Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Fools and I II (2)

Fools and I II makes three, a whole family.
Born in the Netherlands I'm a Calvinist, not by faith, not by conviction, but by default.
Confusion is my part (see Fools and I (1))
And I'm not the only one.

A Dutch writers' association I'm a member of states clearly about participation in an e-mail forum:
"Maak geen reclame," don't advertise yourself, don't, oh please, don't share your success.

"Doe maar gewoon, dan doe je al gek genoeg," "Act normal, that's crazy enough," is the curse and motto the proud Dutch have to fight all their life.

Anybody who sticks out his neck runs the risk to be decapitated or admired. Yes, admired. For the same person who's despised by his peers for taking center stage, will be hailed by the people. He who, in the eyes of his colleagues appears to be suffering from histrionic personality disorders, will be lauded by his audience. Loud and clear.

The effect?
Affected Entertainers (with a capital E, singing Mi, mi, mi, mi, mi), are invited to author columns and books.
The result?
Pleasant reading material, "lectuur", which sells better any way, and any day, than literature, wrought painstakingly by lettered (wo)men.

How different is the American environment. Advertising being part and parcel of society, sharing successes starts in Pre-School.
"My infant is potty trained, my tod's vocabulary matches that of our 12 year-old golden retriever, my kindergartner has published her first novel."
Peer groups form before elementary school is started. And everybody is a winner, everybody can exceed his parents wildest dreams. Those who don't wind up by the way side. Such is the flip side of course.

There's always a flip side.

Don't let the flip side discourage you, even on Skid Road, some logs slid faster to the water front.
I'm not kidding. In the days when early Seattleites clear-cut the hills around Puget Sound, the street, now known as Yesler was nothing but a log run.

Today every town has it's own Skid Row, a place you don't want to go to, or wind up. Nothing to advertise there. Unless you have a good story to tell. And who doesn't.

Good stories often are the bad ones.
The ones that make you think, "I'm glad I'm not in his position."

And yet, there's a market for the truly good stories as well. Magazines that print the good stuff, the encouraging stuff, the stuff that keeps you going, such as "Hope", "Ode" and "Yes". Then there's "The Sun" which gives readers a chance to share both good and bad experiences. There are places where people find inspiration in positive experiences of others.

Thank goodness for our places in the sun, for a spot in the footlight, for rays that bounce off the next person. Sometimes there's light in a dark spot. A place where even Calvinists can shine. All that's needed for that to occur, is reflection. A matter of sharing.
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