Maybe it’s because I’m a writer. Maybe it’s because I’m altruistic and empathetic. Maybe it’s just because I’m human. Whatever the reason, I am frustrated.
I’m frustrated with the happenings of the world.
I’m frustrated with the prevalence of the “Every man for himself” mentality over the idea that we as a society should be willing to help those needing a little more help.
Friends, I am frustrated because I’m being pulled two different directions, stuck somewhere between a Hamilton and a Burr in my personal call to action. Do I talk less, smile more? Or do I not throw away my shot at making a difference?
On one hand I want to use the power behind my words to make a difference. I want to speak out against the issues I see in the world (often siding with the underdog in the process, I’ll admit). I want to fight for what I believe is right, and I know how to put the force of a punch behind nothing but my words.
On the other hand, I strive to be a peace-keeper, a finder of compromises. I understand the importance of listening to both sides of a story and admitting that the opposition might have some good points. I understand I’m not going to agree 100% with anyone about ideals or the issues or even my writing. I hate alienating people and speaking out through my writing is bound to ruffle some feathers, raise some brows.
This internal struggle has been on my mind a lot lately with the current political happenings here in the United States. As strongly as I feel about some of these issues, as much as I want to share some of the venting sessions I’ve written down, I’m going to avoid doing that. For now.
I will, however, offer this bit of advice because it goes beyond politics:
Know the power behind your words and don’t underestimate that power or the influence it can have on others, positive or negative. Consider the following words and the emotions behind them. Imagine someone is speaking these words to you in a genuine context:
I’m glad we’re friends!
You’re my best friend.
I can’t believe we were ever friends…
I love you!
I want a divorce…
The doctor says twins.
There’s no heartbeats…
In the last example, after reading the other two examples, what was going through your head as you read that first line? Was it something to the gist of “Oh no,” with you hoping that the last example would break pattern?
These words, like all words, have varying degrees of weight to them but all of them mean something. They all (hopefully) evoke a reaction. They poke at a memory, a thought, a fear.
This is what words, languages, do. They can can make a person so happy that they almost can’t take it, like they’re flying through rainbow draped clouds while the happiest song in the world radiates out of shimmering sunbeams. But words can also send a person plummeting, forcing memories to claw out from the heart and mind, reopening physical and emotional scars until a person all but drowns in an ocean abyss of their own pain.
I suppose a certain (cliché?) Spiderman quote would be fitting here: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Your words are your power. How will you use them?
That’s the question, isn’t it? I’m still struggling to find my own answer. I have to figure out which side of my internal argument holds more weight with my heart and mind.
It used to be that I had the ideal of writing happy-go-lucky stories to help people. Now, well, I have the finished rough draft of a post-apocalyptic novel and have a second one in the works. One of my best received short stories so far was about a kid who had an abusive alcoholic father.
Maybe I’m discovering that being that light I want to be to future readers sometimes requires telling stories with hard truths that might rub some people the wrong way. Maybe, in reality, voicing my frustrations through my writing is about finding a balance that can teeter depending on the subject and the story.
Friends, do you ever find yourselves feeling conflicted about the subject matter you want to cover in your writing?