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The Lost Generation


Harry Buschman

When and if you get to be my age, you will find yourself in the minority, regardless of the issue. Therefore the things I might consider important are important to a diminishing segment of the population. In many cases they’re only important to me.

I look at this world of words a lot differently than most of you do. I’ve been involved, in one way or another, with writing all my life, but fame and fortune have passed me by without so much as a friendly pat on the ass. In spite of that I’ve kept up a one-sided love affair with literature out of all proportion to what it has given me in return.

Everyone is writing these days. One man can’t read all there is to read. In my case there is a threshold of numbness that seems to settle in on me and act as an anesthetic, and before long nothing makes sense to me -- the work can be good or bad -- I really can’t tell. Apparently others can. They are not afflicted with the disease of saturation. They are insatiable and unstinting in their praise. I read reactions like, “awesome” “cool” “boss” “Man! you really rule!” So I go back again and try to find what I apparently missed only to find it still eludes me.

I grew up in the era of The New Yorker, Harper’s and The Saturday Review. The boys and girls of the ‘lost generation’ were my heroes, and to a large extent they still are. I lived more and read less in those days, but what I did read seemed to stick with me longer than the stuff I read today. Words meant more to me in those days and they were indelible as well. Once written, they stayed written -- and they lingered in my mind like lessons I learned in school. I remember reading Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” in galley proofs a chapter at a time while commuting to City College. You don’t forget that kind of reading.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am not overly impressed with writing on the net -- my own included. There are too many of us in the boat and very few of us are willing to trim the sail or empty the bilge. We all want to steer.

©Harry Buschman 2001 (400)

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