First things, first. As I post this, Muslims on the other side of the world are waking up and celebrating the end of Ramadan. Eid Sa‘eed!
If you are celebrating the Eid, I hope you have a blessed day. I also hope (if you’ve been following this blog for the past month), you’re able to take fifteen minutes to write. That goes for all of you who are not celebrating the Eid, too!
Indonesian Muslim children in a parade celebrating Eid al-Fitr in Jakarta. Photo credit Dita Alangkara/AP
OK, time to change the topic and think about writing.
I live in a rural, poor area that has been hit incredibly hard by the last couple of years. I find myself thinking about poverty, and its causes and effects, a lot. One of the frustrating things about the state of literature (at least in the United States) is that it is largely a product of the middle or upper class. Working people; farmers, carpenters, factory workers – not to mention the chronically unemployed generally have bigger issues to deal with than “My Muse is being a bitch and won’t talk to me.”
Maybe this doesn’t frustrate you. But it frustrates the hell out of me. Hence, today’s prompt.
Ready… If you need some hard numbers to help you think about the class structure in America, check this out. Or read about what America’s economic crisis looks like from England.
Set… “I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.” Richard Wright
Today’s prompt: Either write about your character coming in contact (and/or conflict) with someone who is from a different economic class than he is, or write about your own class experience. Can you remember the first time you realized that some people have more money than others? Class differences can spark strong emotions, but we are often taught to suppress these feelings and to guard our behavior in these situations. The strong emotional currents this creates provides the writer with a wealth (ahem) of material.
Write about what you don’t know about a social or economic class, or a lifestyle that is completely different than yours.
Scribble… Scribble… Scribble…
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Who’s been taught that our words have value? Or our drawings, too, for that matter. We fail ourselves and each other by not believing that our messages need to be heard, can be heard, and better be heard. So many, too long, have been undervalued and dismissed. We might be feeling a pinch, but just talk with a friend (you know who they are) who pulls it together on less than the price of your first car and still has to find medicine to be able to keep going for herself and her family. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The imbalance of material desire over the needs of the invisible frustrates the hell out of me.
It’s time to take action. No more wimpy words. Writers, artists! Your message needs to be heard or you wouldn’t have thought of it. And if you don’t think you have one yet, just go ask and listen. Someone needs to be heard today.
get at me bro