More than writing

December 21, 2010 | By | Reply More

Several years ago, my neighbor Tony and I were talking about a social issue. Tony is a good thoughtful man, and the conversation turned rather intense. In the middle of the conversation, I blurted out something like “I’m really concerned about that issue.”

Tony shot back,” No, you are not concerned. If you were, you be doing something about it.”

He caught me flat-footed, and his words have haunted me ever since. I think Tony was right. If we care about something, we should be doing something about it, or at least trying to do something about it. Further, blogging about a problem is quite often not doing too terribly much about that problem. I’m don’t mean to disparage writing, because I very much think that written information can change the world by helping people understand it better. But writing about things is a method that too often shows its limits, especially when it turns into ranting. And an especially annoying kind of ranting is when one rants to others who are already sympathetic to the cause. And the worst kind of writing is ranting to sympathetic audiences in ways that are mostly calculated to show off how much one knows or to try to draw attention an ostentatious writing style.

So here’s my resolution for 2011. Here’s to doing more than merely writing, but actually trying to change the world in physical ways. And to the extent that I choose to write, here’s to writing in a straight-forward way to audiences that are not quite sympathetic. And here’s to writing that aims to get people out of their seats and into the streets. Here’s to stepping out from behind my computer more than I have before, and trying to make a tangible difference.

I will continue to take my writing seriously next year. I have lots of ideas bubbling in my head, and many of these are ideas inspired by cognitive science ideas that bear upon the fact that human animals so often live dysfunctionally. I will try to keep my concerns in stride better than I have in the past, because being too serious is not effective, and good humor can serve as a sharp blade that often slices through close-mindedness. Here’s to the upcoming year, during which I will work harder to make my blogging process more connected and more relevant to the real life concerns I articulate.


Category: Community, Writing

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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