Thursday, January 21, 2010

No thing

You know what, I sit here wondering what pile of utter dross to write next when there are kids being shot in the head for nicking a couple of pictures in the name of law and order -what's that? Oh, we call this democracy, this view that we know what's right and what's not. Who are you if you can kill a child? No thing is worth killing anyone for. Well what is the point of being a writer? What do we do? We watch and listen and write what we feel and nothing happens. If you're a published writer you get your thoughts published. If you're a nobody like me you go on as usual. Nothing.

36 comments:

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

You are published. And you WILL have books out.

catdownunder said...

Oh, miaou! You start again. You sit there and you write. You write even if it is utter drivel. Then you sit and write some more. You might have paw marks going in all directions for a while but it really does not matter. Eventually you will have your paw marks going in the direction you want them to go in. Now, sit there and write something...anything at all...

Rachel Fenton said...

But I'm sitting here with one child snoring his head off and another designing a new universe and I have tears streaming down my face because I cannot change the things which need to be changed and ...

catdownunder said...

Now hang on, you have a child designing a new universe????? Step inside it...write a book!
You cannot change everything. You can change some things. Accept what you cannot change. Learn to live with the possible.
And here is a hug. ((H))

patteran said...

You are a published writer: you have a blog. Now your readers must think their own thoughts about what you have reported. Several consciousnesses focussed on the same theme. Better than nothing.

Rachel Fenton said...

What about all the poor buggers with no voice, no blog? Everything is so pointless...and we go on and on and then...poof...

Donna Hosie said...

But you can't change the world, and until you accept that, you will continue to beat yourself up over things that are out of your control.

Your responsibility is to yourself and your children. Some things are too enormous to look at the bigger picture, so don't. Do as much as you can with the constraints that are placed upon us; you can do no more.

Rachel Fenton said...

I want to do more, Donna, I want to wrap my arms around that kid and pick the glass from her face - not stand and take a photograph - because it's all equally as pointless but somehow it seems to mean more...

Rachel Fenton said...

Right then...I'll do what I can...my son's filled his nappy and the sun is shining...onwards...tomorrow is my writing day...

Lori said...

You are a beautiful human being, Rachel, and I know you do what you have to do, on your path. I do think like you that writers need to write about what matters and what needs to be changed indeed. I think writers could make a difference. But many of us only want to entertain. Isn't that a waste of such talents? Of such power?

Kass said...

This is the very reason your ARE a writer. Because you have the ability to be broken open. You FEEL things. You engage with humanity. You are a voyeur of the human experience. It DOES matter that things affect you. You wonder what you can do. The Telling IS the doing.

Through our blogs, we're gathering in a circle around a fire, talking and crying, laughing and cheering, trying to make sense of this crazy, mixed-up world. And if, in the end, it makes us feel less odd, less lonely and less pessimistic, maybe we won't go out and slap someone.

Annotated Margins said...

To change the world, you'd have be God in a Christian sense. To pick the glass from the little girl's face, you'd have to be there. Since neither is the case, you do what you can do... hug and love your children, hug and love your friends, hug and love yourself, and know that...

A man walking down the beach came upon a man who stood among countless washed up sea stars. He was picking them up one at a time trying to throw them into the sea. The walking man hollered, "You know you can't save them all." The other man stopped for just a minute with a sea star in his hand and replied, "I know, but I can save this one." And he threw the sea star back into the sea.

Rachel Fenton said...

The pen is mightier than the sword...what can stop a bullet?

I'll do what I can then and reserve a slap for myself...


Thank you for taking the time to read...and for your comments which I have read carefully and am grateful for... and I am thankful that there are decent human beings left...

Rachel Fenton said...

AM, didn't see you there, did you write that? It's beautiful. Thank you.

Annotated Margins said...

I like reading Norman Fischer, and I just read this on today's Whiskey River blog post:

"We're all looking for heaven, which is later and elsewhere. Actually everything in front of us right now is a miracle, here and then gone, forever. What's the nature of that miracle? I don't know: no one does, and that's it's nature. You can't even really say that: but you have to keep on asking the question. That's what makes us human."
- Norman Fischer

Thomas Taylor said...

It's brave of you to give out such a heartfelt cry, Rachel. Most of us just use our blogs for preening.

So that's one small difference You've already made.

Rachel Fenton said...

Thank you, AM, I'll go read more...not sure I'm ready to be philosophical yet though...trying to accept being human...guess it's no harder or easier than being anything else...depends where you live..

Rachel Fenton said...

Hey, Thomas, you were quiet there...not really brave...more career suicide probably...I don't have tv because I dislike the way the media feeds information to society but I read the news...analyse the text for bias and try to be impartial but then...I don't even know what to say about it anymore...it's there, isn't it? Because it has no sound and doesn't move it doesn't mean I can't hear or feel it...rambling....I wanted to make a real effort to get published to make my kids proud of me...I would give up my shot at getting my novels published to have saved a kid like that...anyway...thanks, Thomas...

Sara Crowley said...

There are way too any hard, harsh, hideous, cruel things in the world. Yesterday I was crying as I read an account of about 2 young boys, my son's age, who attacked two other young boys in the most brutal, inhumane, unthinkable ways. The court case reports that they are from a violent family and have taken drugs/drink etc.

I think that I write to try to communicate and interpret the world. Sometimes just writing for me helps to work through some of the unfathomable worldly tangles.

Individually we can be the best friends/neighbours/people we can be. We can shine goodness as best we can.

Elisabeth said...

Rachel, stick with your rage over such terrible injustice. Your writing will carry you through.

I love AM's quote here about saving the stars. That's what you're doing with every meaningful post you write. At least one person, one star gets to where they belong, in this case in the sea.

Rachel Fenton said...

Sara, I heard about that case but I cannot look out for it - I know I can't handle reading it, not right now. I grew up not so far from where it happened, I know kids like those from when I was at school..have worked with kids who have made decisions about which path to follow...to make something of themselves, or try to, or to think "what's the point?"...I keep trying to write because I hang on to the hope that there has to be a point to keep on trying...

...and Elisabeth, I will...I'll worry when I am not affected by things....a sea of souls...I'll get chucking...


...and thanks...I know there are more good poeple out there, like you, than bad, though I suppose it's knowing that which makes it the harder to fathom when the bad stuff happens so often...senseless...thanks for wanging in a hope line...

Jim Murdoch said...

If we didn’t have journalists and their photographers out in places like Haiti then the world would never know how bad things are. Individually I have no doubt that they do their bit when there but even if they never lifted a hand other than to click a shutter that would be enough. Like many I have the photo of Phan Thị Kim Phúc, the nine-year-old Vietnamese girl running down a road near Trang Bang after a South Vietnamese Air Force napalm attack, embedded in my mind. The same goes for the young man shot in front of our eyes during the '68 Tet Offensive. The sad thing is that over thirty years on I’m still seeing images like this and they don’t affect me like they once did. That doesn’t mean they have lost their power and for some the photos from Haiti will be the first images of a disaster like this that they will have seen and they will be the ones that will become a part of them.

Do you know what I remember about Live Aid? Bob Geldof. Now, why him? Because of the state he worked himself into. You could see how frustrated he was. He didn’t have the words. What words were there? But then we have this wee, scruffy, Irishman getting all worked up at swearing at the British public before the watershed: "Fuck the address, let's get the numbers!" After the outburst, giving increased to £300 per second. He reminded us, the generation who’d cracked jokes in the playground about starving Biafrans, that these were real people; you’d think it was his family that was dying out there and, of course, we’re all related if you go back far enough.

I don’t know the people in Haiti. But I know you. I should feel for them but what I feel is for you. You have become a proxy. I should feel the way you do. We all should. We’ve forgotten how. That’s why we need writers, to hold our hands and lead us into scary places we'd rather not go.

Rachel Fenton said...

I have that photograph, Jim, along with one of a man being beheaded in a public square - before and after the blade came down - in a highschool text book I didn't return. And others. And for the most part I, too, amble through life with little daily thought about such matters because I am too caught up in my immediate sphere of existence to give them the time of consideration...but I notice and they all get stored in this part of my brain which feels as though it's going to bleed into my every thought and sometimes it's too much...I remember kids in my class laughing at these images...I remember leaving the room to be sick after looking at the beheading one...I remember Live Aid, the swearing and the pot-bellied kids with big heads and spindle limbs and all the bloody flies, the colour of the dust and the richness of contrast where a droplet of saliva or a tear escaped and the flies goung in and out of gawping mouths and feeeding on those tears, and how for years afterwards all people remembered was the godawful song...I remember the start to Isherwood's "Goodbye Berlin"..."I am a camera.." and there are dozens of others who have used that same line in one way or another but there's one fundamental problem with that idea...a camera cannot feel, it cannot move of its own accord...we can, I can...and by that I do not mean I can or would go to Haiti or wherever because I wouldn't stretch already crippled resources with my own ineptitude and I wouldn't risk leaving my children without a parent but I want to do more than watch...I think there's a difference between passivity and ignorance...observing and ignoring...I don't want to be ignorant...my thoughts are so all over the place I don't know what I'm trying to say even..Jim, thank you for reading and for taking the time to make a difference to me...

Andrea said...

I tried to comment on this yesterday - but your comment box doesn't like me. On a more serious note, while art can seem trivial when compared to the pain and suffering some people go through on a daily basis, I think that it can give some kind of a hope - I think of how listening to music helped me during admittedly much less tougher times - perhaps the frailty and shortcomings of art can be what makes it powerful in a way.

Rachel Fenton said...

The comments box does eat a lot of comments, Andrea, I apologise for the hassle.

I don't feel like I am helping anyone with my writing at the moment but perhaps I am not the best judge either. I hope I'm not coming accross as trying to be all cause worthy or similar. I read the news and just cried "why?" I have no answers and I'm not clear in my own mind of what I think art is or should be beyond that I think it is a wider, more universal, "why?"....thank you for coming back to comment and I really appreciate you taking the time...it's a lot to think about....

Elisabeth said...

What a wonderful expression of our connectivity here, Jim. I thank you.

I love the idea that you and I and all other writers - and I add here artists of all types who represent humankind and life - join hands to speak about things that would otherwise not be said or heard.

Andrea said...

Definitely and it's good to be thinking about these issues - so I'm really glad you wrote about it.

Elisabeth said...

Rachel, you write so powerfully, just here right now in a small, easily overlooked comment.

It's proof positive to me that your writing will survive.

This comment of yours wants to be a posting to give it the respect it deserves, as do so many of Jim's comments (and some others as well).

These conversations are so helpful and indispensable. Thank goodness for the blogosphere.

And thank you again Rachel for your heartfelt and passionate words.

Rachel Fenton said...

Elisabeth, Andrea, my comments are nothing without you and others to read them; everyone who has read and commented has brought life into the words, if only into the words, in this comments thread and that's something, that's a start...we can all build on this...I don't know if there's more to be said now or if I can say it/write it...I'm going to stop commenting now but feel free to add your own thoughts and I'll put something together with them for another post soon. Thanks again.

Elisabeth said...

That's a terrific idea, Rachel. It's wonderful when a post takes off and comments follow.

It's even better when there's a sort of synthesis down the track from which to build further conversations.

Rachel Fox said...

I read this post when you first put it up but couldn't find anything online then about the shooting you mentioned. Then a little later I saw the photo and the details that went with it (on a blog somewhere) and there was a comment about how cheap this girl's life was (to be shot for so little). What with that and articles about how very little of the money we send gets through in food/water/direct help...it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the horror of it all, the tragedy, the unnecessary unfairness of care/aid/finance. I've certainly been feeling that. And then my daughter comes home all excited about money they've raised at school...and what do you say? 'It's all hopeless, the world is unfair?' No, I didn't say that. At 9 I'm still keeping some of that from her...when I can.

At times like this writing can seem like a bloody stupid thing to be doing. We see nurses on TV and think 'look at them, they can DO something!' But we can't all be nurses. We just can't. I'd be a totally crap nurse for a start.
x

Titus said...

Rachel, I send a small part of my heart to you and can only echo what many have said already: we can't change a world, but we can change our small part of it. I do my best to be decent to other people: I may not be able to love, help or change them, but I can be decent to them. And decency involves truth, sharing thoughts, and listening.
Meanwhile, on a far more absurdist note, I'd recommend a Bill and Ted film. "Be excellent to each other".

Golden West said...

None of us ever know when what we hold dear will be swept away or forever altered. I think we have a duty to be grateful for what we do have and to live great, full lives with whatever blessings are at hand, whether it be in obscurity or more widely recognized.

Never easy.

Rachel Fenton said...

Live for now and do what we can then? I'm up for that. Thanks GW.

Dominic Rivron said...

A bit like Andrea - I thought commented on this, but it doesn't seem to have worked.

There is still an industry which has relied on the fact that to "publish" writing it needs to be printed and distributed. Will it go on, or will it wither? I think it'll stay around, but the fact remains, if you blog, you are a writer.

What is the point of being a writer, artist, musician, etc? To give people something to live for. It can all seem trivial at times of crisis, when life for some is reduced to merely trying to stay alive - but, in the long run, it's not.

Writing doesn't change things. People's responses to their circumstances do that.

Rachel Fenton said...

You're right, Dominic, I just see myself as a regular dude and not a proper writer sometimes - especially when I'm feeling quite low or lacking confidence - working on it!

It can all seem very futile at times, for me, when I posted this, it did, but I do see the value in the arts.

Do you not think though that sometimes circumstances can paralyse - defeat potential?

Thank you for a really indepth response to this post.