People Look in the Mirror for Different Reasons, or The Parable of the Guest Writer and the Budding Writer
After the applause has faded away, the budding writer comes up breathlessly to the Guest Writer for a chat.
‘You’ve written a lot of fiction,” the budding writer enthuses. “And you haven’t made money from your writing?”
The Guest Writer considers him with the smile of a mentor. “It depends on how you look at it.”
“Fiction hardly sells here. But you could consider writing the biographies of some notable citizens.”
The Guest Writer ponders a while then asks,” Which notable citizens?”
“Politicians, of course.”
The Guest Writer can’t help sniggering.
The budding writer seems puzzled. “You find it funny?”
“No, I find it rather insulting.”
“Many of our first generation politicians had a vision, and a definite philosophy and praxis which any idiot will find very inspirational and enduring. But this generation…” The Guest Writer breaks off in mid-sentence and starts laughing again.
The budding writer doesn’t look puzzled anymore; he feels disappointed instead.
“…it’s insulting to write about someone whose existence is bereft of vision,” the Guest Writer goes on, “whose way of life is simply to acquire public fund with unrivaled recklessness. It’s insulting to write about a man who can only inspire (forgive, my use of that word) rot and rapacity in a society where more animals seem to have a better life than more humans.
Don’t know about you, but I find it very belittling for someone who carries himself about as a creative writer to actually engage his energies and intellect for such a project!”
The budding writer tries to smile, but his lips droop at the corners. He stares at the Guest Writer and thinks the older writer deserves to spend the rest of his writing life in deprivation.
Then, as he turns to go, the Guest Writer calls him back and says quite pointedly, “Remember, people look in the mirror for different reasons, so it really depends on why you bother to write in the first place.”