Thursday, November 18, 2010

Let's be Blunt about writing "edgy"

It's the kind of word that, well, frankly sets my teeth on edge. For one thing, if you are labeling your own work as edgy (especially if you sat down to write it as such), then it's probably not. If you have jumped on a bandwagon to label your book 'edgy' then it's like sitting at the cool kids lunch table a couple years after the cool kids started eating off campus.

To me, it's also brings with it the risk of making your work sound dated fast. It's amazing to me how many books and movies and TV shows look simplistic, muddled, meanings and downright silly because they wanted to be the edgy voice of their day. A lot of crime shows of the 70s (Starsky and Hutch, even Dragnet - I mean have ya ever seen Blue Boy??) are like that, as is much of what Norman Lear produced in the early 70s. It's fun to watch an episode of Maude or maybe All in The Family for the historical content but for entertainment or enlightenment? Not so much. The shows that stay are the ones that avoided the edge and thought about what really matters to people.
Andy Griffith once described the success of The Andy Griffith Show as being a show about a place where people all really wanted the best for one another. And how each of us longs for that kind of place.

Dick Van Dyke said they made a choice not to use slang of the 60s on their show because it wasn't about the time, it was about the people and their relationships and that was timeless. With that in mind a link to share one of my favorite moments in radio that proves that being sincere is the key to making those connections that last.