A recipe for Literature

Tonight, I went to such an interesting literary round table, that as I shivered from the cold wind as I came home, I resolved to write about it. The theme was whether literature can and should function as an anti-depressant. There were two speakers, a woman and a man, and a moderator.
The woman had recently held her own literary competition for stories that would improve people's moods and give them hope. The book has a gimmicky slogan on the back, like: this book is available without prescription, can be consumed in large quantities, has no consume by date, etc. She'd got submissions from a fruit farmer, and an old woman, who'd sent her 60-year-old daughter to collect the prize. She said, I am melancholic by nature, so I write - it's cheaper than going to a therapist!
The man had second doubts about her recipe for literature, and said that such literature can become too trivial, especially when there are problematic societal issues that need to be addressed (and which aren't being addressed in the media, that's for sure). He said, literature is not always an anti-depressant, who would want us to be on anti-depressants, anyway? She then got into a terrible huff, and said that cynicism was a terrible disease that needed to be treated. Then, she went off on a tangent, accusing the man of all kinds of things, while it became clear that she was herself guilty of all she was accusing him of (such as not having read all her work - she'd never read his). Incidentally, she is able to live off her writing, whereas he, citing another writer, said: it's possible to make a living on some days, but on others not all.
While I was initially impressed by the woman, the man did make some good points (when she allowed him to speak), and her message got lost in her emotional outbursts. I don't hold her rants against her, because maybe she'd had a terrible week, and we do live in a society that can make people paranoid, but still, it was a shame. And in general, justified indignation is not an emotion that I like to cultivate in myself, nor see in others. Still - we are all human!
At the end of the day, the woman published a book that will brighten the days of many people, even if it does not make for Literature, avec le 'L' majuscule. Perhaps this was her sore point, she did not like that the man kept insisting that "literature" address all aspects of life. She immediately interpreted his point that literature must address the political tragedies of recent years to mean that he is sponsored by a political party. But he seemed to be insisting on talking about the latent (real) politics, that no one is talking about. She said writing should never be viewed in terms of politics, and cited T.S. Eliot. My personal view is that literature does have an obligation to address social issues - however, literature ought leave us with hope, love and compassion.
'Society' is filled with landmines, which is not for the weak at heart, particularly if they have crafted their views entirely on the pedestal of aesthetics and beauty. Not even hope, love and compassion can be built entirely on aesthetics and beauty. Is not the cup that holds your wine the same that is burned in the potter's oven? And when Dostoevsky wrote that beauty would save the world, he had a lot more in mind than just pure aesthetics.
Elements: doily, tape, cabochons, bunting:

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