The Power of Storytelling in a Time of Uncertainty


Once upon a time, in another frame of mind, I started this blog as a way of rekindling my love of writing. I also had a desire to share my love of photography and photo art and to perhaps chronicle my personal journey in a way that might resonate with others.

Then our protracted, bitter and often scary election campaign heated up. A close friend of many years passed away. I found it difficult to articulate what I was feeling. I withdrew. But 11/9 finally arrived, the day I hoped would bring some calm and clarity after several emotionally charged months. I awoke at 3 am, turned on my iPad, opened Facebook and literally screamed when faced with President-elect Trump. Now we have President Trump and a whole host of uncertainties before us, not least of which are how to support those who will be marginalized by his administration, how to mend the fractures among us when faced with people who use division as a political tactic and, most critical, how to get on with the business of healing our planet when the ones who lead us are determined to ignore its calls for help. Our very future as a species is at stake.

I have felt very much helpless in many ways. There were times when I wondered if I still had a voice left, if I had anything really worth articulating. Then I recently ran across an article in The New Yorker by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Now Is the Time to Talk About What We Are Actually Talking About. This paragraph in particular resonated with me:

Now is the time to resist the slightest extension in the boundaries of what is right and just. Now is the time to speak up and to wear as a badge of honor the opprobrium of bigots. Now is the time to confront the weak core at the heart of America’s addiction to optimism; it allows too little room for resilience, and too much for fragility. Hazy visions of “healing” and “not becoming the hate we hate” sound dangerously like appeasement. The responsibility to forge unity belongs not to the denigrated but to the denigrators. The premise for empathy has to be equal humanity; it is an injustice to demand that the maligned identify with those who question their humanity.

Now is indeed the time to speak. Whether that speech takes the form of fiction or poetry or an essay or a photograph, the stories we tell can and must reflect both the things we wish to preserve/create in order to build a good future for everyone and those things in our present moments that we must reject. This does not mean that all of our stories must be epic and full of fire. Sometimes the quiet stories of everyday life acquire a volume that demands our attention. Sometimes a simple image can say more than a barrage of words. But now more than ever is the time to tell our stories, to believe that our individual voices can and will combine to foster change.

So I begin this journey here once more. It won’t be exactly the journey I originally envisioned but I think it will be a meaningful one for me and perhaps for you as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s