WRITING TIP: Want to change the world? Write a story — or read one.

When the world is in danger of fearful lockdown and the system no longer serves the majority, isn’t it frivolous to be writing stories and poems, to be dreaming up fantasies and novels? Just the opposite, according to author Ursula LeGuin. “To me, the important thing is not to offer any specific hope of betterment but, by offering an imagined but persuasive alternative reality, to dislodge my mind, and so the reader’s mind, from the lazy, timorous habit of thinking that the way we live now is the only way people can live. It is that inertia that allows the institutions of injustice to continue unquestioned. …Fantasy and science fiction in their very conception offer alternatives to the reader’s present, actual world. Young people in general welcome this kind of story because in their vigor and eagerness for experience they welcome alternatives, possibilities, change. Having come to fear even the imagination of true change, many adults refuse all imaginative literature, priding themselves on seeing nothing beyond what they already know, or think they know.”