Why I Write…The voice of a Lost Generation making sense in a New Age

Why do you write?

People have asked this question of me before. And in writing classes and exercises, writers are often asked to dig deep inside and ask the tough question: Why do you write? What do you, personally, have to say to the world that hasn’t been advertised, written, dissected, tweeted, posted or published before?

 It means we, as writers, have to do an internal “gut check” to get to the truth. There are lots of nuanced answers, but in my case, I have endeavored to become someone who answers the question: So What? What does that mean?


It means, without pretension or illusion, that you believe there is a place for someone like yourself-someone who has lived through the fifties & sixties, post-Watergate, post Vietnam era. Post parents & Grandparents of the Great World Wars, nuclear bomb scares & Cold War era thinking.

 There’s a place for your writing. Your voice is a voice that speaks for millions. It’s the voice of someone who has lived through the tales of the Depression and the Civil War era. It’s the voice of one who has seen the Greatest Generation slowly fade from the scene. It’s the voice of one of the Old School Hippies with New Wave Children.

 And soon the next generation will be set to take the reins, God Help us All…we’ve raised kids that are isolated-more so than at any time in our history-by technology & by our own beloved Capitalism. We are what we’ve sown. It’s scary at times. We live in a Cowardly New World inhabited by some brave people, but the mindset is Old School Cold War mentality.

 The generation I embody is stuck somewhere between the 19th& 21st Centuries, this No Man’s Land where we saw the birth of the Information Age, the birth of the Computer Age and the Internet. I have no illusions about the fact that the Lost Generation of Baby Boomers is fading as quickly as the generations before us. We have to ready ourselves for a Revolution of sorts. My writing is for myself and for others who understand my world view. It’s a way to explore, a way for me to acknowledge my own failings and a need to expand my horizon. Therefore, I gladly acknowledge my own limitations as an author, as an essayist, and as a blogger. Because there exists another entire plain of existence where another generation lives in splendid and total virtual isolation in Cyberspace. I can’t really relate to this Strange and Beautifully Dark New World.

 I do realize that we need new blood and a new way of thinking about the arts. We, the collective “we” of planet Earth, need to be jolted out of the past and into the future. The present is always being lived out in rearview mirror mindset -McCluhan taught us that. My prediction (not a gloomy but a hopeful one!) is that 50-100 years after the Computer Age has begun-about 2020 thru 2070-there will emerge a genius along the lines of Shakespeare.

 A Renaissance has already begun. From approximately 2010 and lasting into the 22nd Century, the New Era of Mass Communications will have arrived. A “Golden Age” of Mass Media will emerge. It will blend the mediums of Art & Science plus Computer Science & Literature to create a new wave of Artistic Masterpieces that will bring inspiration to all young artists.

 Somehow it will take a kick in the pants by a kind of New Wave Missouri Mule to jolt us into the future. In so many ways, the future has already arrived.  Sadly, my voice is one from the past. But it doesn’t’ take a genius to recognize what real creativity can bring to our lives. It opens our eyes to a New World and a new way of looking at reality.

 I believe that a child-perhaps already born-will become the leader of a movement utilizing not only the print medium but all types of creative platforms-including computer science-thus creating a synthesis of unimagined heights and perception of mind that has not yet been explored. The medium has not emerged, the creativity is as yet untapped.

 To further this belief, I cite three things. First is the invention of the Gutenberg Printing Press in Europe around 1439.  This revolution in printing brought the written word to the masses and shot the English language, the language of the common man, into prominence.

 Next came the birth of a genius, someone who transformed the common language using a medium that he took to as yet unimagined heights. That person was William Shakespeare, and his contributions would not have been possible until so many different elements synthesized to create an atmosphere which utilized his talents.

 Third was the Birth of the Renaissance Age. It was the Age of Enlightenment, and it brought about so many discoveries in Art and Science and Language that we are still feeling the consequences in our lives. We have recently entered the Information Age, the Computer Age where we are travelling at Star Wars warp speed into the future.  It takes a revolutionary event, a Big Bang consisting of the Computer Age morphing into the age of the Internet, to trigger this domino effect which leads us to ever-cascading tiers of discovery and enlightenment. We are now on the brink of just such an era.

 My only hope is that my writing may be a bridge to this Brave New world where only the connected can go. But if we are doomed to live always turned backwards and staring sadly at the past, like pillars of salt, as Vonnegut so rightly noted, then we must be able to acknowledge the truth.

There is hope for our world in a society where New Age minds are illuminated. They are illuminated with ideas & technology & Science and Media. They are not interested in the old ways of doing things and seeing things. They want to create a new identity for themselves.

 All this talk of Branding and Platform may become useless. But always, we will have Paris.  Seriously, our collective memories include the written word, the spoken language and the shared world of dreams and ideas. These things will bind us together in this Brave and yet somewhat Cowardly New Age world.

No one will be unscathed by the March of Progress. But at times, nostalgia may become meaningless when there is no common thread of memory to bind us and mire us in the past. That is the awful truth. We must go forward and acknowledge our failures to communicate as a society.

When this Brave New World comes to pass, I would love to stand on the edge of the mountain and look into the Promised Land of the Future. It will be beyond our scope and imagining, but it will illuminate every corner of the New World with light and inspiration.

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