When I was in college I had the idea that a writer could change the world through his or her writing. There is precedent. William Shakespeare (or whoever actually wrote his plays and poetry) forever altered how literature in English is carried out, adding words and phrases to everything that comes after and changing how we understand the depths of character and dialogue. Charles Dickens and Sinclair Lewis and John Steinbeck all wrote fiction that exposed the horrors and crimes against the common man, and all three caused changes to their society to at least be begun. Albert Camus and Eugene Ionesco both wrote fiction that changed fundamental understanding in the worlds of philosophy and religion. J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis established Fantasy Fiction as a thing worthy of having its name in capital letters.
It was always my hope to become a writer who did similar things with my fictional abilities to tell a good story with a good lesson for life embedded within it.
But when I was young and most capable of establishing my writer’s life as something other people would see and recognize for what it was supposed to be, I decided to teach writing to a next generation of writers instead of doing the thing myself.
So, have I given up the dream?
But, realistically, there are barriers to my success in this endeavor that constitute a mountain range of unclimbable mountains.
- The publishing industry has devolved into a massive self-publishing ocean of writers who think they can actually write without editors and with practically no remaining Aquaman or Prince Namor to rule the oceans as the gatekeepers of good published writing. Major publishers now rely mostly on established writers like Stephen King, James Patterson, and other aging fiction-factories who guarantee their profits, occasionally skimming popular stuff off the top of the ocean waves to republish and make money on, though not investing much in promotion because that investment takes away from profits.
- I am no good at self-promotion and marketing, so no matter how good my writing is…
- I am nearing the end of my own life with seven incurable diseases and conditions. I don’t imagine myself lasting more than a couple more years.
- Climate change is coming for us all. The societal collapse will come first during waves of climate-caused disasters, waves of climate refugees, and the inevitable loss of the means to feed eight billion people. And after most human beings are dead, the out-of-control warming processes will cook to death everything else that lives on the planet as it turns into the twin of Venus.
I hope I am wrong, but it is probably impossible to change the world now. But there will be no problems when there is no longer anyone left to have problems.