Thursday, November 10, 2016

Making Choices

As authors, we know all about making choices.  Characters, settings, plot points, turning points, dialogue tags.  Every effort—every word—is a choice.  Do I make this character blonde or brunette?  Does she really have an alcoholic father?  Is it an apple tree or a copper beech he can see out the window?

Sometimes, the choices seem overwhelming.  It’s like looking at all the possible paths through the forest and not knowing where any of them leads.  Sometimes, it feels like all you can do is sit and stare at the blank page with all of those possibilities before you and it’s so daunting, you can’t even lift a finger to type Chapter One.

Now is one of those times.  When I look at my world and see all the things that are threatened by recent events—the environment, people of color, refugees, women’s rights, reproductive rights, gender identity, immigrants, gun control—I am overwhelmed by the stands I know I must take.  By the donations I want to give.  By the effort of the choice.  Because I know if I choose one and fight for it with all my heart, the others will not have my full support and they all deserve it.

But as humans, we cannot give all of our effort to everything.

So this is what I must do—what we all must do.  Choose one.  Two.  Five, at the most.  And do what you can.  We will not all choose the same things.  We will not all fight the same way.  But if we all choose and we all fight—with our dollars, with our words, with our friendship and love and support and encouragement and shelter—we will rewrite this story. 

Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned as an author, it’s that no matter how you begin or with what expectations or fears or shortcomings or limitations, you can change the outcome.  It’s within your power.  You just have to make the choice and then put in the work.

We write our history as we live it.  Let’s do it well. 

Find some (more) ideas on organizations and causes that can use our support here.