Normally, I don’t like discussing religion and politics. I keep to mine and let others keep to theirs, mostly because of the controversy and vitriol the diversity tends to create. However, when it comes to writing, I don’t think writers should shy away from professing their beliefs. Not if the message is hopeful and encouraging. Not if lessons are learned or gained. Not if growth will be the result. If any of those reasons is the result of a controversial or important opinion or viewpoint, then you, the writer, are obligated to make a presentation, take a stand, and share your vision.
Why? Change is rarely if ever easy. Oh sure, we’ve all heard that before, but it is true. Let’s just look at the issue of the Confederate Flag. Now for me, I’ve never been a supporter. Mostly because I have actually read the history of the flag and know how it evolved and why (most people have not read anything about it but assume a great deal). For over a hundred years many towns have had flags flying and moments built and there has not been this kind of outcry as seen recently. No one has been standing on any courthouse steps screaming at the top of their lungs to remove the statues, down the flag, or take it off the license plates. Only when a crazed killer waves a Confederate flag (he didn’t even espouse the Confederate beliefs, not the real ones), and kills nine people that the world goes nuts and begins a kind of banishment and censorship that has risen to eyebrow breaking heights. And suddenly the pain of change begins. Whatever the reason, no matter how odd or rational or whatever, the painful transmutation begins where the world seeks betterment and plastic surgery.
Change hurts. Change shocks. Change excites. Change inspires. Change is new. Change is scary. Change is….life. Change is THE PLOT, writers.
Writers are instruments of change. We can move mountains when our words bring truth. Our truth can bring change and when used for positive reasons, we can do wondrous things. We can motivate and inspire, enliven and create. We can also scare, threaten, intimidate, command, demand, manipulate, and destroy. We, as writers, have this power too.
We have power and we have obligation. Our stories, even our small ones, can contain instruments of change. Our lessons and our messages might be small or they may be blimpy, but you should exercise your power as a writer.
Don’t be one of those people who rise up only from opportunity. Make change a force that works always. Make change because it is right, has always been right, will continue to be right because it is a universal truth and must be repeated and shared. Make change a part of your life, one by which you can live every day. Be the power, the force, and the idea that is something better and more important than a bullet or a knife, or a flag, or an acerbic word.
As writers, we have a chance to do special things. With everything you write, every thought you present, it is your moment for lessons, for change, for enlightenment, for magic.
Will you be like the Confederate Flag, a token of bygone values, of dead mores, of antipathy? Or will you be like the sun, rising glorious and steady, regular and necessary, honest and blunt, lighting the way?
Write. Chose wisely the way you cut your words and change the world for the better.