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Archive for January, 2011

“The Writing Life in Nebraska”
by Sally J. Walker

I am here to shout to the world that my thoughts and words, my commentaries, my stories and characters are ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with any other writer from anywhere else! I may be a child of the plains but I am a resident of the world, the Universe. Without excuses, without explanations, I am ready to earn the respect due my Heartland-fed efforts.

Nebraska is a land of diverse geography and even more diverse population. A common element the Nebraska Writers Guild has discovered is the writers who persevere in every county from rural to urban environment. Passion for the power of the written word is alive and well in this state in the middle of the Heartland of the United States of America.

With those positive pronouncements in mind, I contemplate the difficulties we endure. Despite the international reputations of several of our state’s institutions of higher learning, people from either coast still think us backwards and a tad ignorant. Despite the flourishing use of the Internet and many other social medias, many think us unsophisticated and more rustic than cosmopolitan. The evidence of renowned Nebraskans who have risen to the epitome of their various professions in the past and present seems lost on these same short-sighted people.

Well, I am here to shout out to my fellow Nebraskans, young and old, to join me in making every day a “Write Across Nebraska” day, to learn everything we can about our art and craft, to support our peers as they perfect each project until it is the best it can be and finally to market our thoughts, words, commentaries, stories, characters to the rest of world . . . until no one doubts our quality of life and all recognize our leadership in the pursuit of excellence!

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From A Writer’s Year by Sally J. Walker

January 19

“Learning to Think for One’s Self”

Eons ago I took a required Ethics class and spent weeks listening to lectures and reading material about “What do the terms ‘good’ and ‘right’ and ‘truth’ mean in this life?” Students were challenged to consider many points of view. Ultimately, I came out of the philosophy course understanding just how relative those concepts are. There is no ONE absolute, though lots of people will try their hardest to convince you otherwise. Every human is challenged to think about goodness, rightness and even truth in every circumstance. Why? Because we constantly encounter EXCEPTIONS, times and circumstances when acting in good faith resulted in evil consequences, when holding fast to one ideal of “right” may do more harm than help, when a believed truth can be proven later to be false.

So how does one decide? When is this person good and that one evil, this action right and that one wrong, this statement truth and that one false? The thought-provoking conclusion of the course was that one must THINK and consider all available data before coming to a decision FOR ONE’S SELF . . . then have the courage to act upon that conclusion and accept the consequences of the outcome. Each person is responsible for themselves.

Pretty weighty, huh? But what a sense of freedom that awareness gives a writer when creating characters in fictional circumstances! The antagonists do not consider themselves evil, merely right . . . just as the good guy can make a flawed decision, suffer for it and come out stronger in the end. What incredible diversity and opportunity each writer has available in their own storytelling arsenal to demonstrate “life lessons.”

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