on why writer's should care
Pulitzer Prize winner, Alice Walker recently said in an interview by Jessica Strawser in Writer's Digest Magazine (October 2010):
"I don't like writer's who don't care. I think writers should care desperately."
Strawser then asked her:
"Do you feel writers have a responsibility to address issues facing the world?"
If they call to them--not, of course, if they don't. But I would think nine times out of 10, something would call to a writer, because that's just the way it is. And it doesn't have to be something dreadful; it can be just something exquisite, or something that you want to share with the world, and you feel they're not paying enough attention. It could be about anything, but you should care always about what it is that you're offering: I care, and therefore I offer this.
Which led to me to some introspective thinking on my own writings and whether I care too little or too much when expressing myself. Many guidebook authors take a safer route of just explaining the trail and what you will see and not offer their own opinions on what are often controversial and political views on land management and environmental issues. A few other guidebook authors can be rather polemic (and therefore dividing) when presenting their views. I try to take a more middle of the trail approach. I do indeed have strong opinions on conservation issues and I feel it is my duty as a guidebook author to go beyond just describing a trail and park. But, I also acknowledge other views and opinions that differ from mine and I do not want to denigrate or dismiss folks (who may be my readers) who hold those opinions. I welcome dialogue-safe and healthy and respectful so that we all may come to some kind of agreement on solutions to the pressing environmental issues we are confronted with.
So I ask you. Should I care? Should I take strong stands? What if I take a stand you don't agree with-do I lose you as a reader or do I make you think about your position? What about you? If you're a writer, do you freely express your views on something that could lead to possibly losing readers. Do you think in this current highly divided and partisan atmosphere that we can even have real, thoughtful and respectful dialogue anymore that will result in real change and reform?
I know that I welcome your opinion. Do you welcome mine? Feel free to respond, I'm truly interested in what you have to say.
(photo from Alice Walker's official website)