1. Are You Sure About That

What does it mean to be a writer in the 21st Century? I grew up in a society that held individualism as the model, be it Henry Thoreau living at Walden Pond or Gary Cooper standing up to the thugs and bullies of the Frank Miller gang. Over the past decades we've become a culture of conformity, where one size fits all, the lowest price is best (no matter who or what is exploited) and you don't have to think for yourself because "the best and brightest" (and highest paid) have already done that for you.

I'm an unproduced playwright. I have been writing for over a decade and I don't have a single original full-length play to my name. I've written a couple of original full-length plays, but they've either been cut down to a shorter play or will be the foundation of a newly imagined full-length play that is, as of yet, not written. So what right do I have to call myself a writer in the 21st Century?

The most thoughtful and influential voices I've read in my life were singular voices, not plural voices. They spoke for individuals, for the everyman, not groups, not corporations. They added to my understanding of the human condition. They added to what I might become, to who I am becoming. When Robert Frost looked down one path and then the other, he knew he couldn't travel both. Conformity is always about pleasing someone else, either singular or plural. A writer is still a writer, so I guess I'll do what writers have always done, if I want to be a writer in the 21st Century.

originally posted October 2011
reposted March 2018

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