In a world where so many things are wrong, writing might seem like a selfish endeavor — I am personally constantly grappling with this feeling of guilt when I say I want to study art instead of going for a career that can have a more tangible “good” impact on the world.
However, as I feel that, I’m also a firm believer that writing, and all art in general, is a tool of activism, and that it can either make or initiate change. Therefore I am writing this article to remind you and me of the power of art and that it can indeed change the world.
"Writing, in its many forms — journalism, novels, reports, reviews, social media blurbs — is necessarily contingent on this strong belief in change. And activism, a series of demonstrations of one’s desire for social reform, reflects this change." Jessenia N. Class & Robert Miranda.
Art — whatever is intention — is a transformative process in which we project and/or express our humanity. Writing, more specifically, is a creative process in which we form our own worlds and people — let it be speculative or not, fiction or nonfiction we are portraying our view of existence.
When we put ink to paper, or start typing, we are automatically saying something about the world, a message -that if we do our job correctly- will stay with our readers.
“Art has an emotional and personal component to it that can make people think, it can change them” Marcus Ellsworth.
Marcus Ellsworth is a gay black poet that writes poem about his life being so, he explains in this Ted Talk how one day while he was performing there was this guy who came to him after his performance and said, “I have never thought about people like you that way”.
Art, especially storytelling, invites us to the life of someone else for a while, so many systems of oppression have two pillars, at least: “us v.s. them” and “don’t think about it”. By transporting a person in a position of privilege to that of a marginalized one, stories are directly transgressing the order, and inviting us to act.
Writing and stories also provide a needed escape from our own realities however, instead of seeing this as escapism I think of it as a vacation that makes us return to our world with our energies reinvigorated.
“Art is used to uplift, to renew the spirit” Dr. Tammy L. Brown.
Through our imagination and creativity art allows us to build hope. Stories create communities around them, commonly known as fandoms, that even if they bring with themselves a whole lot of baggage, they are also a space for self-realization and friendship building.
Additionally the act of transformative writing (a.k.a. fanfiction) allows us to re-shape our popular narratives: myths, folktales, pop culture e.t.c. and bring attention to issues and experiences that we feel need to be talked about.
“As artists part of our power is in claiming our own stories and making art work to amplify the story of the issue that matters to us” Nate DeCiccio.
In the end, I just want you to remind you that your writing matters. It might not end world-hunger but it could shake the world of someone or be a comfort to a person whose world has been shaken. So put pen to paper, open that google docs, and write.
Ari Ochoa Petzo
is a Mexican-Venezuelan bi genderfluid writer. They like dancing to old music and history. In their free time you can find xem trying to coerce their friends to participate in another of their crazy projects.
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