Writing as Privilege

Often when I drive I25 through Denver, I feel a sort of global despair. Bumper to bumper across four, six, sometimes eight lanes. And this is one city in the world. The realization springs to the forefront of my silly mind that there are just too many of us. Sure, I fear the environmental impact of all those vehicles and all  those drivers. I feel too the falsity of telling every one of them that they can write. I’m guilty of making this assertion, sure that each of the billions riding along on this big-wheel Earth has a unique story and the ability to tell it. A good writing coach, teacher, editor can bring that story out, make it beckon like a hundred dollar bill on the sidewalk. Just pick up a pen or sit in front of a computer and write your heart out.

Yes, we all have that right, but please don’t everyone do it. I cannot keep up with all the good writing as it is. I know that the world does not need another book and I have no right to clutter the market the way those cars and trucks clutter the highway. However, I am one of the privileged people in the world who has claimed the name of “writer.” Having done so, here I am in front of a screen in a hotel “business office” clacking the keys and showing you what I think. The ability and the right to do so may be universal, but the practice and the will to speak out divide us into a world of read-write and read-only creatures. My job requires me to stay on the binary side of this divide and to coerce others to support me in my semi-exclusive, second-hand life wherein I recycle jeans and tote bags and metaphors. Even today when I’m supposed to be taking a break, I want to see the words assemble like a marching band, each one playing its part in the whole damned creation.

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