“To be an antiracist is a radical choice in the face of (our) history, requiring a radical reorientation of our consciousness.” – Ibrah X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist
Words, well used, can regenerate conversations. Words can create new ways of thinking and approaching old topics. Words well placed and with good intentions can bring people together to help us forge courageously through difficult times. A good narrative, either through story or speech can influence and get people to act.
Words recruit, get people to sign on the dotted line; they even convince them to hand over their ideals and money.
The first few pages of a book either loses or hooks our readers.
How we frame our experiences (with thoughts, assumptions, desires, fears) creates our experiences. Our beliefs determine our actions. So, whoever or whatever influences our beliefs and view of the world, affects our actions.
There is a danger that we are becoming a nation of bystanders through our reading and responding to Twitter, sending texts, and feeling satisfied with ourselves if we respond to a good blog (on our phones). Retweeting a Twitter (I do this way too much) is not taking action.
If our words (even a good fiction) isn’t a call to authentic engagement then really, what’s the point? Don’t you want to influence your reader in some way so they can’t not act? An action may simply mean heading to the beach because the reader has meant to all summer (and the character in the novel died of inactivity and loneliness).
Or a writer’s words may compel you toward civil disobedience.
How are you inspiriting others, your readers to be engaged, to take some action?
My novel, tentatively titled SHIFT, (the first book of 2) is all about the internal journey, though lots of shit happens to force her on this inner journey. She comes to realize what she is capable of. Isn’t it good for each of us to know and act on our capabilities? Take risks. Shake things up (even if this just means going to the crowded beach?) Though it is fiction, I use real places and events to help make my message more real, and urgent. This book also reflects my belief that for any outer revolution to take place, an internal shift must first take place inside individuals.
Hold yourself to this :No matter what you are writing, when you are ready to share it with readers, consider how your words will call the reader to action.
“Am I crazy?" she asked. "I feel like I am sometimes."
"Maybe," he said, rubbing her forehead. "But don't worry about it. You need to be a little bit crazy. Crazy is the price you pay for having an imagination. It's your superpower. Tapping into the dream. It's a good thing not a bad thing.” ― Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being
We can’t afford to sit on the comfortable deck chair of this big beautiful cruise ship (earth) and expect the cocktails to come to us. The boat is headed to an iceberg (due to climate change). Better that we aren’t so comfortable. As a writer you can help people feel the ocean’s movement and the approach of the iceberg. You can ignite in them their own means of engagement and potential.
Even in my reporting for the local small-town paper, my intention is to capture the story in the board meetings that may stir my readers to engagement. Personal narrative is not allowed in these articles where I report on a local town board meeting. But there is story there. There are many calls to get involved. And my ear and pen find them.
Make your readers uncomfortable. Yes, give them some relief and means to the emergencies, but not too much. Make them at least get up to get their own damn cocktail. (The rocky walk to the lounge may generate some awareness.)
“In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas––from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities–– that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.” On the book jacket’s inside flap of Ibrah X. Kendi’s, How To Be An Antiracist
So, what dear Writer, is your call(s) to action?
“The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” – Ibrah X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist
“Of course, ordinary White people benefit from racist policies, though not nearly as much as racist power and not nearly as much as they could from an equitable society, one where the average White voter could have as much power as superrich White men to decide elections and shape policy.” –Ibrah X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist. (page 129)
“Life is fleeting. Don't waste a single moment of your precious life. Wake up now! And now! And now!”
― Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being
I have room for one more in my Tuesday morning Writers’ Circle that meets once a month in Mount Horeb. Starts up the 2nd Tuesday in October. Join us!
Also openings left in my upcoming (evening) RED THREAD CIRCLE. A transformational circle that meets up once a month in Prairie du Sac. Starts Thursday September 12th.
I will be at Sjolind’s this coming TUESDAY, August 27th from 9:00 till 1:00. Join me to write and visit, get some free consultation on something you’re working on. Great coffee, chocolate and pastries.