Beanery Online Literary Magazine

July 3, 2009

What are we being prompted to do?

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE

WHAT ARE WE BEING PROMPTED TO DO?

Joe Stierheim

     At a recent writers’ meeting, six writers set about working on a “prompt”. A prompt is an exercise in which a writer writes on a given subject for a given period of time, usually five minutes. The purpose is to determine how much and how well can you write in a short period of time. The results may be funny, good, silly, sometimes profound, but always interesting.
     At this particular meeting, the prompt was this:  Two helicopters are seen to be circling the town of Ligonier (PA) for a period of time. Write for five minutes on this incident.
     There was no description of the helicopters given, no information as to time of day, the duration of the incident, nor any other details. All such were left to the writers’ imaginations. At the end of the five minute period, all six writers had produced results.

     Five of the resulting paragraphs were based on elements of fear, from the surveillance of Ligonier for sinister purposes by our own government, to various scenarios of criminal activity or public danger. The lone piece of writing not based on fear involved the helicopters being used by a movie company to select suitable sites for filming. Even that scenario could be said to be partially based on fear as the movie involved the Ligonier Diamond being invaded by zombies.

     Unfortunately, it is not surprising that the results of the prompt were as they were. Fear sells. Nothing sells better than a good “thriller.” And fear sells more than books. It sells insurance, guns, rat poison, health products, weed killer, and many other items, commodities and services. Cars, houses, clothes and furniture are sold to many persons who are afraid of not being able to fit properly into a particular social class—or to lead it. We are told since from childhood “Be the first on your block to own (whatever)”

     Fear is profitable, it is encouraged, and it is prominent in our society. We pride ourselves on being the Home of the Brave but are we really the Home of the Fearful?   

     Those who are fearful are not those who are peaceful. And that is our problem. We say we want peace. Some even demonstrate for it. But we cannot have peace if fear is our dominant emotion. Sooner or later that fear will prevail and any hopes—real or imagined—for peace will evaporate.

     For real peace to predominate, we must first eliminate, or at least control, our fear. There is a quote from Lao Tse to that effect:

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

ADDITIONAL READING:

Path to Peace

I HAVE A PERMIT TO CARRY…

KEEPING PEACE IN SOUTH AFRICA Part 1

KEEPING PEACE IN SOUTH AFRICA Part 2

Kathy Kelly, of Voices of Wilderness: On Peace

YARD SALES UNSETTLE ME

TO MATTIE

IMAGINATIVE, ORIGINAL, PURE, PROFOUND POEMS by CHILDREN

Found: Flash Drive. What should I do?

A Cry For Goodness

HAIR UNAWARE

PINCH HITTING

SITE LINKS:

www.beanerywriters.wordpress.com/

www.carolyncholland.wordpress.com

www.LVWonline.org

www.barbarapurbaugh.com

www.pennwriters.com

www.ellenspain.com

www.westmorelandphotographers.ning.com

www.ligonierliving.blogspot.com

http://www.methodists-care.org/

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