Give us what we deserve
June 27, 2007
by Mike Palecek
Writers often have a person in mind when they write.
I don’t know how that happens or how we choose that person. But I think we imagine that person liking a particular sentence, or not liking, and hoping to please.
I think we also start out imagining things like being famous, like Hemmingway, or about one million writers in The Large Book Of Hot-Shot Writers that has everybody in it but us.
The other day someone posted a comment on one of my articles on Op-Ed News.
Nothing to add to try and further your line of thought.
I just want you to know that I am reading your articles and I enjoy them and your perspective very much.
It seemed important for me to simply tell you.
Tell you Thank You.
Please keep up the good work and the great articles.
That’s all the thanks I get?
You know, you really do imagine yourself writing for “the masses” – for a whole bunch of people. But for a whole bunch of us, that just isn’t going to happen. And it’s an awful lot of work, years and years, to have put into this and not have a whole bunch of people reading what we wrote.
But I was thinking, what is wrong with having spent all that time for one person to have enjoyed it.
Nothing is wrong with it. Everything is right with it.
Just imagine someone dusting off your old paperback, “How Brown Was My Rhubarb,” and taking it off to a corner of the library and spending the afternoon lost in this world you have created – just as you had imagined when you spent a whole fall, winter, spring and summer sweating and swearing and worrying and lovingly piecing this 100,000 piece puzzle together.
I’d say that’s more than a plenty.
Recently I asked a friend in Des Moines to send out a note about my books to his list of contacts around the state.
I appreciated that he did that, but I had to notice what he included in his synopsis of who I am.
He said that I was a friend of the Des Moines Catholic Worker “despite my run for Congress.”
I think that is hilarious.
It’s just like someone from the left. I do it myself all the time. I applaud that person’s work with lepers and shutting down the private prison industry. He gets my praise despite his evil love of arena football.
I know the Catholic Worker movement frowns on organized politics and voting and all.
But I remember as I was driving around the state back in 2000, sweating in my little car, trying to talk to mostly conservative folks about prisons, and the military and immigrants – well, I already knew my old friends in the peace movement didn’t think much of my running for office.
But I also had to smile to myself – I was out working on my own so I was the only one there – that one reason there was nobody out there with me was because it is just a tremendous amount of work and it’s much easier to say it doesn’t matter.