I had planned to write a blog about our annual tendency to make – and break – New Year resolutions. But it’s the lack of resolution with regard to gun control that’s obsessing me. We writers are blessed with imagination, but that blessing can also be a curse. I’m continually imagining the bloody scenes in the Newtown elementary school. I see the terrified faces of those young children more vividly than I’m seeing people around me. And I keep replaying images of those courageous teachers rushing their charges into closets for safety.
The tape in my head is asking: Where’s the next one, after the speeches are finished and the flags return to full staff? With guns controlling our country, none of us is safe.
As a mother and grandmother I ask myself, what are you going to do about
this national madness? In my more youthful past, I took part in numerous demonstrations: against the Vietnam War, for Women’s Rights, etc. I’ve thought that my marching days were over, but my unbreakable vow this year is to put on those marching shoes again and do what I can to fight this epidemic of violence. Do it not only through demonstrating, but through the truest skill I have: writing.
Since this is supposed to be a writers’ blog, I’ll add a confession. We writers are scavengers. For no matter what terrible thing is going on in our lives and in the lives of those around us, an insistent voice within says: What a good story this will make! Months before Newtown, but inspired by Aurora (names that are all too familiar now), I wrote a short story about a murderous rampage in a school. Now the built-in voice within me is applauding, Great timing!
It’s shameless to benefit from tragedy, I tell myself; a feeling shared by many fellow- and sister– authors. Yet if our stories, plays and articles make anyone more aware of the necessity to end this scourge of violence, then creative use of devastation is forgivable. The “pen is mightier than the sword” and, hopefully, than guns.
A purposeful New Year to all.