Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Class Dismissed -- Day 39

Walk: R/T Whole Foods to Japantown to Fillmore to home
Distance: 3.5 Miles

Often when you hear authors interviewed they are asked what question they most dread
during q & a sessions or seminars. And consistently the answer is "How do you know what to write about?"

I cringe because this is exactly the question that haunts me. What to write about? The world is huge, much has been written on every subject, I get over-whelmed, feel monumentally insignificant, just basically get stopped in my tracks on every topic that comes to mind.

When I was young I felt compelled to write about upper class issues. I was so acutely aware of the nuances of class, and they intrigued me. What also intrigued was the fact that other people were apparently oblivious.

What a luxury. To apparently be so secure that you didn't have to worry - or even be aware of - the little gestures, mannerisms, phrases, clothes that included you with 'your people.' I guess if you are Prince Charles, for instance, you just go about your life. Or I used to guess that. But after he married Diana, I saw that even he had to worry about doing the right thing. He had married someone beneath him, and this was visible to all the world; there was no way the royals could hide this - so the utter immunity the upper class enjoys/expects
from what other people think was dissolved. You could see right into the royal family's struggle with the unseemly marriage, and this visibility in and of itself is declasse, not done.

So really there is no top of the social pecking order, no place you can really go for utter security. In the old days, other royals from other countries could attack and take your lands and possessions. Now the third estate's media weapons can truly can assail you by exposure of your common foibles, visibility - robbing you of the immunity that is so essential to your power.

But back then I was a budding Scott Fitzgerald or Edith Wharton, onto the unspoken rules that regulated one's inclusion or exclusion from the US Upper Class. I'm still acutely aware of these things - simply because I know them and therefore notice them as a matter of course. Like any expert in any field, I simply know what I know.
But, vis a vis my writing, I don't have the drive to expose all this, to write about it. I could, but the driving force - titulation even - is no longer there for this topic. Plus I now think it declasse to write about such things; a way to be able to hang on in a backhanded way.

Or maybe I just haven't revisited and updated my interest and examined what I might say about the topic of class now.

There are other topical possibilitiesfor my writing too.

I could write about yoga of course, but have you ever read anything that interests you about yoga? It really is the original novel-on-your-navel topic I think. There is an energy the topic lacks. I've tried before to breathe life into the topic with a few newspaper articles, but the energy is artificial. It is exhausting to come up with ploys to animate yoga writing. The New York Times succeeded recently - but really all they achieved was a headline so melodramatic you couldn't help but be drawn to the article even if you don't do or give a hoot about yoga. But, like many yoga articles, it was all headline and no article. One doctor's schtick, blah, blah, blah.

Then there is art - something I know quite a bit about. Certainly enough to write about - which I have done in the past with art reviews, book chapters, various periodicals in connection with art galleries, collections and shows. Maybe I'll write about it.

The title of my blog refers to walking - mostly around San Francisco. So I could write a San Francisco travelogue sort of blog, and I do but not just the travelogue because that doesn't have sustain my interest. Or I could write about walking per se - yawn.

For now I'm just giving myself permission to write as I please. About Nothing as Seinfeld said. A blog about nothing. But, see, that's already been done too. Darn.

A few more thoughts on class:

Now class is not so important. Many people can have/buy a 'classy' lifestyle without having any class. Certainly movie and rock stars, athletes, successful techies, etc. Class really counts for very little if anything, and might even be extinct as a viable notion.

I guess that's it. Class no longer exists in the U.S., and this is the metareason I have no energy for writing about it. When I wasn't looking it slipped off of the stage.

There are those that haven't noticed that. I was just back close to some of those people. They ride horses and chase hounds to the hunt oblivious to the fact that most people are almost entirely oblivious to them.

So now the person who needs more freedom from the mental class grid is yours truly. Nice manners, decorum, tastefulness, good education, refinement (elements of class) are still valued by me and I wish there were a lot more of these things operable in society. But they are not essential to social inclusion - in an Upper Class/High Society sense. From a certain stratum (essentially poverty) up, the US is a classless society. It's gone and it ain't coming back. The estates and titles belong to Mick Jagger and the like. Wow. Wow!

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