Like many writers during this time I am trying to figure out what the purpose of my writing skill is in this new era.
On Twitter I’ve seen writers say things like ‘what’s the point anymore’? I also thought similarly for a while. And when I look back at previous blog posts, these do seem like trivial and unnecessary concerns in light of our present circumstances.
But my dear Writers, we have a very vital role to play right now. We are the creatives, dreamers, visionaries, communicators. Whether we write poems, short stories, novels , or scripts, we communicate about human experiences.
And we need to continue to connect with other humans right now, many of whom are struggling.
Here are three ways we can help ease the suffering of others right now.
- Shared experiences
When I write poems, they tend to be autobiographical. So when the pandemic happened, I started writing about my experiences. This includes poems about being scared, unfocused, frightened, hopeful, dismayed, and so on.
At first I thought, who wants to read about how destabilizing and frightening this is? Shouldn’t I be radiating optimism in everything I do?
But honesty and authenticity offer validation. It allows each of us to be relieved knowing WE ARE NOT ALONE.
Being human is a shared collective experience. Offer that. Provide that. Help others to know that they are not alone.
- Inspiring visions
Our social systems are shifting and under strain. The uncertainty of our collective future is pronounced and frightening.
Writers can imagine and dream up visions to inspire and console.
Use your writing power to present concrete images of potential. Send them out into the world like life rafts to hold onto. Help others remember that humans have the gift of imagination, innovation, compassion, connection.
Please paint us a vibrant picture of what’s possible.
- Sweet distraction
More than ever, we need to offer the sweet, sweet consolation of ‘losing yourself in a good story’. We can’t live constantly in cycles of news and fear and grief: it’s too much.
So, dear writers, give us your greatest confections: romances, adventures, comedies, happy endings. Make us forget things for a little while.
The Arts are so important right now and you, dear writer, are an artist. We need you to help root us during this rootless time.
Forge connections between us, and help us lessen the isolation, the distances, by building pathways and conduits.
This is the clarion call to your creativity: we need you right now.
Send your work out into the world, like so many messages in a bottle. They will wash ashore to someone somewhere and help them in this time of great need.