Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Small Life In A Big World

In the past few weeks, while watching the change of power in Egypt, other protests in the Middle East, and the tap dancing of our own government as it weighs both short-term and long-term ramifications of current events, I was often reminded of one of my favorite movie lines:

“I live a small life. Well, valuable but small. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it or because I haven’t been brave?”

The above line is typed into an e-mail by Kathleen Kelly, the book store owner played by Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail.

World news makes me feel very small. In my nearly six decades on this planet – an infinitesimal speck, if even that, in the overall scheme of things – I have witnessed the assassinations of JFK, RFK and Martin Luther King, Jr. Watched in horror as a space shuttle exploded on TV in real time. Viewed thousands of New Yorkers fleeing for their lives as two giant towers toppled to the ground. I have watched race riots on TV both as a kid and as an adult and saw the fall of the Berlin Wall. I’ve followed the news as one regime after another fell to or prevailed over protesters, as one dictator took the place of another, as wars were fought and use of nuclear weaponry threatened.

When hurtling towards my next book deadline or juggling several large projects at the office, it’s easy to think of current events unfolding half a world away as not being relevant to my life. After all, my life is small. Valuable, but small. But in doing that I am not being very wise and certainly not very brave. What happened in Egypt will have a bearing on my life. It may not be immediately evident as to how, but it will and does matter. Each time history takes a sharp turn, even us little guys going about our lives cloaked in bored contentment will eventually feel the ripple.

If there is one regret I have at this moment, it’s that I wish I were brave enough to tackle some of life’s more serious issues in my books. Sure, I battle weight prejudice in my Odelia Grey mysteries, but I mean topics I could really sink my teeth into, writing words that would leave readers breathless and evaluating their own beliefs.

I wish I were brave enough to upset the apple cart, stand on it and yell another favorite movie line, this one from Network:

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Note: Alas, this is my last blog enty for Inkspot. I have been on this blog for years and have enjoyed it greatly, but with growing demands on my time, I have decided to bow out and let a fresher face take my place.  You can continue to read my occassional blog posts at Criminal Minds and at Babble 'n Blog.

Sue Ann Jaffarian
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Lisa Bork said...

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."

"A person's a person, no matter how small."

— Dr. Seuss

I'll miss you, Sue Ann.

Kathleen Ernst said...

You were brave enough to go after your writing dreams! And you never let yourself get stale, starting not one but two new series.

Good luck on all new ventures, and I hope to see you at Malice!

Beth Groundwater said...

Hi Sue Ann,
I'm really going to miss reading your blog posts here! I wish you well at Criminal Minds and Babble n' Blog.

Darrell James said...

I often feel powerless over world events. And tend to remain absorbed in my own little world. I admire those who are willing to fight the "big fight".

ps. We know where to find you, Sue Ann. You're not far away.

Barb said...

I'll miss reading your posts here, Sue Ann. Will catch you on your personal blog instead.

And there's another way to leave readers breathless. Just add more racy scenes to your books. Oh, wait. That's probably not what you were talking about. ; )

Barb said...

Oh, poop. Forgot to sign my name above. That was me, Barb Goffman, Sue Ann. (And we'll sure miss you at Malice this year. Hope to see you at Bouchercon in the fall.)

Keith Raffel said...

Sue Ann, getting absorbed in a great book is one of the pleasures of life. Many thousands owe you big time for that! Good luck and keep on trucking!

Lois Winston said...

Sue Ann, your books help people escape from the madness of the world around us. We all need that. Don't think for a minute that what you do doesn't matter in the greater scheme of things.

I'll miss you here but look forward to reading more of your posts at 7 Criminal Minds.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful comments and send off.

Barb - you want "racy?" Just wait until you read Baited Blood, the 2nd vampire mystery. ;) Or the non-mystery I'm working on. And I will be a Bouchercon in 2011.

Alice Loweecey said...

Sue Ann, you'll be missed.

Alan Orloff said...

Sue Ann, I don't know many writers braver than you. We're not buying that "small life" bunk.

I'm going to miss you here on the blog, but you can bet I'll hunt you down wherever you are.

Julia Buckley said...

What a great and philosophical post, Sue Ann! I'm sorry to see you go; I hope you come back some day soon.

Bonnie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bonnie said...

Sue Ann,

I love the thoughtfulness of this post. It is a recognition that, though we may be "small," our lives are connected in ways that we will probably never even realize.

G.M. Malliet said...

So long, come back and visit, ya hear?