What Do You Do When…

This week: examing one’s options when it comes to writing editorials.

You can’t come up with a suitable writing subject?

I can’t this morning.

I was planning on doing a piece about Kennedy’s Rice University speech (“we choose to go to the Moon…”) and how most everyone is familiar with just one paragraph of that speech, and how we all ought to be more familiar with the rest of it.

But I lack the inspiration this morning to delve into it, so that will have to wait.  (It is one of the most inspiring speeches of his Presidency, the likes of which we haven’t heard from a President for decades;  it neatly sums up how I felt during the same era, as it does for many of my fellow boomers.)

I had a back-up piece waiting as well, that one on dichotomies.  It is mostly a personal piece exploring how I often find myself on both sides of an issue, starting with trying to explain how the publisher of a forward-thinking science fiction magazine can also be a luddite*, or, if not explain the dichotomy, how it influences me.  (No, you can’t stop progress.  I know.  But not all “progress” is a good thing and, in general, I think we ought to take a bit more time examining consequences before we embrace the latest whosis-whatsis.)

But that one was veering dangerously into screed territory and so it had to be shelved.

I tried looking for inspiration in various places:  reading the news sometimes offers a subject to pontificate on.  One such might have been the (apparently) brief reintroduction of the Jemisin/Silverberg/Hugo Speech contretemp – which also might have come up in the dichotomy piece as I am of two minds on that subject:  I disagree with Silverberg’s position in-re the appropriateness of the speech;  I also believe that more attention ought to have been given to the fact that Silverberg’s words of private criticism were deliberately publicized to serve an “anti-SJW” agenda.

If I had the time and the energy, I’d want to explore that further.  To examine the fact that all of us probably have thoughts and feelings that run well-counter to what is considered generally acceptable thought, at least within the social groups we wish to participate in.  We’re smart enough, most of the time, not to express these counter-thoughts except to confidantes.  If our public actions bely those thoughts (I did, for example, greatly disagree with many of Candidate Clinton’s positions and statements, yet I still voted for her), and the only reason we are hearing the contrary is because someone betrayed a trust, does that make a difference, should that make a difference, of our reception of this new information?

Thinking abou it, it’s quite similar to the question:  is it right to punish the art when the artist is an odious person?  (Dichotomies:  I think, in terms of the art itself, only insofar as it informs critique.  In terms of politics, yes.)

I also look at he fan scene to see if anything is going on out there that might deserve some commentary, and there is, but those issues have either not matured enough yet or leave me feeling that I really can’t say much on the subject other than “what she said”.  I’d love to write up my Boskone panel schedule for this coming Boskone, but it’s not quite finalized and therefore embargoed.

I will say that there will be plenty of opportunities to talk about Amazing Stories.

So that leaves us with the final default:  writing about having nothing to write about.  At this point, several paragraphs on, I think I’ve managed to accomplish that.

*Oh sure, I can embrace all the changes and new technologies.  Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Related articles


  1. Greg, you’re absolutely right…we all have to (try) and exhibit a little more human understanding. We’ve all said things in moments of high emotion that were expressions of those emotions, not what we actually ‘think’; we’ve all had moments of “learning better” and wish that our new understanding was given some credit.

  2. I’d add that we really do need to learn to be kinder to each other. We need to give people the benefit of the doubt. We need to give then opportunities to climb down gracefully. If someone wants to say, “I know what I said, but I didn’t really mean that. Here’s what I really believe,” then we should accept that. Likewise, we should accept apologies, not gracelessly critique them as a source for further attacks on the person.

    We should also recognize that the people who persistently refuse to follow basic rules of polite behavior are our real enemies.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.