It’s easy to get the feeling we live in dark and dangerous times. You only have to read the news, or sometimes just walk out into the street, to be concerned about the direction our societies are moving. Growing intolerance. Increasing gaps between haves and have-nots. And the rising community anger that goes with all these things. It’s all more than a little disturbing.
Which leads to the big question at the heart of this post. What am I supposed to do about it? What is the role of the writer when things begin to go dark and clouds seem to be streaming in to cover the light?
It’s a difficult question to answer, because I suppose there is no answer. It’s whatever a writer feels is the most appropriate response. Some writers will want to dig deep down into that darkness. To expose all the hatred and anger, and provide an experience that throws readers right into the heart of it. And there’s nothing inappropriate about that. It’s important that the world is revealed in all its ugliness, and we authors have an important role in that regard.
The one thing that concerns me though about this approach is that placing an emphasis on the dark side of the world can end up being overwhelming. If all you’re experiencing is hatred and anger, it can be difficult to see the world in any other way. And without any kind of light to work towards, it’s easy to give up hope.
And that’s where I find my answer. That’s where I realise exactly what my role should be as a writer in these troublesome times. I’m here to provide a little hope. To shine some light in the darkness, in order to give everyone something to move towards.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore the darkness. Oh no, in my own way I’m going to make sure to highlight the ugly and the greedy and the intolerant and hateful, the full gamut of negative human emotion and behaviour. But that’s not all I’m going to do. I’m also going to emphasise that even in the darkest times, there’s always going to be a little bit of hope. There’s always going to be a little bit of sunshine and laughter, a bit of bright colour and light music playing amidst the gloom.
Because none of us can live without hope.
Posted by Jonathan Gould and tagged as