LOEWEN: A note of thanks to those who make writing worthwhile

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn

Writers write. It’s what we do.

Sometimes what emerges on the page is deemed all right. Sometimes what emerges is utter shite.

But while the mania of the writing is upon us, we live for the chase of an idea, down the rabbit-hole, before it disappears forever into Oblivion.

And when the writing mania is not upon us, we know too well the depths of Despair.

We endure the torpor, the ennui-inducing morbidity of the Unwritten. It turns some to drink and drugs, others to saturnalia, some to the swearing of secret oaths or the embracing of Old Time Religion, and the rest to multifarious manifestations of catatonia.

In the ebony-still night that is the absence of ideas, the writer fears that hollow and baleful baying of the “black dogs,” ushering in a protracted Melancholia, most of all.

For to write, is to live. And to not write can sometimes be to not live at all.

So I consider myself lucky that my editor has seen fit to allow me to write something each and every week in these virtual pages. Having a weekly deadline sharpens the noggin, and helps keep the dogs at bay.

Over the months that I have been an online scribe, I have been fortunate to be able to give voice to stories that have intrigued me. Sometimes the columns have been of political interest to me, and others have been sometimes closely-personal reflections.

But best of all, there are great readers out there who have taken the time to read my weekly words.

Many of you have reached out through the Aether with kind words of encouragement and thanks; or, alternatively, stern reprimands for perceived slights or missteps. My hope is always to try to engage the reader from a particular point-of-view in a particular voice, and it’s always interesting to learn what readers are thinking in response.

After all: Sometimes writing can be an isolating affair. So when the nocturnal misery of the monologist-at-the-desk is brightened by the recognition from a reader, that one’s words have been actually read -- well, it puts a smile on this writer’s mug.

Readers are impossible to imagine when you’re an online columnist. Blogs girdle the globe these days. Words are everywhere all the time. Who reads them all?

One would think that readers of Infonews.ca would be local folks. Folks with a keen interest in B.C. Interior news reporting, and, of course, a thirst for wise and witty commentary from the outfit’s commentariat.

But some of you are from all over the place.

A retired Nicaraguan U.N. envoy, surely Managua’s reigning Elvisologist, is among my readers. I love the guy! Where else but in the Aether could one have ever expected to meet an accomplished career diplomat with an obsessive-compulsive’s focus to filter world events through the lens of The King, Elvis Presley?

Or an obscure Anabaptist theologian, a reader from Pennsylvania, with a waning of spirit and a waxing of critical commentary in a series of hotly-worded email missives? Or the retired school teacher and serial email-artist from southern Alberta, hell-bent on apprising me daily of news-items I may have, possibly, missed? Or the Kamloops reader with the stunning rebuke of my appraisal of our doleful electorate? Or the long-lost friend, Island-bound in the Georgia Strait, off the grid but beaming through nevertheless wirelessly and without a net?

As I suggest, one just never knows exactly who stands by with attention and, occasionally, a voice calling out from the margins. But I appreciate each and everyone of these readers, and the rest of you out there whom I will never meet, in the Aether or elsewhere.

And it is to you readers, real and imagined, that I address the reflections to come here and elsewhere. Being mindful of the audience breaks the silence of the monologist-at-the-desk, and somehow the writer is not so terribly alone after all. Thanks for the letters. Keep ‘em coming.

— Having lost his 2,500 volume library in the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire, Jeffrey is beginning to fill the void by writing his own. Reach him at jeff.loewen(at)gmail.com

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