Slowly Finding Purpose

One of the hardest things I’ve ever attempted to do is write a book.  I started and finished the first draft in April’s Camp NANOWRIMO.  That might have been the easy part.  The first draft.  It doesn’t matter if it is good it just matters that you get it down.

Now that I am in the midst of trying to fashion this book into some compromise of what it is and what I wanted to say, I will say outside of just life in general, it is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do.

It is also one of the most personally edifying things I’ve ever tried to do.  The process of editing and revising has made me ask at least one very important question:  Why do I write and what do I want to say?

I listen to a lot of culture podcasts and read a lot of culture blogs.  One of the things that has annoyed me is the occasional arrogance of the bloggers, writers, and podcasters that live on the coasts.  Many seem to have unstated yet almost always prevalent idea that the media centers of the Northeast Corridor and California are better.  Not just more interesting places to live but better than the rest of the country.

Writers and podcaster often use the “flyover” areas of the United States, also known as the majority of the country, as punch lines and examples of bad America.  That is interesting since it seems most of these cultural trendsetters have never met anyone south of New Jersey or west of Philadelphia.

Let’s not get it twisted.  I was born and have lived in the South my whole life, so I know the problems and issues the South and other parts of the country not named New York, Boston, or Los Angeles have, but I am more interested in exploring those ideas and those problems then making fun of them for cheap laughs and easy trend pieces.

Why do I write and what do I want to write about?  I write because I think  I see the world differently then anyone I know or read.  I want to write about “real” people.  The people who have hourly jobs they hate, not because they are stupid or lazy, but because sometimes life kicks you in the nuts and it never cares who you are.  I want to write about families and friends that aren’t dysfunctional, but that are part of “weird old America” as Charlie Pierce calls it.

Now, if I can just get this damn book to do that, I’ll sleep better.

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