Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Hey, looka me! I'm a writer!"

As writers, he said didactically, we're obliged to know what we write will have an impact on others and to accept some responsibility for that impact (in contrast with the Scott Adams Theory of Writerly Absolution, in which he places blame for misunderstanding of a writer on the reader or the messenger who took the message to an unintended audience).

This bit of writing, for example, by TIME magazine’s Jeffrey Kluger, bugs me nuts:
Human beings have been staring at the moon since long before we were human beings at all. Far back in biological history, some light-sensitive eyespot on some prehuman thing must have first registered the shimmer of moonlight, and the lunar love affair began.
This isn’t because I’m a creationist, some wild-eyed anti-Darwinian who goes unhinged when someone hints at evolution. This bugs me nuts because it’s just too contrived, too cute, too stupid of a lead to even encourage me to read the rest of the article. Claiming that the first sight of moonlight beamed to a light-sensitive spot on a pre-human thing does not equate to anything akin to a “lunar love affair.” Because to that light-sensitive eyespot, that beam of moonlight is just another beam of light to a brain not really all that interested in processing whether the light comes from a source that ought to be loved or even noted as more remarkable than any other light from any other source. It’s not the Darwinianism that bugs me – it’s the antropomorphism. And it's funny that it bugs me, because I'm a big fan of anthropomorphism.

It's just a bit too clever, that's all, and is a writerly way to point out to the reader, "Hey, looka me! I'm a writer!" Good writers (and I don't include myself in that category often) don't do that.

To Mr. Kluger’s credit, I did finish reading the article. But this lead still bugs me nuts.

Back t my original topic sentence: We’ve got to know, as writers, that what we write will have an impact on others, and that impact will influence whether others continue to read what we write or write us off completely. We can’t always know what will appeal to our audience, because in this day and age we have no control over who our audience is. I know thanks to Google’s statistics that many of the people who come to this blog bounce in and bounce right back out again. I have no idea why. Google helps me identify what searches led searchers to me, but I have no idea what information they were hoping to find when they clicked on a link to an obscure blog written by a babbler such as myself. I feel bad wasting their time, but that doesn’t stop me from writing. And I don’t have the time or the inclination to tailor my writing to those bouncers, making my site more valuable to them. This blog, first and foremost, is my Minisec of information for me. That it occasionally interests others is of lesser interest to me.

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