Did you read WU on Friday? Monica Bhide submitted a lovely essay, aptly titled Powered by Hope, in which she offers a link to her Sound Bites project of the same name. Monica says she’s providing this service because she knew she “had to do something,” in response to the messages of fear and despair she was receiving due to the pandemic.
Monica’s post raised my spirits. But I have to admit, as I write this, I’m feeling pretty hopeless. It seems like hopes are tough to hold on to these days. Every time I feel like I have a grip on them, something new pops up and gets the darn wrigglers slithering away again. Which is what happened between reading WU on Friday and writing this post over the weekend.
The disheartening turn of events this past weekend got me thinking about hope—its vital role in our lives and its fragility. As elusive as my hopes feel at the moment, I realized that we writers have a pretty special relationship with hope. In fact, I’ve come to realize that we’re hope experts.
I hope that if there’s one thing you take with you from WU today, it’s the belief that it’s true—that you are indeed a hope expert. I’m sure you already have some understanding of how vital hope is to the gig. In fact, whether you realize it or not, I’m willing to bet that the very force that first compelled you to put pen to page to tell a story was born of, and buoyed by, hope. After all, hope is a sort of anticipation, an optimistic expectation for a fortuitous result. But at the crux of it, hope is a desire. You anticipated a positive result. But beyond that, you desired to create something. And not just any ole’ something.
When we writers set out to tell a story, we desire to create something that will elicit anticipation in others. In other words, we hope to create a form of hope for our fellow humans. How’s that for requiring expertise?
But wait, the need for expertise only grows. How do we do it? I mean, we can’t just write willy-nilly, call it a story, and hope it will create anticipation. We have to create more than just the desire for others to begin our story. We must provide the desire to continue consuming it to “The End.” In other words, our desire to create hope for others must be so strong that it inspires us to strive to sustain it for them.
Seems like a lot of hope expertise already, doesn’t it? You know there’s more, though, right? [Read more…]