Our current civilization is built on many dangerous fallacies. Most of them have been debunked, but their impact is still felt. Here’s a few off the top of my head:
- Some people are better than others.
- The “better” people are entitled to take things from their “inferiors”.
- The world is here for human use and it doesn’t matter how we use (or abuse) it.
- Wealth is more important than ensuring that all have enough.
- The natural world, both plant and animal, has no importance on its own.
I just read a short piece on how the indigenous people of what is now the Texas Gulf Coast lived for the 2,500 years before the Europeans invaded. They fished to their heart’s content in the bays protected from the Gulf by the barrier islands. They hunted inland for bison, deer, and other creatures, careful not to trespass into the territory of other peoples who lived farther inland. Lots of plant life grew in the area. They used bits of oil that came up in the Gulf to seal things.
Except for mosquitoes — I’m sure they had mosquitoes — it sounds like a pretty good life. The climate there is mostly warm and there must have been good sources of food year round.
I note that they did not build luxury homes and condos on the barrier islands, just temporary shelters where people could gather. I suspect they knew the signs of approaching hurricanes and moved inland ahead of them.
Here in California, the indigenous people used fire effectively in managing the forests and grasslands. They figured out that it was a necessary part of this environment. They, too, had a balanced relationship with a bountiful environment.
And now here we are, with the Gulf on fire from burst pipelines and wildfires already raging through the west ahead of fire season, plus condos on barrier islands collapsing. The people who settled here long before my Anglo ancestors knew how to deal with the environment, but their knowledge was dismissed and ignored.
Look at us now. Continue reading “Things That Keep Me Up at Night”…
When Deborah J. Ross interviewed me for her blog, one of her questions made me reflect on myself as a writer. She asked, “[H]ow does your work differ from others in your genre?”
I reflected a bit, and came to this realization: “My stories sound like my stories, regardless of what subset of the genre they fit in.”
Then this week, I shared a couple of poems I wrote with my sister, Katrinka Moore, who is a poet. (I don’t consider myself a poet; I’ve just been playing around with poetry to learn new ways of looking at language and shake up my creativity.)
She made this observation: “Your poems are very you – as you speaking – and yet very much poems.”
I think a similar observation could be applied to my essays, maybe even my book reviews. What I write sounds like something I would write or say. The only significant writing I’ve done that doesn’t sound like me on some core level is probably straightforward journalism. That might also explain why journalism never satisfied my writing urge, even though I found the work interesting and rewarding: It didn’t have anything to do with me.
My stories, my essays, my poems, all of them have everything to do with me. I don’t mean they’re autobiographical; except for a few pieces I call “flash memoir,” most of them aren’t. But there’s something at the core that comes from me and the way I think and look at the world.
The more I think about this, the more I think this explains why I write and why writing the things I do is very important to me. Continue reading “What I Write and Why I Write It”…
A few years ago I heard someone ask Vonda N. McIntyre which of her novels was her favorite. Her answer? “The one I’m working on now.”
It’s possible that she meant that she was most excited about that particular book, the one she finished just before she died. It is a brilliant book.
But I took it more generally to mean that whatever she was working on at the time someone asked that question would be her favorite.
I like that idea, though I suspect it’s rather a romantic one. After all, writers who become known for certain books often find themselves in a position where they have to keep writing them long after they’re sick of the subject.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle famously tried to kill off Sherlock Holmes so that he could quit writing those stories, but it didn’t work. I suspect strongly that his favorite Holmes story – assuming he hadn’t become so sick of doing the work that he didn’t like any of them by the end – would not have been any of the later ones he wrote.
I’m sure many other authors have felt something similar, though they’ve kept it to themselves since people were paying them to keep writing the same thing. After all, most writers need the money. Continue reading “Naming Favorites”…