These posts recently moved – we might say – to a different point of view from the usual topics I write about here. Those will continue, of course (there are still two more posts to be published about my beloved Vienna, for example).
But now I find myself moving into what we used to refer to as “current events” when I was a schoolboy. It’s a bit of a departure but as I read about and think about what’s happening it seems to me to be the right thing to do, to move in this direction.
Why? At this point in my life, why should I be moving in this direction, when most of my writing – as shown in the list of topics listed across the top of the screen with each post – is generally concerned with other subjects?
I usually leave current events, politics, world affairs, and similar subjects to others, to the professional editorial writers whose work we see every day, to journalists who bring us our news, and the like. Of course I read much of what they write, but I haven’t yet written about these subjects (except perhaps on a few occasions I can’t really remember – after all, “current events” does show up in the list above). But now I want to write about what’s happening in our society, and that includes in our global society, in our world.
So, yes, we can ask: why am I doing this? My response is simple, and three-part:
- I am deeply committed to learning all I can – as a citizen – about what’s going on. And since my professional line of work has to do with knowledge services (which we generally think of as doing all we can to insure that what we learn is shared for the benefit of anyone who sees it), the knowledge I – and others – acquire might be of use in these troubled and unsettled times.
- Some years ago, fearing a predicted political or social upheaval of some sort, I lamented to one of my most devoted friends, an established and successful writer, that I wanted to do something, to play some part in resolving the up-coming situation that seemed to be inevitable. But, I lamented, I was too old to take to the streets in protest marches and such, and I asked her what I could do. She did not miss a beat: “You and I are lucky,” she said. “We do something not many people can do.” Of course I asked what she meant, and she simply replied, “We write. We can use our words to help people understand what’s happening.”
- Then four weeks ago, after Russia invaded Ukraine, another close friend made the single point that persuaded me to write about the war, this subject that has us all terrified. I had drearily pointed out that I don’t know how many people read what I write, but it couldn’t be very many, and I asked my friend why I should be writing about current events. His reply? Again, straight and to the point: “No matter how many, or how few, people read what you write, if anyone, even if it’s just one person, reads something helpful you’ve written, you’re doing your part. And if that person comes to understand and is able to form his or her own opinion, helped by what you’ve said, you’re doing what you supposed to be doing with your writing.”
I think my first post relating to the Russia-Ukraine war proved my point. The Metropolitan Opera Supports the People of Ukraine) had probably more readers than any single post I’ve ever written (including 237 views on LinkedIn alone, with 51 views from the New York City Metropolitan Area). Obviously we’re focusing on a topic that not only interests many people – it’s a subject that is critically important to them.
It’s too soon yet to calculate the notice paid by the readership of last week’s post. I had attended the Metropolitan Opera’s benefit concert (The Metropolitan Opera: A Concert for Ukraine), so naturally I couldn’t help but write about this moving and touching experience. I felt, personally, I had to write about it.
And, if I can, I’ll keep going with this, mixing some of my thinking about the war with other subjects I write about. After all, many friends and colleagues like to think of these writings as “Guy’s personal blog,” and one friend actually calls the blog “Guy’s online journal.” (I’m not sure that’s quite right, but I’ve never minded my writings being described that way).
And as I say often, I am happy to hear from readers about what I’m writing. It’s very important that we continue the conversation (and especially with our thoughts about the Russia-Ukraine war), and anyone who wishes to do so can write to me directly, as noted below. Additionally, most posts are uploaded under my name at LinkedIn and comments can be left there if it’s easier.
Thank you for reading what I write.
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