Sunday, December 21, 2014

Empathy (part II): The Writer . . . sort of


I've had this post done for almost a month now, as a follow up to the first about Empathy. It was going to be even better than the first, make a bunch a brilliant points on the subject, add more clarity to my already proposed suspicion on the word Empathy. In short, it detailed how the writer is simultaneously a Masochist and a Sadist, the one feeding the other. How the writer takes pleasure in creating characters and scenes of misery, sorrow, death, destruction, all things negative (and yes, I know some writers also write happy thing) while also enjoying the ability to inflict the pains of those experiences on readers. It was going to be my opus.

Then I read over it again.

And again.

I couldn’t figure out what it was, but the whole thing was just off.

So I let it sit for a few weeks. Then read it again.

Still, something was just not right. All the awesome ideas and conjectures and conclusions were right, they were clear, and they would change everything. I left nothing to chance, making sure that the progression of how a writer is a Sadomasochist could not be argued.

Then this morning I realized: who cares? Who cares what I think about Empathy? Or anything? As a writer I should know better. The job of the writer is to show the reader all things, including the writer's thoughts and feelings about life, the universe, and everything. Not to explain them. That’s all I’ve been doing on here for the last few years, explaining myself, my experiences, my thoughts and ideas and ideals. I’ve been telling.

No more telling. Hopefully. I’ll just end with two quotes that were going to be in the original post by one of my creative writing professors:

“The only job of the writer is to make the reader see.”

“You should care about what you care about, write about what is important to you.”

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