Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Let's gossip, shall we?

Gossip always makes me think of malicious intent. Whether it be for the thrill of knowing first or delight in other's misfortune, it always meant bad things to me. That really isn't my intent today, but serves as a method of introducing someone who hasn't ever made an appearance in my writing before and probably won't after.

While I don't believe the person that is the subject of discussion reads this, on the small chance he/she does, I'll assign a random name - Ed. Ed is one of the many interesting members an area writing club.

A participant and irregular attendee for as long I have been a member, Ed is one of those people that I both welcome and hate to see. His opinions are strong. His ideals are unknown. He is open to discussion and debate over any topic of interest to him.

Unfortunately, we are a writing club, not a debate club.

Ed's pieces are varied. One week might be politics, the next philosophy. One of his favorite things to do is explore the definition of a word, like patriotism or freedom.

His focus is sharp. He keeps things on track. We irritate him when discussion of his own piece or anyone else's takes longer than ten minutes. Fifteen at the most. His writing is good, but could be better. His intent isn't clear through the piece, but the discussion it invokes. I've never seen him bring something twice.

The club is open to everyone, but many of us are focused on publication and making our writing better. Ed wants to discuss the content and doesn't take critiques well.

The last meeting even earned the following comment "Doesn't anyone have something to say about the content?" I might have, but didn't want to get off track.

The piece was based on current events involving cartoonists and Middle Eastern religions. He didn't say anything poorly, but everything about it was touchy. It wasn't the time or the place to discuss.

Like I said, we're a writing club, not a debate club.

I wish I had the fortitude to say that to him, rather than writing it here.

Even offering a comment about the writing generally brings a dismissive wave or gesture from Ed. I've pretty much learned that he isn't going to listen to any suggestion, so unless I feel very strongly about the structure or something that I feel would improve the piece, I don't say it. It's not worth it to me.

And it keeps comments about his piece to under ten minutes.

No comments: