On Writing: Why Story is Necessary (4)

by Joe McGee

IMG_5757One of the things that can be maddeningly frustrating about the dark marks splashed across the world is that we almost always have little or no control. Bad things happen. Horrible things occur and we get smacked across the face with it through news channels, media bombardment, and social media feeding frenzies. All we can do is try and digest it, swallowing it like a ball of nail-studded tar. We can certainly control our actions and reactions, but we can’t stop the madness that has already occurred; the stain on the canvas of the world.

But that’s where art comes in. As a writer (any artist really), we get to counter the black marks. We get to paint the kinds of images on the world canvas that offer a positive contrast to the grit and grime. Maybe it’s an entertaining story that just allows for a healthy escape, or maybe something that makes the reader smile and find joy. Maybe it’s a story that provides hope, or promotes healing, or helps them make sense of the world. Whatever it is, we, as writers, get to offer a healthy and creative extension of ourselves. We get to extend some semblance of control over the terrible things happening around us – something that is normally not possible.

Essentially, our words, our art, our stories, are our rally cry – ours, not just the writer, but the writer and the readers. It’s our way of counterbalancing the tornadoes of doom. It’s our way of offering a light in the darkness, strength in the face of hopelessness, a smile in the face of adversity, an escape when the world seems too heavy.

Art allows us to express ourselves, to create in the wake of tragedy, and to make sense of the world.

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On Writing: Why Story is Necessary (3)

by Jodi McKay

static1.squarespaceI can’t imagine what it would be like to be a child in the world today. How confusing and scary everything must seem. It makes me angry that their reality is so harsh, but what can I do about it?

I can create a place where hate doesn’t dare exist. A place where giggles, guffaws, and the occasional chortle always win the fight against fear, and acts of kindness outnumber violence a gazillion to one. I can build a world where change is possible, not just because someone wants it, but because they actually do something to make it happen. I can construct a space that inspires imagination and promotes free-thinking ideals. I can create a place that kids want to come back to because it’s safe and makes them simply feel happy. I can write a book.

Kids need something better than what this world is giving them right now and I believe that books, specifically and lovingly written just for children, provides them with a way out of the craziness. So, if there is ever anything I can do to improve the life of a child in the world today, it would be to write a book so that is what I will do.

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On Writing: Why Story is Necessary (2)

Why I Write for Kids When the World is Dark
by Elaine Kiely Kearns
“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”- Willy Wonka, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl
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Being a children’s writer is to be given permission to be Willy Wonka. Wonka, that clever, childlike, eccentric and benevolent character who owns the chocolate factory. To write children’s books is to disappear from the darkness of this world and immerse oneself in the wonder and joy of imagination. To write is to create a world for kids to escape. This is a splendid and important thing, especially today! For what books do we love as much as the one that enthralled us when we are kids? What books are more important to us? What books change our lives more than the ones that change us when we are children? I write to give kids wonder and I hope that they escape and imagine and dream and disappear into beautiful worlds when the real world is just too dark. And when that world is too dark when they grow up, I hope they turn around and write wonder for the next generation.

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