Some people write for the fun of it. Some write to get the voices out of their heads and onto paper where they're more socially acceptable. :) Some write to fill a void. Others write to tell a story that demands to be told. This latter reason is what I want to address today.
Writing for a Cause
Throughout history, there are authors who have written books at just the right time to bring awareness to a societal problem.
Jane Austen wrote books that addressed social inequalities, laws that damaged livelihoods of women and servants, and customs that caused people to act outside of their consciences. Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, etc.
Charles Dickens wrote books that tunneled through the darkest streets of England to find every urchin and every suffering soul ignored by the too-oblivious higher social castes. Oliver Twist, a Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, etc.
Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote in Uncle Tom's Cabin about the disgusting realities of slavery in America, the people who enabled abuse and degradation, and the people who helped to set them free.
Lindsey Leavitt wrote in Sean Griswold's Head about the difficulty of MS in real life, and the psychological healing of a girl who must watch her father suffer through it.
Simone Elkeles wrote in Perfect Chemistry about gang life, the pervasiveness of gangs in the communities they terrorize, and how difficult breaking free truly is.
Kell Andrews wrote in Deadwood about the ills of cold-hearted ambition and the duty of humanity to be caretakers of Nature.
Each of these authors has a special place in my heart for the stories they told that needed to be told. They are all fiction, and yet they are all true (even Deadwood, with its paranormal elements). They are true because they address true troubles and true heroes.
I'm inspired to be a better person when I read books like these. Sometimes called "issues books," other times, "classics," books that are written to tell important stories and elucidate troubles that hide in the darkest parts of society serve humanity by elevating our thoughts to compassion and service to one another.
I challenge you to begin today to write something that matters to you. Make it short. Make it long. Just begin.
And tell me, what's your favorite issues book or classic of all time?
(If I had to choose, I think I'd say the New Testament. "Suffer the children to come to me.")
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