Jump in the lake
“The writer is only free when he can tell the reader to go jump in the lake. You want, of course, to get what you have to show across to him, but whether he likes it or not is no concern of the writer.” — Flannery O’Connor
I admire Flannery O’Connor, but I was somewhat taken aback by her stark advice. Not because I disagree with it, but because my first thought was, “I NEVER want to tell anyone who reads my blog to go jump in the lake.”
On second thought, though, maybe I do. If any of the people reading this blog are cruel or mean-spirited, they can go jump in the lake. Those who refuse to open their eyes and be grateful for the blessings that grace their lives can go jump in the lake. Those who want to bring us all down to wallow in the mire of despair and hopelessness: jump away.
But I hope they won’t stay there. I hope the water in the lake will be of a bracing temperature, waking them up to life. I hope they will swim vigorously if they know how, or learn to dog paddle if they don’t. I hope they will emerge from the lake feeling a little happier, saying to themselves, “What was I THINKING?!”
To the rest of you, the majority who are here because you have faith, or tenacity, or courage, or good will, or all of the above: I do sincerely hope you like what I write, even if O’Connor thinks it’s no concern of mine. And if someone tries to sabotage your determination to defeat despair, well…you know what to tell them.