Are writers victims of their own stereotypes?

All over the country, past and present, men sit around playing dominoes. Photo Source: Days Gone By
All over the country, past and present, men sit around playing dominoes. Photo Source: Days Gone By

WRITERS WON’T admit it.

Accuse them, and they will deny it.

But it’s true.

I wouldn’t lead you astray.

Writers are prejudiced.

Writers are the victims of their own stereotypes.

And I’m just as guilty.

Writers drive through the Deep South.

And here’s what they find.

Narrow roads.

A lot of twists.

Even more turns.

They wander into small towns.

The downtown is old.

The buildings are crumbling.

The courthouse is a bastion of the past.

Poverty resides on one side of the tracks.

Riches lie on the other.

There are shacks.

Abandoned homes.

Grand old mansions that have survived the years.

Old men sit on street corner benches.

They whittle.

They whistle.

They play dominoes.

And writers call the towns redneck.

Why not?

It fits.

It fits the way people think about the South.

Writers wander through New England.

And here’s what they find.

Narrow roads.

A lot of twists.

Even more turns.

They wander into small towns.

The downtown is old.

The buildings are crumbling.

The courthouse is a bastion of the past.

Poverty resides on one side of the tracks.

Riches lie on the other.

There are shacks.

Abandoned homes.

Grand old mansions that have survived the years.

Old men sit on street corner benches.

They whittle.

They whistle.

They play dominoes.

And writers call the towns quaint.

Why not?

It fits.

It fits the way people think about New England.

So what’s the difference between redneck and quaint?

It’s roughly the distance between Alabama and New Hampshire.

Of course, the distance isn’t measured in miles.

It’s measured by the stereotypes that jangle around in a writer’s mind.

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