Why I write about hope

Friends — on Medium this afternoon I wrote a short piece on this topic.

I reproduce it here in its entirety.

Why I write about hope

what’s the alternative?

My view of the world tends to be dark. Until recently I loved movies like the Terminator films, and books like Riddley Walker. I just finished watching Ozark, which, as anyone can tell you, is pretty grim, and I am enjoying the tv show Barry, about a hitman who blunders into an acting school in North Hollywood. I am by first inclination a pessimist, but then, I was a weird kid, with an eccentric family. I had few friends, and was untalented in sports, arithmetic, science, and art. What I did have was words. I loved pretending stories that I could act out with my dolls and stuffed animals. With these stories I could imagine places and people very different from the ones that I knew in New York City in the late 50’s and early 60’s. My imagination saved me; through imagining I found hope: hope for more friends, hope for a subject that I could be good at in school, hope for a form of physical activity that didn’t involve throwing and catching a ball or running fast (or running at all). Hope for an art form that didn’t require me to be able to draw. Hope for a family that wasn’t haunted by depression and anxiety. Hope for a version of myself that wasn’t anxious or depressed. Then I, very slowly, took steps to make my hopes take real form. I found amazing friends, I studied French and German, I discovered modern dance and tai chi. I found a therapist.

When we imagine, we open the doors to new possibilities and new realities. I was struck yesterday listening to Senator Chris Murphy observing that “it’s not inevitable” that we continue to have the horrifying mass-shootings that we have. What he was saying in a fancy way is that we need to imagine another set of laws. And that we can. Increasingly, in my own fiction, I imagine characters who want to effect repair. They want to fix things. Even if they don’t know how. I find this to be an entirely reasonable response to a broken society and a broken world. Because you have to imagine it first. Then you can have hope for it, and then you can try to do it.

I can imagine a country where gun ownership is regulated. I hope for it. And I want to do something to help make that hope a reality.

Here are some organizations you can volunteer for and/or give money to:

Home | Everytown

We are a movement of more than 8 million moms, mayors, survivors, students, and everyday Americans working to end gun…


March For Our Lives

All we got was empty words from our leaders. See our installation on the National Mall. This policy agenda is rooted in…


Home – Moms Demand Action | Moms Demand Action

Skip to content Use Accessible Colors New Here? Donate Now When you make a grassroots contribution to Moms Demand…


Gun Laws | Giffords

The United States accounts for just 4% of the world’s population but 35% of global firearm suicides and 9% of global…



Coalition to Stop Gun Violence – The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence seeks to secure freedom from…

Skip to content CSGV’s affiliate organization, EFSGV, is now Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions. For the…


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