Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: responsibility

Friday Story Bazaar ~ Tale Six


ResponseAbility

by
Alexander M Zoltai
Dedicated to
Sunandita

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She couldn’t wait for her birthday to arrive.

Six weeks till she’d turn fifteen.

So much to do to get ready…

Her friends had trouble understanding her seriousness about it all.

Sue had said, “Come on, Mary, lighten up—it’s just fifteen not thirty-two!”

But, Mary didn’t know how to explain what was going to happen…

~~~~~~~~~

She was very near the top.

She’d started at sundown.

It was now pitch-dark.

She knew the clouds swirled below her.

She knew an eagle soared overhead.

She gave it her all—hauled her body up over an outcrop to the peak and sat, happily exhausted.

Gazing at the stars she prepared for the final step.

She jumped… up… and soared…

Then, she woke and spoke to herself:

“Will it really be that important?”

~~~~~~~~~

One week to go…

Mary finally figured out what to say to Sue.

She caught up with her at the mall and offered to buy her a tea.

After they got their order and sat down, Mary said:

“So… The reason turning fifteen is so important—Wait…You remember my parents are religious, right?”

“Yeah, but not so you could tell—just real nice people.”

“They are—best parents ever—but, very religious; and, in our Faith, fifteen is the age of choice—could say age of responsibility. I have to decide, have decided really, whether I’ll be an official member of the Faith—follow all the laws.”

“Laws?”

“Yep—not many really, mostly a lot of guidance on how to be of service to humanity…”

“Laws…?”

“Yeah, some real laws, like no alcohol.”

“What else…”

“There’s a nineteen day fast in the spring.”

“Fast? No food?”

“No food, no drink; but, only from Sunup to Sundown.”

“Hmmm…”

“Actually it’s good for your health to fast…”

“Yeah, yeah—what else?”

“I get to choose one of three special prayers to say every day—already been saying the short one since I was five—might say the medium and long ones for a bit—see how they feel…”

“What else?”

“I think the only other one is saying some of the sacred writings every morning and evening.”

“That’s it?”

“Pretty sure—yeah.”

“Don’t know about the fast…”

“Me either; but, I gotta try.”

“Why?”

“Why…?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Why what?”

“Why do you have to make it official, make yourself follow laws.”

“Well…”

“Yeah…?”

“Well… I want to do what my Prophet says is good for me…”

“How do you know your Prophet knows what’s good for you?”

“My parents explained a lot of it to me, I been studying hard since I was eleven—it just seems right in my mind—more important… in my heart…”

“Now you’re talkin’—heart…”

“Yeah…”

“Yep.”

“You said it!”

“Absolutely!”

The girls dissolved into sweet giggles…

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Writers’ Responsibilities ~ Revisited …


In the two posts, World Crises And The Fiction Writer ~ Can They Help Humanity? and Two Post Mashup + A Video ~ Writers’ Responsibilities, various ideas of the writer’s responsibilities to society were explored.

One of the comments, from a man who has taught English for over 40 years, was challenging enough that I felt compelled to feature it in this post. I encourage you to also visit his blog for some equally challenging sonnets.

I’m hoping that those who read the following comment will let all their heart-felt thoughts pour into comments of their own

~~~

“It is odd that while we know that in the greatest periods of any particular art, its purpose was religious in scope, not at all subjective but objective in its presentation of the ideas and beliefs; the persecution of so many of the artists of any given period of greatness before their ultimate acceptance implies that whatever the message or content of a work, it “hit home” in such a way as to enrage the secular and religious leadership who openly opposed such artists of stature who are today revered as the “greats” of the past.

“Ultimately the works of such artists outlived their opponents. In the struggle to make the transition between zeitgeists comes the problem of what to say and what not to say; what to portray and what not to portray, with the confusion being that in the transition, there is no precedent for the artist’s work while at the same time, it has become patently obvious that what passed for art in the past was no longer capable of either sustaining or maintaining the old world order.

“The result, then, is that literature and the other arts are reduced to what amounts to mere entertainment with no true purpose but to while away the hours of some very bored audiences and/or readers. I think we are there at present. For the most part, artists seem to me to be ‘closet entrepreneurs’ no matter how seemingly positive their apparent productions or the causes they appear to be furthering.

“The past is finished; the future is not yet here. This leads both producers and consumers of the arts with no choice but to demand the ‘quick fix’ that is the very definition of entertainment rather than the didactic purpose of the arts in their generic state. Socrates was sentenced to death for his assertions; Galileo was merely told to shut his mouth about the now obvious position of the earth vis-à-vis the solar system.

“How long the present state of affairs will continue is at best a guestimate but I suspect it will continue right up to the moment of the physical results of mental and spiritual deprivation; in short, nothing short of an atomic bomb or a Third World War or repeated warnings in the form of earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear accidents as were seen recently in Japan and Haiti will jumpstart the present state of the arts to begin to move forward into anything other than hortatory goals.

“It does not mean that writers should cease writing, but it does preclude expectations in kudos or even remuneration for writing except in rare cases of accidental acclaim.

“Writing for the joy of it achieves a great end in and of itself because it is free of the active prostitution of the arts and connects with the few in this world who hold to integrity above the advantages of fascist circles of  ‘quick fixes’ that leave the ‘mainstream’ at the top and everything else so far off the chart that there is no register in the chart at all.”
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Two Post Mashup + A Video ~ Writers’ Responsibilities


Earlier this month, I wrote a post called, World Crises And The Fiction Writer ~ Can They Help Humanity?.

Four days ago, I read Ollin Morales post, What Ever Happened to The Timely Artist? (which has disappeared since this post was first written:-( .

In his post, Ollin said:

“…artists aren’t willing to exert their power anymore, nor, I would argue, are they taking up the great responsibility conferred upon them to help people understand the mood, or at least tell people, simply:

In the words of Buffalo Springfield:

There’s bad lines being drawn, / and nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong…  / Paranoia strikes deep, / into your life it will creep.  / It starts when you’re always afraid.  / Step out of line, the man comes / and takes you a-way. / Stop, now! What’s that sound? / Everybody look what’s going down!”

In my post, among other questions, I asked:

* Is fiction a proper tool for purposely proposing solutions to world crises?

* Does it go against some “law” of creativity to ask writers to make their fiction conform to some response to world conditions?

* What is the role in society of the fiction writer?

Another question I asked was:

“…can writers be more aware of how their work could include elements of plot or character or theme that, even if in a small way, contribute to a saner, healthier, more tranquil world?”

And, Ollin had said:

“My end goal is to give readers hope, strength and tools to get through a challenging age like this one. It’s not about whether I’ll succeed at this goal, it’s about whether I am trying to succeed. Because that’s my role as an artist in the world.”

The true beauty of blogging is the conversation the comments can become.

Here are some snippets from my readers’ comments:

“I’ve always been impressed with the TV show, Star Trek (the original). Gene Roddenberry challenged the society of that time to consider a world with social and ethnic diversity. It was a very idealistic story, at a time when equal rights was still in its infancy.”

“…now is not the time for writers to be silent. Oh, no. We must strive ever harder to put our words down in the hopes that it will benefit, comfort, and teach some.”

“Creative people are *not* obligated to be propagandists, and most are better off not trying to fill that slot. If nothing else, obvious propaganda has a very short life-span.”

“…I try to incorporate a sense of awareness of various issues into my writing. I should rephrase that. I don’t try to. It sort of happens without much (if any) conscious effort….I don’t know how I’d define humanity, exactly, though I do think it’s much more than a bunch of individuals. How we interrelate is vital. As a group, we can build up or destroy our surroundings and ourselves. Fiction can definitely play a role in awareness. Often, a fiction story has more power than nonfiction. The message seeps in while the reader is engrossed in someone else’s story. What better way to learn than to walk in another’s shoes?”

And, here are some of the comments about Ollin’s post:

“I really think one of the main reasons for books that address our current climate is that we’re sort of stuck in this MTV-era, where only the trendy material will sell.”

“…though I would say that visual art speaking to specific world topics isn’t as widely seen, I respectfully disagree with the overarching statement that artists are not producing this type of work any more.”

“As the world continues spiraling into the recesses of darkness, more and more artists will come out with a desire to speak the truth even if this costs them. Thank you for firing the first salvo to rally the troops.”

“What I do agree with is that the power to create a catalyst for change is in every artists hands.”

“It has taken me some time to realise that the truth must out, and the risks must be taken, if progress is to be made and we are to see ourselves in mirrors of clear reflection.”

I do hope you’ll go to both posts and read all the comments–Ollin and I respond to the comments–they are conversations.

As a writer, I want to help our ailing World; I need to help in whatever way I can…

There’s a Global Art Project called, Inside Out, that boggles my mind and cheers my heart.

Here’s a video of the originator of that project, explaining his wish to help our World.


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Follow the “co-author” of Notes from An Alien, Sena Quaren:
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