Justice may seems like an odd topic for a post on writing, but I firmly believe that writers have a responsibility to always work for justice in their writing. Writing is more than just scribbling some words on paper, or selling those words to pay the electricity bill. Writing is a larger calling, a call to produce something that is true, that is good, that is beautiful.
As writers, I believe we have several obligations to the larger community:
- To bear in mind that among those reading our words there will be some who are hurting, some who are filled with joy, some who are searching, and some who are devastated. We have a responsibility to be aware of all of them.
- The language we use must be just. That doesn’t mean we can’t swear if it’s appropriate, or talk about difficult subjects. But we need to remember that not every person reading our work is white, middle class, educated, Christian, or anything else that fits the hypothetical American norm. Is it just to hurt our readers by inappropriate and archaic language used to describe ethnic, religious, sexual minorities, or any other group that is still smarting from decades or centuries of abuse.
- I believe that we should make our words strive toward justice. Does our story work for the greater good? Are we stretching ourselves to learn new ways of being in the world and new ways to learn with our neighbors? And are we incorporating that in our work?
There’s probably more, but I’m tired. More later. Maybe.
This post brought to you by the words jam, junko, joy, and jambalaya. And by the author James Joyce. And the month January.