Garrison's button

Obviously, somebody or something pushed it. Garrison Keillor’s latest essay at Salon is titled: Writers, stop whining.

Not that I disagree with his general premise. We are a whiny lot. For my part, I try not to, but sometimes it squeaks out of me anyway.

A good bit from a very grouchy essay:

The biggest whiners are the writers who get prizes and fellowships for writing stuff that’s painful to read, and so they accumulate long résumés and few readers and wind up teaching in universities where they inflict their gloomy pretensions on the young. Writers who write for a living don’t complain about the difficulty of it. It does nothing for the reader to know you went through 14 drafts of a book, so why mention it?

The truth, young people, is that writing is no more difficult than building a house, and the only good reason to complain is to discourage younger and more talented writers from climbing on the gravy train and pushing you off.

Why does this make me feel guilty? Have I shoved somebody off a train lately? Maybe this is that well known cop-in-the-rearview-mirror syndrome. No matter how well you’ve been driving, a flush of panic. You are sure you’ve done something awful and just put it out of your head, but the cop will now wave the evidence in your face. Until she passes you and zips off into the sunset to scare the bejesus out of somebody else.

Garrison Keillor is in my rearview mirror just at this moment, and my palms are sweaty.