Wednesday, July 30, 2014

THE WRITER HAS NO RIGHTS



THE LAST SUNSET, GLOUCESTER
ON BALANCE, A MONTH OF SUFFERING.
NOT WITHOUT JOY, BUT A MONTH OF SUFFERING.

I can't quite figure out where I got this quote or who wrote it.
But I like it so let me know if you know.

In the photo on the front of Conversations with Flannery O’Connor her arms are bare, her lips a little chapped, her eyes large, penetrating, intelligent, and clear.  She never pandered, never flattered, never tried to smooth over. I realized today that she seemed to have no close friends, no confidante. As Richard Gilman said, "No writer I’ve known had such devotion to art, felt so much a conduit rather than a source, expected so little beyond internal satisfactions. Something she wrote in an essay reprinted here [in Mystery and Manners [?]] seems to me to convey an essential quality of her lonely, besieged, and unnoticed life and to be a motto for the risks she took and the things she made: 'The writer has no rights except those he forges for himself within his own work.' ” 

2 comments:

  1. I too wish you could have turned around and said "Hi!" to that unknown black man in your Aleteia article. But I am also glad you didn't. For you may have, in that situation, put your person in danger thereby acting as a poor steward of that person, that "I", God has given to you and the world:
    When I was about five, I was playing on a street of the first border suburb south of Chicago. A car went by and I asked my brother what "that" was. The car was now a full block gone and my brother responded "that was a black person." What was that I asked. "Some people call them niggers" he responded. I had no idea what he was talking about but learned that day that there are some people in the world with black skin. My brother, sincerely, meant nothing mean; he is a facts guy still to this day and reports what he sees with general impartiality.
    But I learned a bad word that day, -one that I never really used- at least not maliciously if I am to be completely honest.
    Then I went to an old catholic high school in the inner city. Since the neighborhood had become so dangerous, the monks figured out that if it was a good jock school it would stay afloat. So my little brother, for example got to play both football and basketball with the then future star quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, Donovan McNabb, who I think is now retired. My brother said he was always the biggest gentleman on the field or court.
    And that was my experience. The black guys I met (it is an all guys school) were by and large good guys who were serious about either life or sports or both. By the end of freshman year nigger was fading from my vocabulary, even if only as a joke. Because they were no longer abstractions to be wondered about but people to be known. (continued)

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  2. When I got to college, the first person I met in the dorm elevator was a tall, slender peaceful looking black guy. Kevin, a star on the Div I basketball team. I didn't know that at the time but he could see I was new at school, lost in a world I didn't yet know, and a bit scared. "You new here?" I said yes and he told me "you look bright enough, it'll all be alright." That is burned in my memory like a bas relief icon. He was the type of b-ball guy who was using his God given talent to get an education, not an NBA draft shot.
    And that is how it is, when we meet reality as it really is, fear dissipates and acquaintance begins.
    That man hissing at you may have been the nicest guy on earth, but either his parents or the world didn't teach him the proper way to comport himself. And being selfish, I'm glad you were afraid -because the world and our Lord could have lost you before you completed whatever your God given tasks are.
    But I do want to blame something, because it does stink that that black man did not know how to carry himself: those who run media, and politics and various non-profits (not all, of course) etc. can be largely blamed. How many in politics play a race card? How often does FOX News or MSNBC have a juicy story that will keep our attention even though it is an oversimplified example of misunderstanding of parties that don't fully understand each other? How often do blockbuster movies do it? And that sells! Hell yeah, get your new cars here!...get your pharmaceuticals here! get your...! and on and on and on
    It is those who promote themselves and their ideas that are largely to blame. And the most hawkish of them all find themselves in the various seats of power in media, politics and culture -to a very large extent in this hurting civilization. I certainly don't much blame the Hispanic dad who likes to grill out back for his 6 kids, but is unfortunate enough to believe anything the media might say! His blame is so much less.
    Those who are powerful though, can send their ideas to either Hell or Nirvana. And I hope those who hold and purvey such filth choose Nirvana for those thoughts. Because if they do they may just have the delightful experience of saving their persons from Hell! Otherwise, their thoughts and actions will follow their bodies and souls straight into that abyss of no return

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