September 13, 2010

The Politics of Writing

Not that you asked, but I've always wanted to write a book.

In high school it was going to be poetry (eek, I'm so glad that didn't work out!).

In college, maybe only haiku. Or maybe a collection of interviews with the elderly on their
favorite memories (that's still not a bad idea).

Later on, still feeling the art influence in my bones, it was a narrative about how the art one produces is a malfunctioning expression of joy, which can only truly be felt within Christ's grasp. (Again, not a bad idea... please don't steal it!)

What stopped me? It's not a lack of interest. I clearly like writing (even if I am sporadic about it), I loved editing articles for my college newspaper. I love the English language and grammar - I have since grade school. It's not for lack of things to say. And plenty of people get published, since there are more small publishing houses and easy ways to promote your title. So what's the problem?

It's my inconsistency. I know what I want to say, but I struggle with staying on track and tend to bring in too much information at some points, too little on others.

I have scores of disorderly ideas sitting in spiral-bound notebooks, waiting patiently for good editing to pull them all together into a cohesive, meaningful piece of writing. Someday I hope to go through all of it and make something substantial enough to present to the public. Until then I'll hide on my blog, where no one can tell me I'm completely disillusioned as to having a clue what I'm talking about.

There is something utterly terrifying, though, about putting your own writing into the world-at-large, even if it's only the "blogosphere." One reason is that, unlike your friends and family, a stranger might actually critique you. Harshly. Fairly, but harshly. Another is that the thoughts you believe to be so trenchant might turn out to be... vapid. Worse, it may turn out that someone has already had them, and said them better. Worst: by the time you get around to putting them into writing they might be irrelevant! And to the non-fiction/social science/political publishing realm, relevance is key.

Which brings us to Meghan McCain's book, "Dirty, Sexy Politics."

Disclosure: I haven't read it myself; I don't plan to. I've heard enough of what comes out of her mouth via "The View" clips and her weekly Daily Beast column to know that she is pretty confused about how to advise the Republican party (which is, I think, what she strives to do, although in attempting to do so she meanders all over the board). Her youth and inexperience, combined with a (seeming) disregard for speaking in a clear, comprehensible way, come through in neon to anyone who's attempted to glean wisdom from her writing. She's damaging to the Republican party, as well as conservative voters and politicians, because she purports to know about that which she doesn't. Oh, and she's also not a conservative.

What's my purpose in mentioning her book then, if not to do a review? It's merely to point out that some people weren't meant to write books. Meghan McCain is one of them. And why?

She's too deep inside her own head to be careful about what she writes.* Meghan makes a lot of accusations which seem, almost all of the time, to be for the purpose of stirring the pot. But who's meant to be stirred? Why, moderate Republicans and conservatives of all types (but especially those with strong enough hard-line values to be ranked as "far right" by Meghan), of course. Meghan's main beef seems to be with anyone labeling themselves a 'Republican' who doesn't satisfy her own ideas about what that means. But.. they can't be too conservative or too moderate, because that makes them RINOS.

Knowing that I was too naive and loose with my worldview is what kept me from writing a book years ago. And I recognize that I'm still not ready to do that, because I'm not discerning enough to see through all the bs in politics and form a valid and valuable overview to disseminate to others. I'm merely at the point of seeing everything that's going on - but not able to put it all together a lot of the time, let alone draw insightful conclusions. Yet Meghan McCain went straight from college to "professional blogging," probably due in no small part to name recognition, but more so to her willingness to ride the "I'm not your typical conservative" bus until the wheels fall off.

But not only does she not seem like a "typical conservative" (whatever that even means), she doesn't seem like much of a conservative at all. The only issue I've heard her mention often is gay rights. She will start sentences with, "If Reagan were alive, he would..." without validating her opinions with any facts, and never questions her own commentary on any subject.

Yet, she is now a published author and I'm still not. Oh well. I'd rather be an unpublished, self-aware, non-pro blogger who can comfortably assert my conservative allegiance than anything less.

*I know what you're thinking... "Um, couldn't you say the same about yourself?" Yes, but that's why I stick to blogging, instead of imagining my opinions to be so important that someone should pay money to read them.

Because I'm happy to give credit when someone says it better than me, here is an excellent book review of "Dirty, Sexy Politics." And yes, he did actually read the book first. Poor fellow.

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