Happy Election Day. By late tonight this rancorous, divisive national nightmare of a campaign will be over…maybe. I’ve followed social media about as much as I can stand this election season, reading the Twitter posts of the many supporters of this candidate or that one, as they castigate real and imagined enemies for daring to think differently. I’ve even come up with a term for them: bittertweet. How’s that for a hashtag?
Not to be preachy, but I always thought being a good writer involved being able to understand other people’s lives and points of view.
It’s time for some writerly healing.
What better way to move past our anger than with a few carefully chosen aphorisms from my personal collection of “Things Said By Writers and Other Sometimes Famous People,” and which are designed to help writers refocus on our craft and careers. I often read a few of these when I’m in need of inspiration, and I think maybe it’s time to share.
And if you don’t like these, please don’t send me a #bittertweet.
I have no use for politics. – Jose Luis Borges
Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends? – Abraham Lincoln
A belief is like a guillotine, just as heavy, just as light. – Franz Kafka
What does it matter what you say about people? – Marlene Dietrich
Moral complexity is a luxury. You might be forced to read it in school, but a lot of people have hard lives. They come home at the end of the day, they feel they’ve been jerked around by the world yet again for another day. The last thing they want to do is read Alice Munro, who is always pointing toward the possibility that you’re not the heroic figure you think of yourself as, that you might be the very dubious figure that other people think of you as. That’s the last thing you’d want if you’ve had a hard day. You want to be told good people are good, bad people are bad, and love conquers all. And love is more important than money. You know, all these schmaltzy tropes. That’s exactly what you want if you’re having a hard life. Who am I to tell people that they need to have their noses rubbed in moral complexity? – Jonathan Franzen
Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us. – Calvin, of Calvin & Hobbes (Bill Watterson, creator)
Only connect. – EM Forster
If you haven’t already voted, get out there. Otherwise, have an excellent next four years. –me
Image Credit: Constantino Brumidi [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons. Picture taken by user:Raul654 around Washington DC on May 7, 2005