The Literary Drover No. 1602

The decision to publicly announce the blacklisting of Kathy Griffin as response to her decision to engage in an act that many would agree constitutes an act of sedition and treason produced an unexpected result: My corner of the known cosmos is now quieter and calmer.

The overall nature and reality of Social Media is not a favorable or appealing one. The precedent was set a long time ago – if you want to insult someone, threaten someone, disrespect or be rude to someone, Social Media is the ideal platform from which to do so, and the anonymity it generally provides allows cowardice without exception. It is a fact and truth that is unfortunate because Social Media has great potential, and those who choose to use it in a way that benefits others are, more often than not, belittled and derided for their efforts: When I decided to use a blog to promote my writing I was met with abuse and contempt almost without equal. It seemed every post published to this blog was met with unabashed contempt and a lack of civility. As a result I came to the incorrect belief that when I decided to blacklist Kathy Griffin for her inexcusable actions, and do so publically, I assumed it would likely result in responses that would require me to abandon this platform.

It is nice to know my assumption was incorrect. Instead of scorn and hatred for standing up for what I know is right my decision has been met with overwhelming support; support that has come in the form of polite and respectful comments as the simple phrase “Thank you”.

I must note that those who chose to respond with hatred and threats against me have met the same fate as Kathy Griffin: They have been blacklisted. In the language of Social Media they have been blocked, and this has resulted in a quieter and calmer reality from my perspective.

The day after I made my announcement and decision regarding the actions of Kathy Griffin I collected a backpack I had loaded the night before, two digital cameras, two disposable pens (I manage to lose one almost without exception), and went for a hike in what I call “The Backyard”: Tens of thousands of acres forever preserved. I did not have to hike far before I found spring run-off and snowpack on north-facing elevations. I also found signs of spring determined to overcome the gelid embrace of winter, and I found peace among pines and spruces. As I sat with my back to a large formation – the remnants of a glacial age – enjoying the warmth of the sun I heard several hummingbirds, a chickadee or two, a robin, a raven, and the sounds made by a mule deer chewing as it filled its belly before it lay down among clumps of narrow-leaf sage.

There the likes of Kathy Griffin did not exist. There the evil men do against one another was not present or even apparent. There was the world as I prefer to know it. There was the world as Jhon Collector knows it. There was the world that appeals to so many.

Although I encourage others to seek out the world as I found it there I do so with a caveat: You cannot run from or hide from the world as it exists. When I returned from my hike I was momentarily surprised when the radio in my vehicle came to life because previously there was no radio signal where I had been, and I heard the reports of a shooting here, a mass killing there, a bombing in that part of the world, a terrorist attack in this part of the world – the evil that men do to one another remained presented despite the fact I chose to ignore it for a time within Nature.

Having had a reprieve from all of this evil I considered it and vowed again where my life is concerned not to allow such things, and to do so in a way that will work. I believe the likes of Kathy Griffin will meet with an unfortunate end. She may take her own life because she chose to destroy her career as an entertainer. She may not. Regardless I have chosen to exclude her and her supporters from my life, my position on reality. I have chosen to include in my life people who make a difference through acts of decency and civility. I have decided that the things that matter to me involve engaging life through simple gestures and actions. For example, watching a chickadee work its way around, up and down, the almost straight trunk of a lodge pole pine so tall it seems to touch the cloudless blue sky above as it pursues tiny black flies on the asymmetrical bark; listening to the wind as it makes its way from the tops of snow-capped mountain peaks and caress the needles of pines and spruces in meadows defined by yellow and white flowers and thick clumps of grasses; breathing in the crisp, clean air of an environ relatively untouched to the point it could be considered “virgin”, and coming away from the experience with the knowledge that I can and should make an effort to protect and preserve this place, this reality, this world, and do so through stories about a character called “Jhon Collector”.

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