Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Words and Symbols Mean Something

Today is Pearl Harbor Rembrance Day. As F.D.R. said, it is a "day that will live in infamy." We lower our flags to half-staff and we remember this somber occassion by paying tribute to the soldiers who lost their lives in the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, and we express gratitude to God for the blessings of living in such a blessed nation. The flag is a symbol of our nation's strength and goodness but also a reminder of the blood that has been shed for the cause of freedom and liberty.

As with all aspects of our lives, we can learn lessons that we can apply to our writing.

Words and symbols mean something. As writers we probably all agree. Every year on this date, F.D.R's words are etched in my mind and I'm reminded of the reported internal political struggel he faced before giving that speach. He defied many of his closest advisors because he believed those words needed to be spoken. What words do we believe in?

We write for many different reasons but most of us have a desire to be published so that our work can be seen and enjoyed by others. We look at what's popular, what genres are hot and we devise fantastic stories based on what we think will sell to an agent or publisher. This is fine, and smart, but there are times when we shouldn't seek popularity and sales. Sometimes there is a story that needs to be told that may never see the light of day. It may be unpopular or politically incorrect, but if we believe in the words, we should press forward and write them boldly.

We remember that sometimes a good fight has to be fought. We don't seek after conflict or war, but we recognize that sometimes it may be necessary to protect our lives, families and ideals. Sometimes the pen is mightier than the sword. If we believe in our words and can convince others of their strength we can fight the good fight without the shedding of blood. We can give honor to the words and symbols that matter.


Michael Offutt, Expert Critic said...

I guess that the attack on Pearl Harbor was orchestrated by F.D.R. to get the United States into the war so that we could go save Britain from the Nazis. I'm glad we saved Britain. It would have been terrible to let them get crushed (and it would have happened).