“I’m gonna lay down this world, gonna shoulder up my cross, gonna take it home to my Jesus, ain’t a that good news…” Ain’t A That Good News, a spiritual, arranged by William Dawson
There ain’t much good news in the world these days, is there? Sometimes it seems as if the news media is intent upon showering us with every conceivable piece of bad news they can find. I wish the nation’s journalists would use the power of the press to encourage hope and seek positive solutions for some of the current problems, rather than continue their fear mongering and doom-saying.
One of my all time favorite quotes about writing comes from Ingrid Bengis – “Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change.” There is no doubt in my mind about the truth of this statement. The power of the word – written or spoken – can be used to make or break the hearts and will of a people. In the past, I have accused the media of shaping our political opinions with their words, and while I think they have the power to do that, I believe this year their power was usurped by Barack Obama’s own eloquence, and it was his own words which influenced one of the greatest political changes this nation has ever seen.
In spite of my faith in this statement, I find it all to easy to sink into pessimism about my own writing. What’s the point? I sometimes find myself thinking. Who cares what I have to say? Why bother struggling to find just the right word, to come up with the perfect idea, to create a evocative image? What difference can it possibly make to the world? I also find my writing slipping into the “woe is me” category, becoming a litany of complaints and worries that would rival the lineup on my local talk radio station.
It’s in those times that my words – if they come at all – become mired in pessimism and negativity. When I lose sight of the reason I write – to clarify my thoughts and emotions by expressing them in words in ways that are meaningful to myself and others – I can no longer write effectively or influence any kind of positive change in myself or in anyone else.
So I hope to focus on the positive in my writing this week, to speak truth but to seek it from an angle of hope and light.
How about you? How do you find positive things to write about in these troubled times? Do you think the written word has the power to effect positive change?