As writers we are in a unique position — we write so others can read our thoughts put on paper, sound and screen. If we’re at all successful and others read/hear/see our words that means actually have at least some influence. Although for most of us the influence seems pretty small, it’s there and it’s important. People seem to long for clear voices to reflect back to them both what they want to hear and what they want to learn about.
We are living in a time of terrific upheaval. It’s hard to know exactly where to start, but here’s my personal ‘things that make me want to run in circles scream and shout’ list.
My personal list
- The outcome of the 2016 Presidential election
- Climate change
- The Covid-19 pandemic
- The death of George Floyd at the hands of Policeman Derek Chauvin and the subsequent protests which have spread not just around our country but into much of the rest of the world as well — the same world bearing the brunt of the same pandemic
- The disbursement of peaceful protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets so the 45th President could posture in front of the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church and his subsequent talk threatening the American people with military action right here in our country
Your list will probably overlap at least a bit yet be quite different than mine.
You and I have an opinion and both are important
Initially I thought I’d be able to write a ‘neutral’ or ‘non-partisan’ article. Obviously I’ve failed at that. I simply don’t know how to talk about current events and leave my view out of it.
Maybe that’s okay. Like you I do have opinions and even when those opinions are seemingly opposed, our expression of them can lead to deeper understanding of each other if we’re even a tiny bit willing.
Like you, I have an opinion or several and I have a way with words that allows me to express my concerns. So do you.
It’s that way with words and a well thought out opinion that makes it imperative we writers write and express how we see/experience/feel what’s happening in our country — it is, after all collectively our country. It can be our form of protest, our statement that we want change. Our words where others find them can be one of the ways we participate. Our words can be poetry, expressions of rage or fear or confusion or hope or all of that and more.
And if not us, who?
Yes, I’m sure there are at least a few in this audience who see things quite differently than I do. I may not like your opinion, but if you share it with me and I’m wise enough to at least consider it, we have collectively, I believe, a way through this together.
If we don’t speak up, who will?
Over at Forge, Miyah Byrd wrote an article called If You’ve Ever Wondered What You Would Have Done During the Holocaust You’re Doing It Now. To which I say ‘Yes, yes we all are. Take a moment to read it and think how it might apply to you. Our silence can speak as loudly as our words. Words etc. at least require some conscious thought; silence can happen almost by accident and it’s deadly. Let’s make our contribution, whatever it is, consciously. As writers, let’s write for god’s sake!
I’m using my fear to motivate me to find and tell my truth. I’m also working daily to become conscious and take responsibility for my own white privilege. And I look for ways to make other contributions.
Somehow I’ve been blessed with some writing ability and I’ve been a pretty good steward of it over time. Now it’s even more important that I speak up and urge you to do likewise.
Write well and often,
I built a free email masterclass for you called The Four Secrets of Making Your Writing Pay. I hand-crafted the whole thing. It took me a couple months.