“An old student once quoted to me Allan Gurganus’ remark that it was the writer’s job to take the world personally. I think that that’s true. When I read about The Who or John Ashcroft, or the disaster at Chernobyl, I’m reading about it because I’m interested in the subject, and by interested I mean to suggest that not only my intellect but my emotions have been engaged. And when I’m reading, I’m trying to read receptively; that is, I’m beginning, if I’m engaged enough, to pay attention to how what I’m reading is affecting me, and why. You might say that, if I’m, for example, reading about the catastrophe at Chernobyl, I’m simultaneously storing away the facts about the disaster and keeping on eye an the spectacle of my own ongoing affective reaction to what I’m learning.
Suffering is everywhere. Drama is everywhere. Why do some things affect us so much, when others don’t? Some things we come across and say, Oh, that’s terrible, and go on to the next thing. Other events, experienced and imagined, stay with us. The fact that they don’t go away is a hint about how important they are to our psyches. That’s a hint to which the writer should pay attention. What’s important about those things? That’s for us to find out.” — Jim Shepard, from here.
because as always this nation’s middle to upper classes rise to the occasion of those victimized by tragedy. because this should not in any way absolve the government of reponsibility, should not make them imagine that there is less to do, that what they’ve done is enough. because i realize now that sometimes rhetoric is all we need, when it is done right away, at that precise moment when a leader needs to be anchor for the task of relief and aid, rebuilding and reconstruction. i realize that where we come from, and right now, leadership is pure fiction.