When The World Is Burning, Make Art

‘This is precisely the time when artists go to work. .There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.’– Toni Morrison, 1993 winner of Nobel Prize in Literature

If you’re reading this SJW-tastic blog , I’m going to assume you’re completely appalled at Donald Trump winning enough Electoral College votes to become President of the United States (for readers outside the USA, Hilary Clinton won more total votes, but our election system is weird). So why, in the face of this nationwide dumpster fire, am I going to keep writing fiction and keep blogging about the intersection between fiction and social issues?

Because art changes hearts and minds. Art has a real impact on the world (after all, if books of fiction posed no threat to dictators, why would they burned?).  Art allows hope and beauty and reflection in the midst of chaos. History is full of examples of fiction that changed the world– Uncle Tom’s Cabin rallied much-needed white allies against slavery, Oliver Twist drummed up enough popular sentiment against cruelty to the poor to get workhouses abolished in England, and so on.

When we make art, we affirm that beauty exists in the world. When we make art, we speak to truths in a way that facts and figures cannot, the deeper emotional experiences of being human, and reach people in a way that logic and argument and numbers just don’t. We can reach out with our stories and dances and sculptures and comedy and change the world, even if only a little, into a better place.

Now go create something beautiful.

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