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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7 responses to “On Writing: Why Story is Necessary (4)

  1. Wish we didn’t have so much tragedy around us presently, however we have as you so eloquently put it an escape via stories… Vive l’arts!

  2. “Essentially, our words, our art, our stories, are our rally cry…”
    YES! right there in a nutshell! So spot on, Joe 🙂

  3. Yes. Humans have used stories to make sense of the world, with all its dangers and absurdities, all its triumphs and tribulations, since we could first utter distinguishable and commonly understood phrases–and Adze wanted to make sense of why Mag had been eaten by that saber-toothed tiger. Storytelling is wired into our genetic code.

    My own genetic code makes me want to read everything and anything by the great Joe McGee. “Ball of nail-studded tar?” Magic.

  4. Beautifully written. Thanks for your inspiring words.