Afterthought #29 – The Case for Hope in Writing

Early in June I heard the writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit speak at Seattle Arts and Lectures. I left Town Hall Seattle with three of her books and have just finished her essay collection, Men Explain Things to Me.

While the essays focus on some of the ways we continue to wrestle with gender inequality, Solnit also makes a case for hope in writing; I turned over the page corner and underlined this:
“…you don’t know if your actions are futile…you don’t have the memory of the future…the future is indeed dark, which is the best thing it could be…in the end, we always act in the dark. The effects of your actions may unfold in ways you cannot foresee or even imagine. They may unfold long after your death. That is when the words of so many writers often resonate the most.”
On those dark days—so many of them—when I wonder if my work as a writer is of any help in the world, I’ll return to Solnit’s words.

“Afterthoughts” are my blog version of a practice followed in some Quaker meetings. After meeting for worship ends, people continue in silence for a few more minutes during which they’re invited to share thoughts or reflect on the morning’s worship. I’ve adopted the form here for last-day-of-the-month brief reflections on headlines, quotes, comments overheard, maybe even bumper stickers.

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