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Above all write little, print nothing

February 27, 2010

This article/column/blog was originally published in The Dalles Chronicle as an entry in my “Kicking Back” column, a free-form newspaper opinion piece that I wrote for a number of years. I’ve gotten a lot of flack, and probably lost a job or two, from publishing my honest opinion in various communities. Angry letters and name calling are the least of it. Yet sometimes you have to speak out for those with no voice, and the rewards of writing must be balanced by a committment to fairness, honesty and human kindness regardless of consequence.

Writing is a dangerous pastime, one best avoided.

To expose your thoughts in ink on paper is to expose yourself to attack and ridicule, without real hope of inspiring change. To expose your feelings is to play Russian Roulette with no empty chambers in the pistol.

To tell a story is to be misunderstood, taken out of context, named as a liar at best, a dreamer at worst.

If the story is your own only the obvious is understood, the wounds probed to see if they still hurt, the bandages unraveled for better viewing.

Writing about your own path only encourages roadblocks placed more carefully than before, ambushes more cleverly disguised. To describe your surroundings only gives the guns a better fix on your position.

If you challenge the way things are here today you’ll find yourself somewhere else tomorrow, bags packed in haste and shot down the rail.

Champion a fool and you are valued above all others, champion an honest man and your own road becomes hard and tiresome.

Write of your faith and be praised, voice your doubts and be crucified.

To expose your heart is to have it bruised and bloodied, to expose your soul is to have it chained and banished to the darkness where it need not be seen.

Write the truth and be crushed by the lie. Illuminate the alley and get knifed by the blade. Ask the question and be choked in the silence.

To put pen to paper is to dabble in disaster, to bare the “I” is to testify against yourself before the hangmans’ noose, your own thoughts dangling before you.

Honest writing is hard writing, dangerous writing, writing best consigned to closets and burn barrels, shredders and fire pits.

Better, by far, to not write at all. Or if you must, to write in riddles and pictures, to tell stories from behind bulletproof windows and carefully-crafted masks.

Better to confuse the “I,” to deny the “me,” to avoid the personal and confuse the individual.

Better to avoid the present, shadow the past, deny the future.

Better to admit nothing, to deny everything. To outlaw emotion, constrain ideas, limit words.

And above all else, to write little and print nothing.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Mint permalink
    February 27, 2010 03:47

    Wow, now that is the truth! I’m enjoying reading your stuff, keep it up….

  2. March 3, 2010 18:13

    I LOVE it! Your work is, as always extraordinary. This photo gives an air of something I can’t quite put into words…

    Except somehow it is beautiful and takes my breath away–it fills my eyes, which is the greatest compliment I can give.

  3. March 3, 2010 19:06

    I wanted to add here–that I really enjoyed what you wrote for your column. It is wonderful writing. You’r words had my interest tightly gripped to the end. I want to read more–and it’s not just because I’m biased.

  4. March 4, 2010 01:39

    I read the piece with great interest. To me it is like picking up the carbon paper and reading it in a mirror. Been there and done that, many times. I used to write for three newspapers but I do not write for any of them these days. But I had to toe a line that was neither right nor left and not up or down. The papers wouldn’t have it.

    About all I do these days is entertain myself with photography and write bits and pieces for my blogs.

    Your sister gave me your URL. I told her I would stop over and have a look. I am glad I came.

    • March 11, 2010 00:02

      Thank you. My editor asked me, when it first published, did I really want to make an arguement against what I was doing? Yet my point in this is that you sometimes have to write, to correct a wrong or engage for the good or whatever. My first column in The Dalles was about the local municipal judge, and his callous approach to the people he was dealing with. Anyway, I think its important to realize, from day one, that expressing yourself has its dangers.

  5. March 4, 2010 03:52

    And yet you still write. This is the blog entry that brought me to tears. Your writing is so powerful.

    I keep getting mixed up on which comment goes with which blog entry–I think I’ve figured it out now…


  6. January 25, 2011 20:16

    -‘- I am really thankful to this topic because it really gives useful information ““

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