An Open Letter to Mediocrity

Hello Mediocrity. We meet so often, it’s no wonder we seem like friends. I have embraced you many times, shaken your warm and sweaty hands, kissed your crimson-cushioned cheeks, taken a walk in the park with you and your mediocre family. I have done all of these things at one point or another.

Despite this, we are not friends – for I love you not. I shiver every time your shadow touches mine. I have come to resent your constant intrusions into my life and work. As for your influence on the world at large: of this I can hardly speak.

I used to see you a lot: now I see you everywhere. Why so busy Mediocrity? How does your schedule allow for such copious movement? Have you ever considered the possibility that we writers may not enjoy your company at all? Oh, you are generous with your time – and affable enough in person – but one fears the repercussions of such sociability. One can have too much Mediocrity, methinks.

Perhaps some sort of holiday is in order? I hear the Maldives are marvellous at this time of year. Mongolia, meanwhile, might prove a memorable trip. How about it Mediocrity? I’ll pay for half the air fare, if that’s what is keeping you back. Or is it simply that you cannot leave us alone? You love us, I know. You have a ‘thing’ for us. Our culture fascinates you. You must have your say, day after day, month after month, year after year. You will not be silenced, I see that: not in the long term, anyway. But a break, just a brief break…

You’ve left us before, or so they say. In ancient times you were always taking holidays. During the fourteenth century, I hear, you were hardly ever seen – at least, not in Italy. Nowadays, however, you appear to have developed something of a sense of duty. You think we can’t get on without you. Well, I believe that you are wrong. I think we can. In fact, I think we can get along just fine (culturally speaking, that is).

Go on, prove me wrong. Take a break and see what happens. Get on a boat, a plane, a horse, a hovercraft, a rocket, a train, a lorry, a tram: whichever mode of transport suits you (I see you on a train, personally speaking, or in a family car). Get on that bus, that ship or that helicopter and give us a chance to work outside of your shadow. It needn’t be long. I’d take a month. But it needs to happen, some way or another.

Are you listening, Mediocrity?

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