As I write this, I've just finished watching an essay by Ann Taylor Fleming televised on the McNeil-Lehrer Report. It was story a about a group of men in Los Angeles, all of whom have AIDS and all of whom write and participate in a writing workshop that meets weekly. The essay focused on why they write and, particularly, why it is so important to write as their fellow writers die and as they, themselves, prepare for a death that is surely coming. Some of the men read portions of their essays, stories that were very well written and, sometimes, emotionally affecting. The principal reason they gave for writing was to give meaning to their lives and to leave a written legacy behind.
Anyway, the broadcast made me think about my own circumstances. I don't have AIDS and have no reason to think I might die soon (other than the fact that any of us might die soon; as my grandmother used to say, "none of us is promised tomorrow"). I'm not sure about the legacy part either. It's not like I'm near the end and am trying to settle accounts. But I am sure that one of the reasons I write is shared with the authors Fleming talked about. That is to "give meaning to my life." Not sometime in the future but right now. I've always joked about not knowing what I want to do when I grow up. Well, as someone pointed out to me recently, I'm running out of time (both to grow up and to figure out what it is I want to do when I get there). No, I don't think I'll be a writer, but it is something I enjoy doing (except when the dreaded writers' block gets in the way, as has been too often the case lately). And it is one thing that allows me to fully articulate what it is I am thinking.
I'm normally engaged in a rather serious business, one that produces adequate income but otherwise seems both lacking in any redeeming social value and in humor. It's not an environment that is conducive to discussing the major issues of the day (and certainly not serious discussion of such issues), and it is definitely not a place to discuss anything remotely involving race or controversy (especially controversy involving race). On the other hand, I can write about such topics, even converse with people halfway around the world who may be equally, and avoid feeling like there is a whole part of my being that must be imagined away.
So Meanderings provides an outlet for something I enjoy doing, something I'd like to improve at, and something that, when shared with others, often allows for the feedback and discussion necessary to maintain sanity. And maybe one of these stories will bring about world peace!
While I've been procrastinating, there has been no shortage of interesting material to write about. On the contrary, I've been saving so many news clippings and other items of note that I almost find it impossible to organize my thoughts. But this is Meanderings and, as the word implies, organization is not essential. So having been jogged by Ann Taylor Fleming, here is the next issue. Hope you enjoy!
Cuda Brown, Editor