Despite world and national events of worrisome significance, this great beautiful globe has continued to spin on its axis, and we have come to the close of 2016. There’s been much wringing of hands over what 2017 might bring. No doubt there will be a continuation of the old challenges – the onslaught of corporate greed and apathy that ravishes our planet and the life she sustains – and there will be new challenges yet unknown.
In the last weeks, I’ve heard from many of you who despair over the unimaginable violence in Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere. You’ve expressed fear for the environment, as well as the poor, ill, disabled, and elderly who are least able to defend themselves against threatened austerity measures that boost the bottom line of multi-national corporations.
I share your fears, but as we face the New Year, I also wanted to share the number one thing that sustains me – because it’s all of you. It’s the writers who are opening up eyes and hearts by allowing readers to experience the lives and obstacles and loves of others. Through your writing you are creating empathy and new connections. You are exploring new mediums and ways to reach each other, and it is our goal to continue to support you and lift up your important work.
In 2017, let’s recommit ourselves to our writing and activism – online, on the page, and on our feet. Speak out fearlessly against injustice. Stand up for the oppressed. Keep a watch out for common meanness in our daily lives and respond with truth and compassion.
If you are thinking about a Writing Checklist for 2017, consider adding the following:
- Write (and call) your legislators, regularly.
- Write editorials for your local papers.
- Volunteer for and support nonprofits that represent your values.
- Lift up those who are working to make a difference. Write stories about their work and get them out into the world. Or, send them a thank you note. Let them know their work is appreciated.
These are just a few ideas. No doubt you have many more, and I hope you’ll share them with us. But I would like to add one more, and while it may not necessarily involve pen in hand, it will have a direct affect on your writing, your passion, your inspiration, and the life experience that becomes fodder for your work. We all hear “butt in chair” and yes, we need to make time to write, but in 2017 let’s resolve to also get out on the street a bit more. Take time from your writing to join a candlelight peace vigil, march for the environment, and protest injustice, but also do some thinking about ways you can physically reach across the divide and find common ground with neighbors and fellow citizens. It is incumbent upon each of us to work toward healing the sickness and demonization that was cultivated during the election cycle by those who hope to profit by it.
Ultimately, we need to remember that the current frightening developments will fail, because they simply are unsustainable. True change, the kind that can give us all hope, doesn’t come from governments or charismatic leaders, it comes from us. It comes from those who seek truth, who create with integrity, who commit to peaceful, fearless, and sustained resistance.
Albert Camus said, “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” My wish for you, dear readers and writers for peace, is that you will find increasing strength and courage and freedom in 2017.
With much gratitude for your work and continued support,
Founder and President
Writing for Peace
Writing for Peace News
2017 Young Writers Contest
Writing for Peace challenges young writers (ages 13-19) to expand their empathy skills by researching an unfamiliar culture and writing from the point-of-view of a character within that new world, while exploring social, political, and environmental pressures, and universal themes. The deadline for entrance is March 1st, 2017. There is no fee for participation.
The Peace Correspondent: Call for Submissions
Information is beginning to go up on the website about our new online periodical, The Peace Correspondent, a tri-annual solution-based publication. The guidelines for our second edition have been posted online at Peace Correspondent Guidelines.
DoveTales, An International Journal of the Arts: Call for Submissions
The deadline for our 2017 edition of DoveTales (Refugees and the Displaced) is January 15th, and it’s coming up quickly! DoveTales is an extension of our mission to promote writing that explores the many aspects of peace. Our purpose is to expose young writers to a diverse collection of thoughtful works by established and emerging writers, as well as many of our advisers. The journal will also feature works by the winners of our annual Young Writer Competition. The journal will be released on May 1st, 2017. There is no fee for submission, but please read our guidelines carefully.
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