Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thoughtlessness...and Its Consequences

Alas, I once again feel the need to delay getting back to the New Mexico landscape as encountered in  The Bisti Business. Something occurred the other day that brought another subject more urgently to mind.

I recently did something quite thoughtless, which offended someone whose friendship I treasure. These careless moments may have ended the relationship or perhaps altered it in some manner. Or maybe the friendship is strong enough to survive my carelessness. Only time will tell. In any case, I sincerely regret my witless actions and consider how much they might cost. I have hurt someone's feelings on a deep level. I have alienated a strong, supportive companion. I have possibly deprived the wronged party in some manner, as well, because I like to believe I bring something to the relationship. One careless minute...three potentially drastic consequences.

This moment of personal crisis and loss made me stop and consider how much thoughtlessness plays a meaningful part in our lives. It is the subject--and often the motivating factor--of literature for as long as there has been literature. It appears in essays and poetry and prose. An internet search of "thoughtlessness in literature" provides a staggering list of books. It plays a significant part in Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall; Fydor Dostoyevsky's Poor Folk; Melville's Moby Dick; Wells's War of the Worlds; and Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. The list goes on and on, including books by Tolstoy, Austen, Dickens, Cooper, Verne, Defoe, Wilde, Hawthorne, Washington Irving, and a host of others.

Such acts of carelessness show up--far too often--not only in myself but also in my writing, The consequences of thoughtlessness in The Zozobra Incident and The Bisti Business may have more dramatic and bloody consequences, but they are much easier to handle than in real life.

Let us all resolve to hold onto our wits more closely, to think before acting or speaking, to be more considerate to others. I invite any of you to provide examples of such inconsiderate behavior and the consequences it had for you.

Thanks for listening to me whine.


Next Week: I'll try--really try--to get back to New Mexico as pictured in The Bisti Business

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