Just A Few Words: A Lesson On Dialogue and Human Decency

I considered giving you a heads up to the subject of this post.  Yeah – no. Take your chances. Maybe you’ll learn something, even if it’s only how to step out of your echo chambers and realize you can consider new/and or opposing information (regardless of whether you ultimately accept or reject it) and you won’t die.

In other words, reading something that triggers you (your anger, your anxiety, your phobias or your racism), won’t kill you. In fact it will help you, even those who have PTSD can benefit from facing their very real fears, in a controlled environment (and eventually, and because of, everyday exposure that cannot be controlled). You can read more on that here, from Psychology Today. If you think that might be fake news, you can access the study here.

Now, on to my thoughts today.

When I’m writing a non-fiction article based on interviews, the most powerful sections are often the brief quotes. All the rest explains, supports or refutes the quote. Likewise, when I’m writing fiction, it’s what lies between the quotation marks that says it all—the dialogue.

Dialogue is often the nut graf of the scene, condensing the motivation and emotion of what’s happening and delivering it is a few sentences that would take paragraph after paragraph of prose.

 

I’ve been writing a lot of prose about the political controversy engulfing the U.S., especially this past week when a line was crossed. A life was sacrificed, a demarcation that should have been so clear it would unite a nation, but instead it caused even further division.

Here’s how I see it in dialouge:

White Supremacists: “You are trying to take away a representation of our history and culture, we feel singled out and ridiculed for who we are and what we come from. We are afraid of being replaced”

Deniers, Apologists, Excuse Makers: “You don’t know what’s in our hearts and yet you call us racist. That’s so painful. It just really hurts! We are afraid of being erased.”

Black America: “You abducted our ancestors, held them captive, bred, traded, tortured and murdered them; you effectively severed their connection to their culture including our icons and erased our history. Our ancestors were, and we are still, singled out and oppressed for who we are and where we came from. Take the statues down.”

Woke White People: “Take the statues down.”

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Categories IMHO, The Writing Life

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