One of my current favorite jokes involves Cafe’s, Coffee and Sartre. [and you thought I was going to use alliteration there!] . The joke goes like this:
“Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting at a French cafe, revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress, “I’d like a cup of coffee, please, with no cream.” The waitress replies, “I’m sorry, Monsieur, but we’re out of cream. How about with no milk?”
The waitress responding in an existentialist manner is both funny and ironic. Ironic because Jean-Paul is working on the draft for Being and Nothingness where he talks about the ‘absence of something, is something’. Yet he hasn’t published his master work so how does the waitress know this philosophic truth? [If you can use the word truth…] She works at a cafe, where as we all know from the last blog, ideas reach fruition.
How does this apply to writing? Other than the philosophical diatribe?
In writing we find the only place left on earth where content can be of any length; from the short text i>u, to full length series on the ethics of bio-warfare. Only writers have this luxury. TV, videos, streaming program is limited to a very narrow amount of time to get its message across to the consumers of content before they are off onto something else. Advertising is under attack from all angles, but more importantly conversations are under attack. We cut one another off and rarely have dialog on topic. Exploring an explosive topic for debate is reduced to a few short sentences. This is a result of how we get our education in these days of instant information. Please note that spewing information is exactly that spewing information. There is a difference between writing and information dumps.
Information dumps are discussed on forums or in the comments after a brief, often biased article. The comments have been know to be controlled by an army of bloggers, social media secret agents and tweeters.
But books, stories, articles, even flash fiction allows writers to not be contained by the spin doctors of the modern media circus. How? Writers have become the discussion of coffee shops, book clubs, human discourse. This has been done by the most valuable resource the world has left, readers. What hasn’t been anticipated by the world that condenses everything to a 5 second blurb or 140 char tweet is that absence of something is something. The great lack of intelligent verbal discussion has left us with something.
Not talkers or debaters or politicians or ‘news programs’. Readers are what will save the world. Readers need poets, and the moleskin artists that are amazing, telling epic stories with so few words.
Readers need writers like you and maybe a writer like me. So yes, I would like a coffee with no cream.