I didn’t post last week because, well, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that world matters have (once again) been hard to comprehend. And the post I was going to share didn’t quite feel right. So I’ve dug this post out instead. Sadly, I’ve had cause to share this more than once over the past few years as the world seemingly tries to outdo itself with more and more crap events. And here we are again wondering what’s going on – and what our writing means in the face of painful reality.
As writers, we often pitch our work as a way to escape from the everyday, a place for our readers (and ourselves) to soothe external troubles. But in times like these, it seems frivolous to even consider working on our stories.
But no matter what’s going on in the real world, stories will always be important.
Ursula Le Guin, in her usual brilliant fashion, explained there’s a difference between “lies dressed as truth” and actual fiction. The unpracticed and willfully destructive use words to spread fear and hate. Our tales of fiction, no matter how “literary” they may be, can be a powerful part of the fight against this.
Your words are important.
Your words make people think, make them question, make them feel. Research shows those who read fiction are more empathetic to the world around them, to the people who are different from themselves. Stories show us there’s a world of thoughts and feelings out there. And though we are unique, we’re part of a giant wealth of uniqueness that this world needs. By doing this, stories can wrestle back the power from sloppy word-wielders, those whose aim is to stir up the most base of our emotions, to stifle our thoughts and poison us against our fellow humans.
And your words are important to you. Don’t minimise that part. They keep you going and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Your writing can have even more meaning in extraordinary times. So keep writing – we need it.
What do you think? Please share in the comments.
Rather than. Calling legitimate news fake news I am hoping Pres Trump will soon recognize the power of words… . Even expressed. On twitter.
Reblogged this on Susan A. Royal.
Well, I just started blogging and it’s hard to believe your words are important, when you can barely write a sentence without questioning its quality. I think the phrase “Events in the world prove just how fickle words are” explains why so many new bloggers are afraid to write.
Thanks for your comment. Every writer questions their work, it’s in our nature. But that doesn’t mean you should stop. I was scared when I started blogging, I was terrified when I put out my e-book – but if you don’t do, you’ll never know. You will make mistakes, you’re human. But I think as long as what you write isn’t setting out to deliberately hurt people in the pursuit of likes or notoriety, then dare to be bold and put your thoughts out there. A thick skin is must but never lose your empathy.
Yup – words are important and, for me, whether I’m trying to make sense of ‘reality’ or waxing on via ‘fantasy/murder mystery’ instead of giving in for my need to tell this entity or that, “the 7th level of hell is reserved for you, mark my words…’ – and or, whether I just need to remind myself and give myself some ‘hope’ that tomorrow won’t look as bad as it feels like it will be, tonight, well – I know we are all different, but I seriously wonder how so many of my fellow human ‘beans’ manage to get that done without writing, journaling, etc… even if they ‘never hit the publish’ button – 😀
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