Tuesday, September 06, 2005


No more [added] trauma

I was planning a special article about the recent disaster down South, but chose to scrap it at the last minute. The reason?

I read the first draft, and it quickly seemed to me that the article was incredibly tasteless and tactless in describing the plight of those caught in the eye of the Monster. I realized that some of my readers wouldn’t appreciate perusing through explicit, Saving-Private-Ryan-like passages. I am a “you-are-there” kind of writer--in that I try to reconstruct an experience so that it would be akin to the reader putting on some kind of VR helmet and going into some alternate dimension. My success or failure in this regard really does depend on the individual reading the article.

World-renowned author Gary Paulsen once said in his foreword to The Winter Room (winner of the Newbery Honor Medal) that a book “. . .has no [senses]. . .[everything] that a book has, the reader has brought to it.”

I’m pretty sure that I will be corrected regarding the statement above. It has been a while since I read The Winter Room, and it’s been a long day for me. At any rate, Katrina is still fresh on people’s minds, and the persistent news coverage on the disaster coupled with the talking heads doing a recital in unison on stuff we already have gathered on the disaster (in short—adding almost nothing new to our knowledge of the current situation) led me to reconsider throwing in my lame two counterfeited cents. (I don’t mean to stitch in the lame hipster dialogue, but no one that I know enjoys reading the same words describing the same familiar events—over and over again. That’s why, adhering to the tenets of creative writing, I string together words you would not normally see grouped with each other, and try to make the sentence work nonetheless.)

I’m almost sure you’ll see an article, in some form, fairly explicit yet relatively disemboweled of any overly, potentially traumatic, offensive content—on the Katrina aftermath. But not yet.


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