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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Editor (05/27/10)

TITLE: A Small Piece of My Mind: The Editor
By Allen Stark
05/27/10


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As the end of this school year comes to a close, I have been able to read a couple of literary publications published by a high school and middle school. Had I come from another planet, (some may think I do) and had no other evidence by which to judge writing, I would say that there are a lot of bright, talented, imaginative youth out there, but would wonder why they were so depressed and morbid, and so preoccupied with themselves. If this impression is the state of creative writing in our schools since I retired from teaching fifteen years ago, I would say that many of todayís youth have picked up a disease.

This disease seems to be threatening the writing population, not just our youth. Its cause may have something to do with the general state of our culture. Most writing today, excluding most Faithwriters entries, seems to express intense personal feelings. It is usually humorless, often obscure, and generally gloomy in tone. Its most common themes are the world is treating me badly, I feel neglected, abandoned, unrecognized, I want to die, you donít love me anymore, and you are somewhere between rotten and full of crap.

The main problem with this type of writing is that it is usually therapeutic for the person writing it but is boring and doesnít make much interesting reading for others.

If you are in a position to edit, critique, or encourage writers, tell them their writing needs to be entertaining or informative. When you read for recreation you want to be entertained. I know that when Iím not, I stop reading.

In looking for things to write about, tell the writer to look around and find people doing fun and interesting things and then write stories and poems that are alive, fun, and joyous. Itís okay to be innocent. Writers in the 1940s and 50s wrote about sock hops, record parties, family relationships, etc. However, since the end of ďthe age of innocence,Ē writers have substituted themes of sex and violence, war, drug abuse, alcoholism, affairs, etc. We seem to have traded a fantasy for a nightmare.

Okay, so in reality, I am aware that we now live in a world that is more filled with problems, but canít we work to protect our innocence, especially that of our youth by writing and reading stories filled with cheerful fiction or nonfiction? Whatís wrong with allowing our minds to experience and enjoy more of the sunny side of life?


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stanley Bednarz 06/03/10
Amen. May what we say be seasoned with God's grace. Let's get out their and write for the young people, and give them something else to read besides bloodthirsty vampires.

We have some great young talent writing every week. I will be praying.
Elizabeth Cain06/04/10
Thanks for sharing what's on your mind. I, too, would have to say that most of the new stories are very depressing. A very poor outlook on life and the themes these stories express are all empty. Thank goodness Christian writers still exist, and may we start to thrive in this culture whose ethical values and God honoring stories seem to be in the minority. God has better stories to offer than depressing romances and heroes with no virtue.
Brenda Shipman06/06/10
This is well-written, thoughtfully organized , and presents a compelling case for writing more positively. So from that viewpoint - bravo! However (don't you sometimes hate that "however..."?!), I think stories needs to present the reality of living in this dark broken world, along with the beautiful "positive" criteria found in Phil. 4:8. I do believe it is possible to achieve this balance, without having all the conflict wrapped up in sweet cliche packages (which so much of the Christian fiction seems to do today.) C.S. Lewis said, "We read to know we are not alone," and that includes not alone in our "darkness". I wrote a poem on FW called, "Creation's Longing" which vividly depicts the difficult dark times in my life, and could be considered pretty morose. Yet hopefully it points the reader toward keeping his/her eyes fixed on eternity, when all will be revealed. Sorry for the length of this comment, guess I just feel pretty strongly about how we, as writers, approach our craft. God bless you as you continue to point others to Him, and to hope!
Sharon Laughter 06/07/10
Halelujah and Amen and Amen! SO TRUE! Psychiatrists and Behavioral Analysts know that these are earmarks of a sociopath and sociopathic society. I'm with you - I want to read to get RELIEF from a world of depravity. Good editorial!
Kate Oliver Webb06/09/10
I liked this too -- and I'm sure you're speaking for a lot of us who want to weigh much more heavily on the sunshine side of life. Oh yes, there are trying and troublesome things in life (don't get me started!!), but we overcome. "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor any creature shall separate us from the love of God."
Noel Mitaxa 06/10/10
Thanks for pouring out your heart as well as your mind. I feel that the constant bombardment of cynicism from our secular press has fooled too many people - young and old - into pessimism and loss of hope.
Thank God for FaithWriters, a tool that he can use to enhance the readability of those of us who have the opportunity to throw some of his light into this darkness.
Rachel Burkum06/11/10
Well said, Allen. While even I write some things more on the "darker" side, it's nice to have encouragement or light shining through somewhere. Perhaps the youth today don't know where the Light is.
Good article.