It is said that writers “write to be read.”

Then painters paint to be seen, actors act to impress and singers sing to be heard.

If this is the case—and most often it is—the newer writers of the world are setting themselves up for great disappointment. They will not find the audience that they did in the past. They will not achieve the fame that others did in the past. They will quite likely not enjoy the riches that others have had In the past.

Technology and world Internet communications have obviously changed the world. Though it has democratized the ability to be read and seen and heard, by doing so it has practically eliminated the institutions that originally supported and brought culture to the world. Some vestiges of the old system remain, but they are losing ground with each passing year. They have been replaced by myriads of smaller, more democratized platforms that do not pay, do not develop and do not guide.

Moguls still control what is printed and sold in local stores. They chose the music that is allowed to be bought at box stores, the movies that are shown and the art that is displayed in museums and fine art shows. The competition for such space is fierce. The rewards to the artists have been drastically reduced from that it was just thirty years ago.

This leaves the would-be writer with a great dilemma. They feel that they have talent and should pursue an audience and readership, but the audience is slimmer and the finger of fate even more fickle than ever.

Only by applying a talent is the talent polished and sharpened. “Practice,” it is said, “makes perfect.” Perfection, though, is a subjective judgment that should be left out of that axiom. Practice makes us more exceptional. It is a fact, though, that natural talents of all kinds need to be performed and utilized to get beyond the level of the commonplace.

Writers now write blogs to keep their talents active and polished, but the readers of blogs are also a fickle lot. The individual blog does not really reach a substantial audience. Blogs and personal journals are worthy tools for a writer, as they can refer to them in the future, draw on them for ideas, and reference them for later promotion. There are few, if any, works that cannot be made better by multiple rewrites. So coming back to what you did before it quite valuable for the future.

Professional writing has not totally become extinct, but it is nearing that vanishing point. Professional writers are not free to write as their muse moves them, but are pressured to write what their superiors believe their readership wants to read.

Even with access to statistics that determine what people are choosing to read, the writer is often no longer free to follow their muse and write from the heart if they want to increase their following. Yet, writing from the heart and being true to your own voice is the only possible way to beat the odds. Only that will make you stand out in a crowd.

Even if you write from the heart, your heart and voice must be very special, very unique and quite original. Your perceived persona must be likable, strong and quite different from the masses. The vast majority of us will never be that person.

Chloe Thurlow recently spoke of  “the time before smartphones made the whole world a banal image and the photographer like the editor became a dinosaur.”

We have a changing dictum.

As writers, we must write for ourselves to be original. We will probably never make any financial profit from these efforts. Few in history ever have. We may not even achieve any large readership no matter how hard we try. Everyone has an opinion to share, a broken heart to express, a love that they feel they must share with the world about.

All lives are novels in the making.

The only thing we can do is persist or quit. Of course, if we quit, we never will have an audience. If we want an audience or a readership, our only alternative is to persist. To persist means to continue through depression and despair. It means we need to develop tools to combat and dispel our negative feelings. To persist means to struggle with the reality that we spend too much time doing things that we do not love in order to do what we do love.

It is easier to be a baker or a cook or a carpenter. All such work is creative, but the requirement of pleasing more than a few is not essential in many occupations.

Artists always had to pay their dues. The fees are even higher these days.

Inflation, you know.


by Kenneth Harper Finton ©2014


My old grandpappy used say that “learnin’ is bad for a body. The more a body knows, the unhappier a body gets.”

Unfortunately, I did not take his advice, but I have yet to see any proof that he is wrong.

That is why I founded The Foundation for the Furthering of Global Ignorance.

Reading Ruins the Eyes

Reading is hellish on the eyeballs. We may not notice it for a while, but the words become increasingly out of focus and lines soon begin to dance before our eyes. The eyes will then begin to water and demand a good rubbing.

Reading Strengthens the Brain.

The natural state of the brain is mushy. The more we use it, the stronger it grows. We do not want to overburden or tax the brain, so we should replace reading and writing with movies and phone conversations.

Overworked brains need bigger heads and our heads are fixed in size and volume. We should not fill it the our brains with useless culture and relics from past thoughts. If these classic thoughts from the past had any value at all, these thoughts would reoccur to us, would they not?

Had I only paid attention to the old man, I could revel in even more ignorance than I already possess. Lucky for the present, most schools are not really teaching classic reading skills. They teach enough writing to sign your name and pass a driver’s license test.

images-1They don’t teach geography, so no one under 25 has any idea of where they are going. They no longer teach cursive, as it can be had in the fonts folder if one really needs it.

Reading Can Expand Your World

For those of us who like things exactly as they are, there is no worse threat that seeing what is on the other side of the hill. With new communications tools the universe is at our fingertips. We can make friends in Patagonia and buy stocks in Australia. We can be inspired by ideas from across the ages and the seas. The Internet may kill everything we have worked for thousands of years to achieve. Ignorance and class. I was once told Al Gore invented the Internet. I believe that he should be drawn and quartered.


It_pays_to_be_ignorant_1949-showReading May Accidentally Change Your Station in Life

This reading of history and novels must be held in check. Through reading one is able to transcend their own station in life. They are emboldened to dream of other worlds and experience other lives. This, of course, is disruptive to the homogeneous society we seek to build. When the average person learns too much about how the world really works, they tend to either revolt or become integrated in the power structure. Stability is built by the ignorance of the masses.

Once one embraces ignorance, the world is a much simpler place.