In July I was asked to do a survey for my local writing guild. The last question was something to the effect of “Give your reason to the government why it is important to continue to support writing programs in Sask” (not verbatim). I wrote a simple answer, generic in the sense that it was cut out of what I would expect….writing is important to develop….etc, etc, boring, boring.
Later that night I attended a “Performer’s Cafe,” put on by Festival of Words in Moose Jaw, where local artists perform in a small coffee shop through an open mic format. Half way through the readings I realized why our government should continue to support writing programs:
1. Because writing inspires. I mean it. I really do. Writing inspires an amazing number of things. I heard songs that made me laugh and want to hear more. I heard poems that made me think about things in other ways I hadn’t thought of. I heard stories that turned the mundane into an experience. In a world that needs innovation, the dreamer will be king and all dreamers need to be inspired.
2. Because writing helps. It helps the lonely person realize they can relate to others. It helps the happy person spread their joy. It helps the person who has overcome their obstacles share them with others so that they can see it's possible to overcome theirs. I learned about the monotonous life of a busy farm wife, and truly cared about her. I heard a poem about growing old and how life can begin at any age. I heard from 2 amazing teens about overcoming insecurities, opinions of others, and finding themselves. I was inspired to get past any of my own struggles by seeing their strength in their writing. I was able to relate with all of them on different levels.
3. Because writing connects. Even the saddest of writing brought applause. It was applause for a person’s bravery to speak out to a room full of strangers. It was applause for a person’s willingness to open themselves up to the rawness that makes them who they are. It was applause for all that could be and would be written here, then, and now. The joy of people connecting together and bonding the ties of community.
This is what writing does. I witnessed it in person. It inspires ideas, innovation, and progress. It helps heal and strengthen a community. It connects people together, bonding an entire province as one. Why would a government take these things away from a province that is as strong, innovative, and community minded as our own. Without things that bring us joy we are nothing more than lost souls, drudging through each day until the end.
So pull up a chair, pour a drink, and join me in celebrating of all that is amazing and wondrous in writing. I am here to celebrate writing in all forms in Saskatchewan and beyond.
Melanie McFarlane, Author