Saturday, March 03, 2007

How Core are Values?

I've noticed that the sense of urgency that once seemed to fuel the world apparently doesn't currently. There was a time when telephone calls were returned the same day, when emails were responded to promptly, where people called to cancel appointments if they couldn't keep them, and people generally kept their word if they gave it. Those old values no longer seem to be standard, and, at the moment, if you anticipate that they are you may well set yourself up for grave disappointment.

It is not the least uncommon, particularly in the literary community, to hear horror stories about the agony and frustrations encountered because channels of communication were not open between a professional and the individuals and entities they depend upon for their livelihood and well-being. Recently, a long term, very well respected literary professional spoke of tossing his hat in and walking away from the industry because all the rules of the game as he knew it, as he learned it academically and through years and years of practical application, has simply evaporated.

I listened that day as the reversal of his values, the ignorance of what once constituted to him good literature but now seemingly held little weight within the industry was described. I observed the visible anguish this person felt and I envisioned his core touchstones being ground into a powdery dust which someone held in their hands and was blowing into his face with a menancing chuckle. His world, certainly he believed, had changed.

But since then, I find that I cannot help but wonder if these are genuine changes or just blimps on a screen? If, although standards, courtesy, promises, and your basic word might momentarily be socially demoted they won't rebound soon with a vengence? I think I'll try to hold out for that. I think I'll keep being accountable and responsible, if to no one other than myself. And, I think I'll keep expecting that from everyone else, too. I'm not letting anyone off the hook.

If you give me your word be prepared because I'm expecting you to keep it.


MsJayy said...

Wow. I would love to say that this is the first time I've heard of someone giving up & walking away's not. While I think you can't always play the new game by the old rules, you new strategy can & should be grounded in YOUR core values. I'm with you - you give me your word, I'm expecting some things. Point blank.

Shelia said...

I still expect people to respond in a timely manner when I send out correspondences or leave messages. I've worked in corporate america for over a decade and if you don't and the person goes to your boss, you're in trouble; so I kind of expect the same thing in the literary field, but I don't get it...which in turn leads to disappointment. I hate to hear another good author might be leaving the field because of it.