the ethics of writing
Mar 21, 2009
a quick note. a quick thought/question on the ethics of writing in the time of war.
we ask ourselves. the war artists. visual, performance, written word. where do art, ethics intersect? when is telling the story exploitation? what are we doing with this anyway?
today’s May Day mentions the awful loss our country sustained in the last 24 hours. I know loss. I know what it’s like to be hunted down by journalists for comments on our beloved ones who have been lost. I have been a family spokesperson. faced the television camera.
and by mentioning our four soldiers killed today, is this using someone’s tragedy? should I change details? the location? am I no better than those I wrote of in August Widow?black coats/murder of shiny microphones, video cams [that] beak, [that] claw, [that] pick at mourner carrion?
I am often told incredible things by our soldiers. they share stories of suffering. do I write this? how? sometimes they ask me if I’ll write something for them. should I?
I’ve witnessed the slow march to the soldier’s grave. the widow’s limousine pull up to the church. the parents. the comrades. the children. I wrote. no details. no names. just an initial, for MCpl A
a soldier’s girlfriend has read May Day. she told me it brings back a lot. though he’s been home a year now. she told me that she had to put it down several times as she was reading it. she thanked me. why?
do I need to know?
or should I just write.