Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Power of Stories

Just finished reading an amazing trilogy of speculative fiction and fantasy that ranks in the top 5 along with Lord of the Rings. The Broken Earth Series by N. K. Jemisin is powerful, relevant, well-written and can change your perspective. (I will write a separate post on the series at a later date. One of the quotes I found compelling is about one who wants to be a "lorist", the caste that captures history and events in order to pass them down to the future. Here is what was said about them:

Lorists were warriors, storytellers, nobility. They told their truths in books and song and through their art… Not all fighters use knives, after all. [Emphasis in original.]
N. K. Jemisin, The Stone Sky
The last phrase sums up the work of writers. Whether they write fiction or non-fiction, essays or stories, poetry or prose, they are essential to making sure people learn and are informed. It is no wonder that dictatorial regimes seek to control the press and the writing of stories.

Nor is it a surprise that in our present political turmoil the charge of "fake news" is the new one aimed at political opponents, or that fake stories make headlines as if they are true. We have been in a period of attacks on the sacred American institution of a free press. That can be but a first phase of an attack on writers and storytellers with who the powers that be disagree. Censorship is a "four-letter word" in the United States so it will be far more subtle than that.

We must keep our eyes and ears open; we must maintain that freedom of storytelling, the telling of stories that contain the values and truth of who we are. These people with pens, pencils and paper- or computers and tablets- are essential. They are on the front lines of freedom at home.

Not all fighters use knives, after all.

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