There's lots of reasons to be fed up right now. In our own little corner of the country, 23 state house Republicans are actively trying to deny abortion access to women who've survived rape and incest. Seattle continues its inhumane sweeps of homeless encampments even as it declares a state of emergency for homelessness. Meanwhile, everywhere, people who shouldn't have guns are able to have guns. Police are brutalizing and killing black people at a persistent rate. Unfair gerrymandering practices push out voices that need to be heard the most, and Citizens United ensures that money always has the blowhorn and the biggest rostrum. The passage of the TPP threatens to trade US sovereignty for corporate rights. And that's just the stuff in my Twitter feed at the moment.
One response to all the pain and injustice in the world is to curl up in a ball and fall down brain-numbing rabbit holes on YouTube. Another, much more powerful response is to pick one of those injustices and write a really, really good thing about it. You could write a poem thing, a story thing, an article thing, a complex literary collage thing or a blog post thing. Whatever the thing, next week, Hugo House is holding an event called To Whom It May Concern: Writing for a Cause to train you up on that.
The Stranger's very own resident Marxist-philosopher-urbanist Charles Mudede, fiction writer Jennie Shortridge, and essayist Litsa Dremousis will read stuff they've written about causes close to their hearts, sort of like this humorous piece by Dremousis about living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which the Hugo House just published on their blog yesterday. If you're passionate enough about an issue that you're driven to write about it, then these are the people you'll want to talk to about it.
The bottom line: An artful and considered piece of writing opens up dialogue about issues and can effect real change. Very few people were seriously considering reparations for slavery before Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote The Case for Reparations. Patricia Lockwood's poem "Rape Joke" started a national conversation about the limits of humor. Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric shined a light on the persistence and perniciousness of microaggressions. The list goes on and on. Might not be a bad idea to see if you could add your name to it.
If you can't make it, the least you can do is take Heidi's advice and draft an e-mail to those Republicans in Olympia. Like Heidi says, "Tell them you're watching and will work to defeat them."