I’ve grown quite nervous over the last few days. Apparently you humans are off killing each other and it has something to do with the color of your skin (although mentioning that it has anything to do with skin color– or claiming that is doesn’t– is cause for more heated debate). Since my skin has a multitude of colors, I’m a bit concerned that some of this hatred may spill over.
However, even outside my own concerns, I’m concerned about this country I’m currently hiding in. There’s so much anger and hate. Worse, everyone is using their words to make it worse.
Writers, like it or not, have a responsibility with words in the same way that a doctor has responsibility with healing. We could use our words to hurt. We can use them to fan the flames until we rival Chicago after Old Lady Leary or Pompeii after the volcano blew. I’ve seen many examples of flame fanning lately. Tweets that call out a group of people for their color, occupation, or just being associated with other people who said something. Facebook posts that use ugly names for anyone who doesn’t believe in the exact content of the post.
Writers should be able to use their words so much more effectively than the normal mortal. However, we should also know when to refrain from using our words, which seems to be a skill the normal mortal does not possess. We should save our words to say things in a way that, yes, may ignite a fire, but not ignite hate.
The Buddha, who was apparently a great writer of some note, said “Better than a thousand hollow words, is one that brings peace”. Yet I see hollow words everywhere and very few words that call for peace.
Robin Sharma, who lives somewhere in the land of frozen poutine, said, “Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours wisely.”
So I am putting a challenge out there for all who write words, but especially for those who call themselves writers: Use your words to bring peace. Use them to inspire. When you think about posting something angry, write it into a book. You can edit a book before your readers ever see it, but the words we share on social media are there before we have time to think to take them back.
“But I can just delete it.”
True, you can. Someone did that last night. The words were recorded and used to spread hate anyway. By posting the words angry and then thinking, the writer did even more damage.
I’m not a perfect Figment (although I am close, so humility comes hard for me). If you ever see me posting hatred or anger, please call me on it. It would be nice if you did it politely, since we’re trying to not spread hate, but do it anyway. Hold me accountable for my words.
After all, I am a writer. My words have power.