Arment: An open challenge to write for the Iowa State Daily

Recently I have been trying to recruit columnists for the Iowa State Daily.

I would like to have a really strong opinion desk with many voices and viewpoints coming from it. I’ve cast a wide net in my efforts to obtain this variety of people, and this has led me to find something that I hadn’t encountered previously.

This aberration is people who can write but don’t want to.

I had a hard time fathoming this.

When I first encountered it, I thought for sure that these people actually did want to write, and just needed to be convinced. I tried really hard with some of them. I broke it down like shotgun: how having published work would be of benefit, that putting good work out there with their name on it was something they could take pride in. I mean, was the fact columnists don’t get paid that much really enough to stop someone?

I still don’t think the money, or lack of, is enough to stop someone. I’ve slowly come to realize that some people legitimately are over it.

But how can anyone be over it?

It’s striking pen to paper in such a way to communicate your thoughts to an audience much larger than any mega phone could reach.

It’s out-articulating the braggarts and bumbling idiots that can be found in every nook and corner of our society; a way of firmly planting your feet on the ground and being willing to publicly acknowledge your beliefs to all who care enough to take others thoughts into account.

To me writing very much is a tool. I’ve carried, cared for and clung to many modern-day weapons in my short time on this earth. I realized years ago that my ability to unleash volleys of machine gun fire, or hit man sized targets from 500 yards away with an assault rifle, were trifling compared to the impact the written word delivers.

How else could Tom Robbins completely change my view on religion with “Another Roadside Attraction,” or Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” make me realize that a free market economy hasn’t existed in my lifetime? George Orwell helped me come to terms with the military industrial complex, as well as realize gay rights were something worth supporting to the utmost.

When someone tells me they don’t want to write, they walk up to the sword in the stone, feel it quiver in its sheath of granite, begging to be pulled free and turn their back on it.

The attitudes and excuses for not writing range from flimsy excuses to valid situations. Some people say they don’t have the time write, and really don’t. I think far more people say they don’t have the time than people legitimately making that claim. If you don’t have time to write, then you don’t have time to go to the bars, watch TV or do anything that is not a necessity.

Others just don’t think it’s important, or aren’t interested. What they don’t take into account is that someone else will be interested, someone else will grasp the hilt of the sword in the stone and tug it free. The people that turn their backs inevitably sound like anyone you know that complains about the president but didn’t vote — a forlorn wisdom about how it should be done that’s useless after the time for action has come and gone.

The most humorous explanation of why someone wasn’t writing their opinion was something a friend said to me.

“You chose to have your opinion published, I choose not to.”

Indeed, like how I choose not to have six-pack abs or own an island in the Caribbean. Writing is work, and that tends to scare many away from even attempting the struggle with it when they can endlessly surf the Internet, get drunk or zone out watching the tube.

Consider this my personal invitation and challenge to come and write for the opinion desk at the Iowa State Daily. Call the Daily, e-mail me [[email protected]], come in and demand my immediate attention; anything, just act!

Use your voice now, for as Mary Ann Evans once said, ” The realm of silence is large enough beyond the grave.”