The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword

Thoughts about the power of writing to amuse, surprise, challenge and educate us.
Posted by Douglas, Dec 15, 2007

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The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword

Posted by Douglas, Dec 15, 2007
This post was written in 29 minutes.

Writing has the capability of being a very powerful force. Bulwer-Lytton wasn't kidding when he wrote: "the pen is mightier than the sword". The power of a sword is limited to death and destruction, while writing has the power to inspire, to educate, to challenge. Writing even has the power to make us laugh - a power which is largely lost to swords (unless they are wielded by clowns and mimes and slapstick comedians).

Some of this week's writing prompt responses had an interesting combination of writing power: they were written both to amuse and to challenge/educate. Take a look at Letter To Santa Claus by EHaze - a very tongue in cheek commentary on environmental issues. Michael K presented us with a series (Santa's Bureaucratic Troubles) which made us laugh, but also makes us stop and think about the absurdities of a society in which the lawsuit and bereaucracy runs rampant. And Janee's Letter To Santa Claus gives us interesting insight into a floundering marriage, but in the end, also gives us a surprise and a chuckle. The question I have is, can we remember the surprise and the chuckle without remembering the more serious points of the writing? The laughter and the seriousness go hand in hand, making the writing a powerful force.

Now, having said all that, let's talk briefly about this next week's writing prompt. As you know from my blog post a couple weeks ago, the next prompt is to "Write a short story or poem imagining what it would be like to be without a home on Christmas"

I expect that this will be a very challenging piece for many of you to write, as most of you have probably never been homeless. I had the advantage, when I wrote The Toyota And The Stable of having been involved in the situation I described, which made it easier to write.

Because I knew this would be a challenging piece to write, I gave you a couple weeks advance warning, so you could be thinking about what you would write. I hope you've been thinking about it.

You might be interested to know that in the last couple weeks, over 800 people have stumbled on this site simply because they were looking for stories about Christmas. They were looking for your stories. You've amused them, you've surprised them, but this week, let's be sure to inspire and challenge them. Give them something to think about that'll change the way they look at Christmas, and the way they look at the world around them.

Posted by Douglas, Dec 15, 2007

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