Monday, January 7, 2008

World Changing Writing

I always knew that I had a talent for putting words together. But I never thought that I had anything worth telling – or that my version of the story was worth your time. So, I became an activist. I started working for the rights of homeless people; putting housing and work in place with people on the sidelines. We proved that we could do business using community supports to make room for almost anyone who was able to work.
Activism became always more important than taking time to write. I could barely find the time out to write funding proposals and reports. We were successful and I was getting pretty good at keeping things going in our little corner of the not-for-profit economy. Happy and successful on the surface – but inside – there was an anger eating its way out. It showed up as Depression mostly with private bouts of rage.
So, we burned out and left the city and the poverty industry behind. Now, I’m finding – or I should say - making - the space to waste my time on my art. It’s the most difficult battle I’ve faced so far.
I love the rush of pulling people together to take on an impossible challenge. The solitary work of writing down the things that I need to say, in the stories I need to tell, feels so selfish. I get all kinds of kudos and support when I do community work. Getting people to even read what I put down feels like pulling teeth. And then mostly I get silence. Except from a few. A few people read my stuff and say thanks.
Mostly, though, I love it. When I write - when I turn my back on the world and face the tiny blank screen - my anger leaves me. I don’t know if what I write will make a difference in the world. I hope that it might for a few. What I do know is that this artistic devotion means there is one less angry person in the world.

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