one point like everyone else.
    Derek Mansker recently posted..The Lego Jar (12/15/12) – A bit of normalcy, if that is possibleMy Profile

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    • The goals of the writing are one of the writer’s responsibilities. There is a fine line between writing merely to be read and writing to convey an idea, message, train of thought or even amusement. In the latter, some are vehicles for the others. In my experience, the truer the writing (which has nothing whatsoever to do with facts), the more the readers come. Aiming for readership is one of the avarices to which writers fall prey.

      Reply
  10. Hi Red! 🙂

    I guess we all tend to open mouth and insert foot far more often than we are willing to admit to.

    I have made few mistakes in that direction in my lifetime, but I have to admit that a clear conscience most likely indicates a poor memory!!! 🙂

    All I can say is that I try hard not to hurt anyone even if they downright deserve it, but then I guess it’s because I’ve been on the receiving end so often…

    Love and squishy hugs my friend and Merry Christmas!!! 🙂

    Prenin.
    prenin recently posted..Friday – vivid dreams.My Profile

    Reply
    • And a very happy Christmas to you as well, Pren. For whatever reason you blame your use of the golden rule, it makes you a better man to choose your words wisely. Some of the sternest lessons are those of silence, my friend. {HUGZ} and holiday blessings.

      Reply

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