April 23, 2020 in Dag

I’m a writer, not an explorer

Today I’m feeling a bit grumpy. Grumpy, grumpy grumpy. And when I feel grumpy, there is only one thing I can possibly do. Write a grumpy post.

So here goes. Here’s my grumble for the day. Here’s the first world problem I’m going to make a really big deal out of.

I see it all the time when I’m reading the more artsy sections of the newspaper. It’s usually when someone is being interviewed. They always talk about what issues they want to explore. Whether it’s the inequalities of capitalism or the complications of gender or just the general representation of art, it always ends up being about exploration.

It started with artists. Artists were never just creating art. They were always exploring this or exploring that. But then it started to migrate. Before too long, writers were taking up this exploration motif. Any serious author worth their salt was finding some kind of issue to explore.

But then, the whole thing got pushed just that little bit too far. The final straw was reached. I was reading pop music reviews. And what were the pop musicians talking about? They were talking about the issues they were exploring in their music. Whether it was some deep personal pain in their lives, or some emotional entanglement or whatever. It was all about exploration.

This is pop music we’re talking about. Pop music. What would The Beatles say? What would The Stones say? They never talked about exploring this or exploring that. Pop music was about fun. It was about joy. It was never about exploring stuff. Sure, pop music could have a serious side. There are heaps of great pop songs that relate to significant issues. But exploring those issues? No way. That’s not what pop music does.

I’ve often made the comparison between my writing and pop music. I like to think that the stories I write are fun and joyous, like a great pop song. And so I’d like to make it very clear. My stories do not explore anything.

I’m a writer, not an explorer. When I sit down at my computer to work on my latest story, I do not don big heavy boots, a thick weatherproof jacket, or a pith helmet. I do not collect rations, or gather a troupe of camels to accompany myself. I just sit down and I write a story.

Sure, amidst the fun and joy, my stories can still be about serious or important stuff. I wouldn’t ever try to deny that. But do they explore that stuff? No way.

So there you go. That’s my grumpy post for the week. Hopefully, next week I’ll be in a better mood. We’ll see.

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