Clearly, this has all gone too far.
The news has made me weep almost hourly and I am done with feeling outraged, feeling powerless and feeling frightened.
It’s time to reclaim our creative power and become a relentless force for kindness.
And when I say “time” I mean right now. This very minute.
We creatives have been OK with taking a back seat for too long.
The time for change is now. This very minute.
If you want to live in a world in which creativity matters, then you must act like creativity matters.
And then everyone else’s.
If you want to live in a world of compassion and tolerance, then you must behave compassionately and tolerantly.
Starting with yourself.
Then everyone else.
And most of all: no quitting.
You don’t get to call yourself, “lazy” or “a failure” or “not good with money” anymore.
You don’t get to point the finger at the family, the teachers, the economy or the media and blame them for your lack.
You don’t get to stand on the sidelines and pretend like the world economy doesn’t have anything to do with you.
You don’t get to huff around making loud noises about moving to Canada when there is a whole world of people out here who need your art, your stories and your voice more than ever before.
I know it’s hard.
I know it’s hard to not let the state of the world turn your mood dark.
But our weapon is the light.
Our weapon is politeness, good humor, firm resolve without violence and most of all, of creativity.
The time to find unusual solutions and out-of-the-box ideas is now.
We’ve let those other guys be in charge for too long, and it’s time we reclaimed our rightful place as the shamans, jesters, prophets, documentarians, dancers, poets, potters, teachers, healers, music-makers, magic-makers and makers-of-things.
Our work brings people together.
Our work reminds people of our shared humanity.
After all – we all want the same things.
We all want to eat good food and love somebody special.
We all want to feel like our work matters.
We all want to laugh at good jokes and be with our friends, especially when times are especially good or especially hard.
All of us.
Every person of every stripe throughout all time has wanted these things.
So if you want to bring people together, do it around the things that you have in common.
I’ve heard that marriage equality progressed faster than anyone thought it could thanks to “Will and Grace.”
And I know for a fact that “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” helped end slavery.
Matthew Bourne’s “Swan Lake” changed our ideas about masculinity, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson is now regularly on my old friend Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, making astrophysics cool again.
And wasn’t it teeny-bopper-Tweeter turned pop-culture-goddess-superstar Taylor Swift taking the stand against sexual harassment this week?
So do not allow yourself to sink into despair.
Rather: allow yourself to sink into the work that has been calling your name.
You don’t know how much your novel, your sexual empowerment workshop, your yoga, your paint (or paint-by-numbers) might change the world.
So don’t let anyone (not even the voices in your head) tell you that your work is foolish, is selfish, is unnecessary or should be put off until tomorrow.
It is time to be a relentless force for creativity, kindness and joy. This very minute.
Pass it on.