American bards: a declaration of interdependence

Revisiting an old friend today. Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass. It's one of those books I read over and over and discover something new each time I come to it, because I am just that much different from the last time. I'm at a place in my writing life where I've come to profoundly appreciate the writers whose company I keep (or maybe they keep mine) and the way writers have begun to use the Internet to support each other.

"But why would you want to help your competition?" a young writer asked me recently.

The question made me think about who and what really is my competition. It's not other writers. Authors compete with the continual dumbnation of our culture that breeds less and less interest in books and the people who create them. Our competition is stories that are served over easy with a side order of commercials for used cars and male enhancement products. Our competition is laziness, ignorance, and a lack of patience for a story that unfolds in the absence of pyrotechnics. In the face of such formidable adversaries, we authors must support each other now more than ever.

Walt said it better than I can. (Not that it's a contest!)
The American bards shall be marked for generosity and affection and for encouraging competitors . . They shall be kosmos . . without monopoly or secrecy . . glad to pass any thing to any one . . hungry for equals night and day. They shall not be careful of riches and privilege . . . . they shall be riches and privilege . . . . they shall perceive who the most affluent man is. The most affluent man is he that confronts all the shows he sees by equivalents out of the stronger wealth of himself. The American bard shall delineate no class of persons nor one or two out of the strata of interests nor love most nor truth most nor the soul most nor the body most . . . . and not be for the eastern states more than the western or the northern states more than the southern.


*Love* Whitman, but after your last post, I'm wondering what unspoken words lurk in place of those ellipses. :)

And I'm continuously appalled by the vacuous masses, those people willing to be constantly plugged into predigested entertainment without giving it a moment's thought or effort. Orwell predicted it to a chilling degree in Fahrenheit 451. He hit it way too close to the mark.

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