Thursday, December 6, 2007

Blogging and life

Life and Blogging

I’ve been asked to explain some of my comments in my last post, the blog tag. The paragraph in question includes my answer to the fourth question. Here is what I wrote. “Worse, though, are the online predators taking advantage of the unsuspecting, especially young people. I wish there were no predators on social sites like My Space and others so that our kids could safely surf the web and enjoy cyber friendships without fear of cruelty and exploitation. I wish that on the internet as well as in real life, we could only find knowledge and wholesome entertainment and interaction. I'd wish away pornography and violence, if I could.”

Yes, there are perversions of all kinds, violence, and exploitation on the internet. This is made painfully clear by news of the teenage girl who committed suicide. I’m not only saddened but enraged that it was a grown woman, posing as a teenage boy, who said such derogatory things, that the girl felt she couldn’t go on living. Adolescence is a turbulent time at best. Teens are vulnerable to suicidal thought when, like Shakespeare’s Ophelia, their affections are toyed with, their hearts won, and then their hopes dashed. This is just one example of how kids, eager to chat with new friends, are misled by predatory adults who pose as teens. Films, TV, and video games seem to promote more and more violence as children and adults alike become so inured they need more and more to elicit an emotional response.

I, a peace loving person, would remove all controversy from the world if I had my way. I would take away all danger to our children, that they might never suffer pain—emotional or physical. “But,” as I said in my blog-tag answers, “of course that is not the way life is, and why I am not God.” What I meant by this is that “my way” would remove individuality and the freedom to be different, which gives life meaning. I would be creating a drab gray “Pleasantville,” or a colorless world like we find in Lois Lowry’s book, The Giver.

Would I sacrifice, for even a moment, the fiery spirit of some of my friends, the complex and varied personalities of loved ones, the opposing views of acquaintances on complex issues? Maybe I’d be tempted when I want everyone to see issues from my point of view. It’s good I’m not God. What a boring world this would be if everyone thought, spoke, and behaved like me… or like any other one person, for that matter.

Even in the novels I write and call “True Fiction” (for reasons I’ve explained in an earlier blog post) there is diversity. My protagonists are never all “good,” and my antagonists aren’t all “bad.” My characters make mistakes; they make poor choices and reap the consequences. Issues are not black and white, in fiction or in life. No one is “good” or “evil.” We are all just human, and yet we are each unique—and that’s the way it should be.

Next time, I’ll explain the next sentence from my previous post: “As I learned in physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction—so my wishes are mere fantasies of what I perceive to be better for us—for me—when looking at the little picture.”


Janet Grace Riehl said...

Well, of course I just love the title, Real Life (Riehlife, right?)

You are always so thoughtful and it's the complexity of your response to the world that makes you a good author and your characters worth reading about.

As a reader I always feel I can learn more from imperfect characters than perfect ones, so I'm glad that's how you write.


Mary Cunningham said...

Janet, your post is so true. Wouldn't we all like to change the world! Especially the world we're living in now full of killing, hatred, and bigotry.

I'd also like to change the opinions of some of my friends. I will often stand up and give them my point of view. But too often, I just sigh and swallow my opinion and figure that's easier than losing a friend.

Thanks for the post.

Janet Muirhead Hill said...

Hi Janet, I certainly thought of you when I titled the post Real Life. Thanks for your comments. I agree. Imperfect characters have more to teach us. I think that's because we can relate to them.

Janet Muirhead Hill said...

I agree, Mary. I'd love to see the world expunged of hatred, violence, and bigotry, all of which, I believe, result from fear, insecurity, and people playing god by judging others and delivering retribution.

But like you, I've found it doesn't help for me to argue my viewpoints against those who hold opposing opinions. It not only makes enemies, it makes them hold onto their opinions more fiercely for having to defend them.