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Interests drive good writing

(photo credit: Ernest vonRosen, www.amgmedia.com)

Today’s post comes out of my “s/sw post labels” list to the right and below, to which I am linking my various categories:
People who write well are often driven by passions for their subjects. From the time we develop memory as children we are more interested in some things than others. As we grow up certain subjects remain of interest to us. There comprise our core intellectual passions; the drivers that continue to get our juices going. And we write best about the things about which we are passionate. From early on I remember feeling strongly about worldly things, outside of myself.
Since I was old enough to read a magazine, I have been interested in politics and government. My interest began with listening to radio news about World War II. I was eight years old when “Victory” was declared in the European and Pacific “theaters,” a word that no longer pertains to the current Middle East regional lexicon of war. I read war novels in high school. Thus war and government were linked for me from the beginning. I wish that were not so.
I always longed for peace, during the the big war and those long decades of “mutually assured destruction” foreign policy arrangements between the Cold War powers. The success of United Nations was limited; peace always seemed out of reach. As I raised my children with the threat of nuclear annihiliation, the Korean and Vietnnam wars were huge facts of life for me. The old Sixties peace sign remains as one of my favorite symbols. The NASA program was very exciting for me because it was grounded in the peaceful use of space. It made real my earlier interest in science fiction. My young feminist activism played out in the League of Women Voters, often including activism on behalf of women’s and children’s issues. And attending the Episcopal church fit my rather liberal spiritual side.
Government always meant voting for me, almost exclusively for Democrats. Social issues were often the passion that drove my support for one or another of the candidates, at all levels of government. Later, degradation of the environment was added to my list of important issues. One cannot grow up in a beautiful mountain energy-rich state without learning to deeply love of the land and want government to protect it.
Current events awareness through radio news was a part of my daily life as a child; we did not get newspapers until I went to Junior High. I did not see television until I left home and went to college in Texas at age 18. The world had not started to use the term high technology yet. I had no computer for typing my psychology class papers in 1956. That was to come later after I went back to college for a degree in Media Technology and then an advanced Social Work degree. I then went on to work as a clinical social work/psychotherapist.
A social work education fit my writing passions to a tee. And my subsequent professional work was a perfect way for me to express my deepest interests, i.e., poverty, women and children’s issues, and psychology. I was writing little except counseling session notes, however. And I did not have the energy or time to be active in the community except to keep up with issues and try to cast informed votes.
I never voted for George W. Bush. because we knew about him as Texas’ governor. I retired after his national administration had been in office for two years. By then I had plenty to write about, but little opportunity except in my journal and letters to family, friends and newspaper editors. The rise of the Republican party around the turn of the century had brought Republican judges to many courts. Our national security was devastated by the attacks of 9/11/01. And everything was changed after that.
My computer had introduced me to the magic of the Internet in 1995. But it was a decade before my reading and research, combined with Blogger and a passion against the current administration, gave me the perfect writing outlet. The invasion of Iraq, secret civil liberties violations, the Bush administration’s mismanagement of hurricane relief, and general governing ineptitude gave me plenty of negative issues about which to write passionately. Last November’s Democratic congressional election victories have given me a welcome positive set of big issues about which to write now. That good news has restored a welcome balance to my writing passions. I feel it was sorely needed.


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