I believe that we, as writers, have a large amount of influence in this world. We tell our stories, whether big or small, and people of all ages have the opportunity to use them as guidelines in their own lives. I know that some of my own ways of dealing with things – love, family, despair – come from the books I’ve read over my lifetime. Of course, I have received my personal values from other places, but stories of other people have helped me to find ways to deal with everyday emotions and troubles.
For instance, I learned in third grade how to deal with separation from a parent from the book, A Wrinkle in Time. Meg’s sullen, angry reactions are not, of course, the way I choose to deal with a problem as an adult, but I learned that allowing myself to feel what I felt was immensely important. I also learned to stand up for myself. Charlotte’s Web taught me not only about friendship and caring for others, it also showed me that life didn’t always have a happy ending. Gone with the Wind built on that foundation, as did The Wizard of Oz. We can’t always have what we THINK we want because what we REALLY want is more important.
In Dorothy’s case, going home was ultimately not what she wanted, since she chose to let the hot-air balloon leave without her instead of leaving Toto behind. Scarlett thought Ashley was the end-all of her existence but she didn’t leave Melanie behind to have that baby so Ashley would be free. Instead, Scarlett fought to make sure Melanie and the baby were safe, putting her own desires aside, at least for the moment. Scarlett’s ultimate goal was to save Tara, even though she had to sacrifice practically everything else. Charlotte knew she was going to die – it’s the way life works for spiders – but she wanted to save Wilbur, no matter what it took.
What life lessons do we put into our own stories? Can we help make the world a better place, simply by telling stories from our hearts? Should they include negative experiences? I believe so, as long as we can help others to grow from their own negative experiences. Maybe teaching people that they can triumph over adversity is our main goal.
Some people prefer to write stories that have no lessons. Of course, that is their right. However, I personally believe that, at some level, each of us can do our part to help the world be a better place by sharing the things that are important to us. Of course, I do believe in happy endings – I’ve been happy and I’ve been sad, and I prefer to be happy – so I try to make sure my stories always end with a lesson learned and a character in a better place than they were before. But the lesson is really what is important: the ability for that character, and the reader, to understand that we all have choices and the choices are what create our lives.
Here is something I’ve written for myself and, if you would like, you’re welcome to use it.
“On our own, each of us is powerful. Together, we are unstoppable!
Together, we can imagine a world full of excited, happy, and powerful people, who are open-minded, cooperative, and willing to grow.
Together, we can imagine a world attracting people who desire to find their spiritual heritage and grow into enlightenment.
Together, we can imagine a world, one where we all work together in joy and love of life.”
I believe that we as writers are powerful. What would the world look like if, together, we find a path to help others help themselves?