Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The root of human rights

What is the basic human right?

Most of us would say freedom. 

Freedom is, of course, important, and it would be intolerable to live without it completely. 

But freedom is a double-edged sword...does it include the freedom to destroy the lives of others? Does it include the freedom to kill, rape, steal, bully?

If someone is attacking you, how much freedom do you really have? 

I say that human rights are rooted in another place...and it is spelled R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

When we start off with respecting each other, we see the human being in front of us. Not the symbol, not the punching bag, not the blame magnet.

When we see the human being, we cannot help but realize that he or she is just like us more than we ever imagined.

Respect is for everyone. For the newborn baby. The difficult child. The cranky co-worker. The political opponent. Even the prison inmate. 

You don’t have to love everyone (no matter what the Bible says). That can’t be done in any event. When you respect people – even if you know you must limit your contact with them for your own sake – you strengthen your connection to humaneness.  

If we all respected each other, what kind of world do you think this would be?

Take time to think about it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Who moved my post?

...evidently, I did, but I don't know how.

I wrote a post titled "The beautiful boy and the terrorist" back in May. Today (October 15) I noticed that one of the labels was misspelled, so I fixed it. But now it shows up dated today.

Just to let you know.

P.S. On November 4, I figured out how to move the post back to May. Now I feel better.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Writers, never be ashamed of your subject matter

Photo credit: lucianotb (stock.xchng)
If you write about taboo, difficult, or controversial subjects, you will encounter people who will try to make you feel ashamed of your words:

You have a filthy mind.

Why do your characters have to cuss so much? You have more imagination than that.

Violence is cheap conflict.

That is racist/sexist/homophobic language, and it will cause unnecessary pain.

Statements like these are not about the writer. They are about the critic and his/her personal dislikes, which are as individual and as idiosyncratic as a fingerprint.

You can’t pull back your words because someone, somewhere, will dislike them. Because that is a guarantee, no matter what you write. You can write the mildest “inspirational” (i.e., conservative Christian) romance possible, and someone will still hate it.

Sex is a part of life. So is violence. Anger. Strong language. Bigotry. Thoughts that are not nice, polite, or civilized.

They are all things that happen in life.

Is it wrong to speak about things that happen in life?

We writers must write the scenes and use the words that our story demands. Not edit them based on fear of a real or imaginary critic.

I used to be ashamed of my controversial writing. No more. I have too many words left in me to waste time on shame.

And so do you.