Thursday, September 15, 2011

Between the Seconds

So here I am again. It's been a while.

It certainly has.

Borat presents a rather apt topic. Why have I remained silent so long? The short answer is that I've been busy. The real answer is that I've been lazy.

Not drinking, though.  I promise.

Well, I suppose both answers are partially true. I have certainly been busy. And also lazy...

OK, I'm not getting anywhere with this. The truth is that pursuing writing extracurricularly (not a word, I know) is difficult. The reality is that while we have dreams and other lofty goals, our mortal need for food and shelter take precedence over such trivialities as building a writing career. Yet we must do it anyway.

One of the more interesting history lectures I've had the privilege to benefit from in school deals with the wealthy upper class of America's Gilded Age, and their theories of the Gospel of Wealth and Social Darwinism. For the uninitiated, the former essentially states that the accumulation of wealth is good, and that folks who are wealthy deserve to be wealthy and that those who are poor deserve to be poor. According to the Gospel, if the poor had enough resourcefulness and essential pluck, it would be possible for such people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps into the grandeur of America's elite. Concurrently, Social Darwinism makes good use of Herbert Spencer's phrase "survival of the fittest," (a term not, ironically enough, belonging to Charles Darwin) supporting the Gospel of Wealth by stating that only the best and brightest eventually became wealthy, while it was just the chaff that remained in the the lower social classes.

In practice, however, this theory is not always valid -- especially for newly-arrived immigrants to late 19th and early 20th century America, when the Gospel of Wealth and Social Darwinism developed. Most of America's self-made men -- men like Andrew Carnegie -- were given opportunities and help all their lives, all of which combined to help them climb the social ladders. It's also worth mentioning that the vast majority of America's upper class became wealthy by inheriting it, followed closely by folks marrying into it. Self-made fortunes were a distant third.

For many of America's poor, however, no such opportunities -- or even basic education or a roof over their heads -- existed. Famous contemporary photographer Jacob August Riis documented the plight of newly-arrived immigrants in America's inner cities.

Opportunities are abound.

I digress, however. My point is that such theories as the "myth" of the self-made man -- myth, half-truth, or not -- eventually came to embody our national identity. Ask anyone on the street, and they're likely to tell you that they believe it is possible, through hard work and pluck, for anyone to become rich. The simple truth is, however, that the majority of people die in the same class they were born into. Most people have dreams, myself obviously included. The problem with dreams, however, is that most go unfulfilled. Life gets in the way. For me, life includes school and work. Most successful writers faced the same problem when they were trying to break in. And all of them overcame it. This post is as much an affirmation to myself as anything else. Those times I spend relaxing after work or school, I need to spend writing. My best work needs to be between the seconds of the rest of my life.

My dream is important to me, and although I might never achieve meteoric success and riches (and I'm not sure I want to), I, like most, believe hard work is necessary to bring my dream to fruition. If I don't get there, I feel I have no one other than myself to blame. I may need special opportunities and a measure of luck, but I believe I can do it.

As always, thank y'all for reading, and I hope to read your comments soon.

Remember to spay and neuter your pets,

J

P.S. -- Some of you may have noticed the Five for Fighting song near the top of my home page. It will come into play in a future post, so listen well. :)

1 comment:

  1. I believe you can do it too, you are a great writer!

    ReplyDelete