Saturday, June 12, 2010

Writing to Change the World

I just finished reading a book called Writing to Change the World, by Mary Pipher. She writes about the fact that, no matter whether it's nonfiction or fiction, prose or poetry, music, blogs, or essays, the main motivation for many writers is to make some kind of change in the world. And given the circumstances facing all of us today, from gigantic oil spills to war and global warming, the world badly needs for its humans to make a change. Despite the sobering truths Ms. Pipher points out in her book, the message that shines forth from her pages is a message of hope. She reminds us that with our words, we can all make a difference.

It may start with an audience of only one person, then slowly grow to hundreds. Regardless of the size of its readership, every piece of writing that expresses the need for change while inspiring, educating, and reaching out to connect, is a piece of writing that has the potential to help all of us. In the process of writing about writing for change, Ms. Pipher has provided something that perfectly illustrates her subject. Her book inspires, teaches, and connects, as well as providing an experienced voice of encouragement for any writer who wants to help create something larger than himself. Centuries later, any given writer may have fallen into obscurity, but his words may have grown into a beacon left behind to help light the way for others. I can't remember which writer said the words, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world," but I will remember the words even after my last breath. Surely there isn't any better legacy than that.

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