Hello, my friends. The wise and marvelous author Amy Tan hit the nail on the head in the link below describing her experiences and fears over the last several months. Already last November she was voicing the issues that we face today with leadership and governing in our county (although today things seem tenfold worse, especially due to all the destructive acts of nature occurring in the USA at this very moment).
Right now it seems like the USA has gone backwards, as if all the advances made in the 20th century and early 21st century are, or will soon be, nullified. But it doesn’t have to be that way. People in the arts and literature and education and pop culture do not agree at all with the present occupant of the White House or with any of his wretched sycophants and Nazis, even though those miscreants do *seem* to be holding sway right now. But it won’t – can’t – last. Goodness and fairness will eventually prevail.
Tan’s comments are heartbreaking. I’ve never even met her and I want to go give her a big hug. Her words are exactly why I want to stand up for people of color, lesbians, all queer people, the elderly, those with physical/health issues, poor people, children not getting a decent education, and more. One place I know I can do that is in my own literary world. I may only be able to effect the smallest of changes, and it may take years and years, but I will work at it. If every person who is a “minority” (and *we* in the minority actually outnumber the villains in this situation!) if we could work at changing our own hearts and minds, stand together with patience and compassion, and make an effort to develop allies to work with, over time we’d develop a much better world.
In our publishing and writing, let’s take on issues thematically and plot-wise that add depth and perspective to the conversations about equality, human rights, dignity, and fairness, especially for those who can’t do it themselves. Let’s encourage people from all backgrounds to tell their stories. Let’s step outside our comfort zones and read books we ordinarily wouldn’t by voices we don’t often hear—maybe even leave a review of support or send an email of praise to the author. And let’s help young/new/aspiring writers who aren’t invited into the “mainstream.” It would mean the world to other writers if established authors reached out with encouragement, assistance and advice while also using their writing to open up the world. We could be regularly casting varied types of characters in our own books and stories. Open up your writing creations with new ideas and issues! Add people of color as heroes. Change up your villains. Write from a child’s point of view, or an immigrant’s perspective, or about a day in the life of someone not at all like you.
No effort is ever wasted, even the smallest of gestures can make a difference. Give aid and comfort. Use social media to prod people to do something. March if you can or make phone calls and write Letters to the Editor or to state and federal politicians where you demand fairness and equity for all. Do a little something every day, every week, whenever you can, whatever you can. If enough people lift every voice and sing out their demands, we CAN make a difference.
As the amazing and perceptive Amy Tan once said, “When you read about the lives of other people, people of different circumstances or similar circumstances, you are part of their lives for that moment. You inhabit their lives, and you feel what they’re feeling, and that is compassion. If we see that reading does allow us that, we see how absolutely essential reading is.”
In order to have books to read about the lives of other people, we need writers to use their imaginations, seek Truth, and write about matters of consequence. If you’re a writer, you’ve been given a talent to use. Amy Tan once said, “Writing is an extreme privilege but it’s also a gift. It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.”
Use your gifts of imagination, creativity, and vision to bestow the fruits of your writing gifts upon others. Words matter. Words can make a real difference. Stories make the world go round. So please,
Lori L.Lake is the award-winning author of the Gun series, numerous novellas and anthologies, and lives in Portland OR with her partner. Check out her website Here