Writing Away Unpleasantness

“Oh, there are a lot of lousy people in the world. Also, a lot of terrific people. You’ve gotta remember that, and you’ve got to move in the right circles. I have days where I just want everyone to go fuck themselves or walk off a cliff, but I only say that to myself, and I smile and I walk home and I have some tea, I talk to Garson [Kanin, her husband], I might take a nap. Then I wake up and I write, and in writing, I wipe away all the unpleasantness of the day, of the people, of the city, whatever. We have it in our power to overcome assholes, and I think we have them thrown into our path to see if we have the chops to handle them. “
1984 Interview with Ruth Gordon, conducted by James Grissom
©  2017   James Grissom

 

I wish I could say that my writing offers me the same ability to “wipe away all the unpleasantness of the day”, but when I stumbled across this interview I firstly wondered, if Ruth felt this way in 1984 then I wonder what she would have said about 2017?

And then I remembered an old saying my father used to quote at various times throughout my youth:

 “Times may change, but people don’t“.

I’ve now lived long enough to see the wisdom in his words.  Any student of history knows this truth as well.

Which is why I find the romanticism of fictional dramas set in historical times to have lost its appeal.

A younger me would have swooned and sighed with stories about a strong, young man rescuing a damsel and making her his bride.  But now, I can only “suspend disbelief” for so long before stark truth comes crashing in like a jolt of cold water to the face.

I love the film noir stories of the 1940’s and marvel at the manner, dress, and customs of the time – until I remember the plight of women and horrors of WWII.

“Outlander” is a wonderful fantasy about a woman from post-WWII travelling back two centuries into the Scottish Highlands.  It’s very romantic.  Until I start thinking what is was like to live during an age of oppressive brutality and ignorance.

If I was given the chance to live during another time-period, I’d choose the future.  Because even if “people” don’t change, thankfully “times” do!

 

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