Here in San Miguel de Allende this week many questions have been asked about the place of writers in our society.

We are meant to tell stories, report facts and record history. But in doing so, many other issues come into play. Are our facts undisputable and fairly presented?

It has been pointed out that once an idea is written down, it becomes an opinion, and that can be a dicey thing.

Elena Poniatowska urged us to be more aware… At her keynote Margaret Atwood prompted us to be advocates for change…  We were also asked to use our voices effectively by Naomi Wolf.

These concepts swirled through my head: awareness, advocacy, effectiveness As a writer … how should I meet these challenges?

(Patience Little Grasshopper… put a query out to the Universe and an answer will soon come your way…)

Anyway our group of four dined at a popular restaurant and to my amazement, the party sitting next to us gave me a living example of what I pondered.

The adjacent foursome was discussing abortion (yes over dinner…) their comments were graphic, strongly right-wing and very loud. I wanted to turn around and tell them to pipe down. But in the spirit of “open mindedness,” I tolerated their behavior and “took it”… but really, what they did was equal to bullying… and I concluded that I should not write like that that group behaved.

I need to be aware … to observe reality and form an opinion.

I need to advocate for change when I feel it is needed

But I need to be effective… by writing with respect.

In this year of political importance, and in these times of insecurity, we need to think, not jump to emotional conclusions… our opinions will influence others, but if we are not judicious about how we express them, the effect will not be what we’re after!



Filed under Vida Latina, Writing

6 responses to “????????????????

  1. I hope someday a writers conference addresses the subject of creating humor. I remembered, Joanna, this post of your’s in which you described refraining from objecting to an overly loud, right-wing discussion at the next table, in a restaurant. Frankly, I felt that an objection on your part would not have done anything to effect change; but might have made you feel better. Sure, “standing up and being counted” is one of my own values as well. But if we really want to make a difference, maybe we need to be able to give our views more effectively.

    Once upon a time, I studied Leon Festinger’s “Theory of Cognitive Dissonance”, which does address this subject. But I don’t have the capacity to set up scenarios that the theory predicts “would work.”

    But a few days ago, I saw this TED.com presentation.

    THIS is one fantastic speech–about the effectiveness of humor over “preaching” etc., in creating change.

  2. Great info Joanna…. info I need to remember if I want to make a difference in this world. Arrived at just the right moment in these political times where I can get passionate about things in my beloved Telchac Puerto. GRACIAS!

  3. Great post, Joanna. The lessons ring true for not only regular writers, but those of us whose writing is mainly in posting to other people’s blogs. Thanks.

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