Write about …
Write about one subject.
It seems impossible in a time when everything intermingles.
In a class which scares me more than Calculus called literary criticism I’ve remembered something. Some of the ancient Greek and Roman writers club believed “poets” should focus on one subject. A painting of a goat, for example, does not look right with a woman’s head on it, right?
I believe writers can focus on more than one subject in their writing and be successful at it. But, one subject keeps showing up in my writing.
I can’t stop writing about it. I know it too well. As a child I saw it creep in like the cracks in what was considered a good sidewalk after September 11. Then I became a journalist lucky enough to get that job less than one month after I graduated from South Carolina. Some of my former friends were not as lucky because all of the sudden jobs were hard to come by.
Companies laid off workers.
Unemployment assistance buildings filled up with people looking and training online.
More people lost health insurance.
Then I lived in the center of the tornado. I am still living in it, but I’m fortunate to have opportunities which help my family.
I learned something else from my Greek boys’ club. Aristotle says to write to teach and entertain; to write something universal.
Right now, I cannot think of something more universal which soaks into my thoughts and words.
Those words and thoughts arrived once again when my husband lost a close friend of his; a Mason.
He lost his job in 2009. He completed his bachelor’s degree in May. He found out he had Stage 4 Liver Cancer nine days ago.
This very beloved person died today.
He had no insurance and still had not found a job.
Someone said life isn’t fair. But, God it disgusts me when I see the suffering and not enough jobs coming. It makes me sick. Instead of being stuck inside the tornado, I want to tame it and make into something different.
“Catherine looked at the floor. Rent money ran late for the second month. The hospital, where she worked as an assistant nurse, paid the same week rent was due. Management had cut back her hours. The check from her second job as a cashier at the café cleared the bank one week after rent was due. Alone, the check from the hospital came thirty dollars short of what she needed to cover rent and bills. She took necklaces from her black jewelry tree to the pawn shop.”
- From When Tomorrow Comes, published November 2013 by KY Story in Offbeat Christmas Story
How often are we willing to look at a monster and ride with it? We’re willing to examine and challenge it as it has challenged us. It is sick. It has taken lives and destroyed opportunities, but it has also showed moments of strength. I’m talking about the people not ashamed of living with their family, giving up something of themselves and constantly going at it. They can fight for something whether it is a job, family or a doctor who will treat them.
A successful journalist and author out of Boston once told me to write what you fear. I don’t fear the economy anymore. I know what it is and what it has done.
What is your subject; your fear?