Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Writers Make Great Human Beings

I don't have a whole lot to say again this week. Sorry. A lot of things are up in the air for me right now -- things I don't want to talk about publicly. Let's just say I'm preoccupied and having trouble finding inspiration for this blog.

But the most powerful thing I've been reminded of these past few weeks is what an incredible group of people writers are. How so many rally around to offer advice, support and help, without even being asked.

Sure, there are always some bad eggs in the basket, but with all the things I've done in my life, I don't think I've ever met such a supportive, interesting and genuinely generous and gracious group of people. ("That's a lot of alliteration for anxious anchors." Sorry, that's a quote from one of my favorite movies... Broadcast News.)

In one of my previous lives, I worked in a business environment where arrogance and posturing were the norm. Where success and recognition wasn't as much about what you accomplished, but about how many people you told about what you accomplished -- no matter how small that accomplishment might be. I swear I worked with people who did little else than toot their own horns for a living. Now, don't get me wrong. I met a lot of great people, too... It just seemed like too often people got ahead for the wrong reasons. In fact, in my last job of my previous career, I worked with someone who defined his success by how small he could make other people feel or appear. Toxic.

None of that kind of behavior cuts it in writing. No matter how many people you know, or how much you want to brag about various accolades, or how much you want to intimidate people, it all comes down to the work, to the writing.

Plus, in my experience, the vast majority of writers are genuinely nice people. Anyone have any theories why writers make such fabulous human beings?

I have a few, but am interested to hear what others think, first.


Eileen said...

I've got one! We are always trying to look at all sides of an issue. We're trying to see our hero's and heroine's perspectives, but also our villain's and secondary character's. It forces us to be empathetic and understanding.

Hugs, Maureen. Hang in there.

Stephanie Doyle said...

We also always have to be very logical. Plots must follow a logical path. I find that when a person really looks at an issue and can take "emotion" out -they tend to be less, mean, petty, resentful...

Total guess there.

My mother always told me anybody who "tells" you how happy they are, rich they are, or succesful they are ... is lying. This was a very good life lesson.

Happy rich and succusful people don't need to talk about it because they are living it.

And I'll second Eileen's thoughts. This business is a rollercoaster, and maybe it feels like it's plunging right now, but it will eventually go up again.

Maureen McGowan said...

I was thinking about the empathy thing, too. I remember reading an article way back where someone had done a study concluding that people who simply READ fiction were more empathetic than others.

So I imagine that capacity for empathy is even bigger with writers.

And Stephanie, although it almost seems contradictory, I think you're on to something too. That ability to logically think through things makes us good problem solvers.

Empathy and problem solving. Fabulous combination.

Anonymous said...

I tend to think I lead with my emotions and fall short on the logic side but you've got me rethinking that. I am a problem solver and can't sit around for long waiting for somebody else to solve it. :) Wonderful, heartfelt post!

Molly O'Keefe said...

I was going to write this really funny comment cursing everyone out and telling you all how fricking happy I am...but I honestly couldn't figure out how to do it. Writing a funny comment is a problem I could not solve - so instead, I will say the empathy part makes total sense and while we might sometimes respond emotionally to things, I think most of us watch for fall out. We're observers for the most part - which is why when all those train wrecks happen on loops it's usually just a handful of people acting like a-holes, while the rest of us are lurking and taking notes on bad human behavior.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who gets criticism on a regular basis and smiles and listens and acts on it can't be a raging, walking ego.

Wendy S Marcus said...

Hi Maureen!

I hope things work themselves out in the near future.

I know this is totally off topic but I wanted to tell Molly: Great article in RWR!

Molly O'Keefe said...

Hey thanks Wendy - that article stressed me out more than any deadline I've I'm glad to hear it worked for you!!

Stephanie Doyle said...

Eileen - Vomit Chip is not tasty... I don't care who you are.

But this totally takes me back to one of my favorite Aaron Sorkin lines (American President - not West Wing.)

"In the absesence of great leadershipo people will drink the sand."

Response -

"They don't drink the sand because there's no water, they drink the sand because they don't know the difference."

It's totally harsh - and paints a horrible picture of the masses. Me I'm a little more optomistic. Except when it comes to things where I feel so disconnected.

Is Twilight good and I just dont' get it. Or do readers not get that Twilight is not good.

Maureen McGowan said...

I think Twilight is good in the same way that The DaVinci Code was good -- but also in a totally different, way. LOL.

I guess what I mean is that while neither were well-written in a craft kind of way, so that it was easy for writers and reviewers and the most savvy readers to pick them apart, for their target audience, they were hard to put down.

I think Myers really tapped into that breathy big emotion thing that teenaged girls feel. Everything is about them and their feelings.
Two hot dangerous guys want her! And it's all hot and cold with the one she wants. I want you more than life! No, I changed my mind, go away!
And she's special (her blood smells extra good). And the bad guys want to eat her...

It's all very primal and really speaks to teen girls I think. (But I also get why Eileen thinks it mirrors abusive relationships.)

I say all this like I've read the books... After seeing the first movie, I read the book, skimming the first half, but actually kind of enjoying the second half. But not enough to want to read the next books in the series. But I have been going to see the movies... Guess I'm still a teenaged girl inside.

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