Sunday, November 04, 2012

My Post-Election Shift of Focus

As many of you know, I've spent my entire life "crusading," in one way or another, on behalf of the ideas and ideals I hold dear. That career began when I was in my teens -- a time when The Battle was its own reward. And until recently, that career took the forms of nonfiction books, essays, journalism, reviews, speeches, and audio products.

From my current vantage point, however, if I could go back in time to restart my career, I would have begun writing fiction much sooner. Even if "changing the culture" still had been a high personal priority, my recent epiphanies about the relative cultural power of Narratives (as opposed to abstract philosophy/ideology) imply that any fiction I may have written probably would have had far greater cultural impact than all of my nonfiction proselytizing.

But in truth, I no longer desire to invest myself in a vocation of "cultural change." At best, that is a dubiously ephemeral and constantly frustrating enterprise, in which progress is impossible to quantify. What would "success" look like? And if I can't tell whether my actions are making "a difference," then what's in it for me? In short, "changing the culture" is a woozy objective that is both subjective and selfless.
At this stage in my life, I want to externalize and objectify my private visions of characters that I admire, in Narratives written mainly for my own pleasure, rather than for whatever cultural benefits they might generate. Writing fiction, I've discovered, is a process that challenges my creative abilities to the utmost, that remains completely within my control and responsibility, and that leads to outcomes that are tangible, measurable, and thus more personally rewarding.

The writing of HUNTER taught me that I could do such work, and do it well. The joy and fulfillment that I experienced during the process taught me that I should do it. But I'm getting a late-life start in this new career. I have a lot of catching up to do. I waited until the end of this pivotal election campaign to give my new career the focused attention it deserves and requires. Now is the right time to turn a new page...both symbolically and literally.

This radical restructuring of my personal priorities may cheer some of you and disappoint others. I would be a liar if I were to tell you that either prospective reaction weighed heavily in my decision. I'm doing this for me, no one else. I offer these words only to explain to you, my good friends, why you will see changes here and on my other online platforms.

Thanks in advance for your understanding and, I hope, your continued interest and support.


Stephen Boydstun said...

Good sailing, Robert!

James said...

My respect for you is only increased by your honesty in sharing your decision to restructure your personal priorities. I admire your courage in doing so. Thank you for providing encouragement for those who share your appreciation of responsibility to one's own life.

robert said...

During the campaign, I happened to be reading a few books by Richard Koch, author of the 80/20 Principle (based on Pareto's work).

It was so strange to read his book, which spoke so glowingly of Bain, while at the same time the Obama campaign and the media were demonizing the very same institution, and the man who ran it.

There were SOOOOO many opportunities to create effective narratives, but the people running the campaign simply weren't equipped to do so.

I'm not a fan of either "side," but what I've noticed is that for the last few elections, if you lose enough primaries, you eventually get the Republican presidential nomination.

It's a seniority-based system, not a meritocracy.

Anonymous said...

Hello Sir,

Although I came looking for your side of a newsletter debate on anarchism-capitalism, I'm glad to have found a treasure of companionship for my own writing efforts and, of course, some enjoyable reading.

To my original quest, do you have your side of that debate which at one time appeared on your blog at and (parts 2 and 3 of the debate, I have part 1 which still appears at

Thank you,
Karl Brooks