I've been thinking a lot lately about the role of art in this world and if it can really move anything towards change. Ed Abbey thought that in the long run art, and more specifically, a novel could have an impact on the world. But, Ed Abbey was much like Kurt Vonnegut in that he did not see us long for this place (or most of us anyway, and in that he differs from KV, who thought we were all doomed). He was a man of action and respected most those who were greater men--and women--of action. Change, change in the here and now, he thought, could not come from talking about it. You had to do it.
I read in some class or another about literary journalism a quote from a journalist writing in the Vietnam era. He asked something to the extent of if you weren't there, covering and writing about the war, then just what the hell was it you were doing? The unnecessary answer being, of course, nothing. Or what you were writing amounted to that.
This has been on my mind lately; there's just so much wrong with the world. Can poems and short stories and pictures really make anything better...in any real way. I haven't come to any conclusion yet. I tend to lean towards the opinion of Mr. Abbey, but do we have the time?
Anyway, I was pondering this over one night with a new friend--really I just met this girl--and she had these positive things to say about InDigest, which gave me hope. People still surprise me with their kindness, and so I guess I'll believe for a while longer.
"So our conversation at the bookstore the other day, and reading the writing on indigest got me thinking about how having public places to express art, writing, ideas, are central to having a healthy society...I was thinking about how dull and repressed our world would be if people were not allowed to create art and share it with others. I feel like art makes us slow down and pay attention to details. To notice. Sometimes it's the only way to truly express one's experiences. So I don't think you should feel like you are not contributing to the good of society-I think we need more people to connect on those levels."