Though I’ve received many responses to my Blog from readers who have opted to write to me personally at my professional e-mail address, [email protected], I received one which really gave me pause for thought. It was in reaction to my last blog: OH, HOW I YEARN FOR THE AMERICA OF MY YOUTH.
The writer, a woman who identified herself as being in her late 30’s, found the emphasis I placed upon what I yearned for to be depressing. I assume she would have wished me to lighten up and give credit to all the progress that we have made and not focus on the America of my childhood, one that I recall vividly – and one which 60+ years later is placing me in a country which, for the most part, is very different than the America she knows or one which she envisions – with all of its problems – for the future.
While I’m delighted to know that she is still very hopeful, it did lead me to question why those of us who Blog do so. Some, I suppose, do it to promote a product; others to open political dialogue; and still others to simply have a forum in which to communicate thoughts/opinions to a wide variety of readers.
In my own defense, I’ve decided – after reviewing my options – that my goal is not to entertain or to lighten anyone’s spirits. It is, rather, to give voice to my realty. If, in so doing, some of my blogs do not focus on all that is promising and hopeful with regard to whatever topic I choose to write about, then I’m willing to take responsibility for that(hoping, of course, that I don’t depress anyone to the point where he/she feels depressed).
When I go to the theatre or to a concert, I want to be entertained and more often than not do not wish to to feel sad upon leaving. To that degree, I understand the writer’s desire to focus on what IS positive. However, as I said earlier, I don’t believe that a writer’s obligation is necessarily to entertain. Nor do I think that readers should have that expectation.
Regarding my last blog, in particular, I am not in my late 30’s; I have lived through many of America’s triumphs as well as its tragedies; and, in these terribly troubling times, my perspective brings with it the years that I have lived and the experiences I have had. Knowing that, I hope the reader will continue to follow my blog and take note, as well, of all the positive mention I have given in previous blogs to the progress made in the medical arena as well as many others areas of our every day lives.
However, when I feel overwhelmed by the current politics, by an economy that threatens those of us who are older perhaps differently than it does some of our younger citizens and, when in general, I long for a time when America was admired as the Democracy of democracies, a safe haven for one and all, and a country where none of us feared that a war would ever occur on our soil,I am no longer as optimistic as I had been before 9/11, and that is the glaring reality that I feel threatened by daily.
So, while I, too, wish only for peace and prosperity, I simply may not have as much faith – given all that has happened during these past 8 years – as someone in her thirties!
That being said, I accept the criticism, offer an explanation without an apolgy, and hope I have not lost a reader.
As I stated earlier, my objective is to speak my truth as I live it and view it.
Yours, Linda Appleman Shapiro