My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy. I watch the news and know that grief can be overwhelming, that it all seems senseless and once more we are being reminded that lives can change in an instant.
It is at times like this that writers are needed most even as we are likely to wonder if our writing matters at all. But it does. We writers can give voice to grief, words to pain and comfort through what we write.
Some writing will explore the question everyone is asking: Why? There are writers who through their words explore how someone can be in so much pain that they will lash out as this shooter did.
Other writers offer hope through stories of how people can rise above tragedies like this one. Some will write of heroes and others simply of every day people doing the best they can.
Some writers will create the shared experience of grief so that no one has to be alone in what they feel.
Some writers will simply offer comfort and distraction at a time when emotions might otherwise be overwhelming.
I’ve heard it said over the past few days that a sense of community matters and I absolutely agree. Writers help to create that sense of community. Writers so often help to show how people who seem different are almost always more like us than not, that hopes and dreams and fears can be universal.
Writing matters, perhaps most of all at times like this. What we write has the ability to touch hearts and minds. What we write may help make sense of what otherwise would seem overwhelming. What we write may provide both hope and a kind of road map for the ways that people can overcome or at the very least survive the challenges in their lives.
What we write matters and each of us has a unique voice with which to do so. That voice will resonate with those who most need to read what we have to say.
If you are a writer, note your own reactions, your own emotions. Pay attention to how you handle those and how others handle theirs. Even if you do not do so now, the time may come when this knowledge will inform your writing and help you to add depth to what you write and make it more compelling and in doing so what you write may help someone in the moment they need it most.