“All I can hope to do this evening is speculate with you and have you speculate with me. I’m going to ask you some questions, then have you ask me some questions, then we’ll see what happens.” James Baldwin
I heard those words of Baldwin’s in a speech he gave about the moral responsibility of a writer. I hit the pause button, dialed things back, and listened to them all over again. Then I did it again and wrote the words down.
I think they sum up the best and most a writer can hope to do. I think they sum up the best and most anyone can hope to do if they hope to be serious about doing something.
We can observe. We can speculate about what we’ve observed. We can share our speculations with others and listen to their speculations as well. We can ask questions. We can allow ourselves to be questioned. We can measure and test and tinker and attempt to find out how accurate and valid our speculations really were. We can see what happens.
And I think that’s the best and the most I can hope to do here. Observe. Speculate. Ask questions. Measure. Test, Tinker. I think that’s what the work of a writer is. I think, to a very large extent, that’s what everyone’s work is. The question each day is whether or not we will decide to do the work.
That is what I’m trying to do.