People often say that words aren’t dangerous. But writers know better than that. We understand the power that words have. When we wield them we are all aware of how we’re casting lightening stolen from the Gods.
Events in the world prove just how fickle words are. Assaulted by ‘fake news’, ‘alternative facts’ and ‘post-truth’ a fiction writer gets concerned. People are using the words we love to spread fear not knowledge. Moreover, the seriousness of reality can make our whimsical tales feel unworthy of attention.
But fear not. Ursula Le Guin in her usual brilliant fashion explained the difference between these ‘lies dressed as truth’ and actual fiction. You aren’t part of the distraction, you’re part of the fight against it.
Those words that you pull from your mind are not a distraction from current events. They are a mirror to it, deliberately or not. You have something to say. About life, love, truth. Your words will make people think and feel. By thinking people have power. And by feeling, people find the truth. Research shows those who read fiction books are more empathetic to the world around them. They’ve been inside the minds and the stories of people who, though fictional, are not themselves. Stories show us there’s a world of thoughts and feelings out there and though we are important, we are not only and we are not lonely.
Moreover, these words you write – they’re important to you. They keep you going. They take what’s inside of you and give it somewhere to live. Your writing has extra meaning in these times. So keep broadening those horizons because we need it.