My friends, this is a difficult blog post for me to write for no other reason except I am processing and for me (just ask my wife) I process difficult things through writing. I feel that it helps me collect my thoughts and examine angles and perspectives I don’t often scrutinize at face value.A lot of things will be explored in this post and I want to make my stance very clear to you so you understand who I am and how I view the world around me. I have no interest in argument or debate. Why? Because I try to hold myself to a standard that honors and values people who are different than me. I have absolute interest in conversation that makes way for speaking and listening in equal measures of respect.
I’m not always good at this practice but I strive to get better and that often means I engage in conversations with people who hold different opinions, backgrounds and experiences than I do. If you are one of those people, I hope by the end of this post, you’ll know and feel comfortable talking to me. I hope you’ll know that I will listen to you and consider all that you have to say. My desire is to create communication not division.
So, I hope that’s all clear. If not, well…shoot.
I cannot be a writer in today’s age unless I am a student of people. History, economics, religion, culture, politics, etc. All of these intrigue and interest me because I write about these things. Even in fantasy settings (much has changed since Tolkien and Lewis commanded the genre), all of these aspects of humanity are explored. There are actual subgenres of fantasy that could be called socio-fantasy. Sure, there are dragons, magic, and epic battles but the writers in the fantasy milieu are so impassioned now with people (thank you social media) that all of these leak onto the pages.
I am included in this. I explore topics such as politics, religion, racism and individual rights in my books because in my mind, they must be present in order for a believable world to pop out on the pages.
This means that I am paying attention to the world, especially here in the US. Now, I won’t engage in discussion or put any posts on social media about my opinion or stance on issues simply because the climate at the moment is very divided (and 140 characters is just too difficult to have any form of substantial discussion). When I see family and friends openly clashing in a manner that is counter-productive and does not honor one another, I see no point in throwing my kindling into the flames.
That does not mean I am one of these people who says, “get over it” or “stick to (fill in the blank)”. That is exactly the problem I am seeing. If healthy, honoring conversations were taking place, then I’d be happier to scroll and read but the onslaught of divisive language just doesn’t interest me. I have made the choice to abstain and process everything on my own terms, in my own way (which includes talking to my wife and forcing her to try to understand my blabbering. Sorry, love).
So, I am processing it all and asking questions, researching and trying to get a grip on the issues. None will be explored in this post (not what this long read is about) but rather I want to say that I am searching through it all before coming to conclusions.
I never want to be a person that reacts out of emotion. Again, this is just not healthy for me. I’ve done it before. I had my years where I openly and looked for places to debate and argue. I can honestly say that I wish I had not gone down those roads. They were not productive for me as a young person finding my way in the world.
Each of us has our own sense of moral convictions based on any number of influences. Mine will be different than yours and that’s alright. I invite you to share those with me. If we ever do meet up, I hope you will see that I am not easily offended. To be honest, you’d have to go pretty far to probably get me to that place of anger (tell me one more time Lost is a horrible show and I’ll make a fan of you yet! Kidding).
I’m a firm believer in managing myself first and others never. Sorry, but that’s just a migraine and anxiety attack I’ll always prefer to stay away from. You manage you. It’s a good philosophy my wife and I practice in our household. We practice with each other and that trickles into our relationships with other people. Add in the discipline of creating healthy boundaries and I promise you life is better by a thousand percent.
As a writer, I actually try to throw these qualities into my characters. Some are selfish and manipulative because I know in a perfect world, not all my characters can be perfect like me (proud punk moment and I’m kidding, of course). I believe this practice helps my writing and lends weight to my stories in ways maybe not considered all the time.
I know this post is a bit long and probably not what might be expected but if I ever explore these topics in the future (guaranteed I will), I hope you all understand that I do so as a processing exercise and you all are my dart board. I don’t have all the answers and will never claim to. You’ll not get preaching or an onslaught of links or statistics from me. What’s the point? How does that honor you? A blog post is not a conversation.
I’m not looking for people to agree with me or convert. I simply want you who takes time out of your day to come here and read to get to know me better. I’m sarcastic and a bit of a dork but I’m not smug or a douche. You are an individual who deserves to be heard and seen. It’s my goal to make sure everyone I talk to knows that. That’s just who I am.
Call to Action: Oh, it’s a simple one this time around: take a step back, breathe and actually engage in a conversation with someone who you know views the world differently than you. Don’t go looking for a fight. Ask questions. Listen, don’t interrupt and don’t feel like you have to win. Honor and value above all else.