Show The Way

Autistic children at their most acute appear to have retreated into a land from whose shores they cannot see or hear the rest of the world. “Joining” is a technique used to help guide these children out of their self-imposed isolation. The parent or therapist simply does whatever it is the child does – whether watching the same television show over and over, lying on the ground, or running back and forth and flapping their hands. The idea is this: if you want to guide anyone from one place to another, you have to begin where that other person is. Thus, once you are a part of the child’s activity, you gain their attention naturally and respectfully, without demanding it. Now that the child sees you, you at least have the opportunity to guide them if they choose to follow.

This seems to me a good model for writing. All writers are guides of sorts. The stories and poems we write lead the reader on a journey through an idea we wish to share. This idea may be anything from love triumphs, good concurs evil, or grief will eventually release its hold on us. The journey is usually from dark to light, or from dim to dark to light. Not always, of course. Sometimes stories are told in reverse, particularly when an artist feels compelled to remind the audience of all the darkness she perceives. Usually, however, it is the former.

Thus, if you want to tell a story showing how kindness can overcome greed, you must begin by acknowledging why it sometimes seems that greed always prevails. In this way you are joining the reading public. This is not to say that everyone in the world is cringing about certain of doom, but rather everyone is contending with fear of some kind and on some level more or less all the time, even if only to be aware of its potential.

Almost every story is a journey from fear to love – there is really nothing else to write about. It is no good to simply stand on the banks of love waving your arms and singing how great the sand feels there beneath your feet. You must have the courage to travel back toward your fear, back into the nightmare of doubt. The world of love is a world of trust, after all, trusting that love is, and that given the choice, everyone would travel there. Give them the choice.

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