1 December 2016
You may have noticed the long period of silence from One Year of Letters. In addition to the individual pressures keeping us from our beloved keyboards, we’ve all been reeling from the results of the American election. I can’t speak for the rest of my team, but I’ve spent much of the past two months absorbed in anxious hand-wringing and reading. Lots and lots of reading.
And lots of unpleasant social media confrontations.
I dislike confrontation, which may seem ironic to you, considering how frequently I use One Year of Letters to call out hate and injustice. You see, for writers it’s much, much easier to orate than to argue. We can say what we like on our own platform, and we hope what we say somehow resonates with you. Sometimes you even write to affirm it. Online forums, on the other hand, often backfire. For every five people who agree with me, a sixth one will take just a sliver of my meaning and jump all over my case. I get no pleasure from this kind of interaction, and so I retreat to my cave.
I’ve stewarded this blog from its beginnings as a place for personal musings to a platform to champion social issues. It was not my intent to let things devolve into politics. We have never touted a particular candidate; indeed, I’m pretty sure the team members didn’t always back the same one. But here’s the thing about issues in modern America: they are necessarily polarized, and thus necessarily political. I’ve struggled for months to keep separate the two, especially in our Twitter feed. However, when you hashtag #BlackLivesMatter or #PeriodsForPoliticians and follow interested parties, you’re pretty much catering to a certain audience. On Twitter I sought dialogue but ended up building a loud echo chamber. While One Year of Letters may appear to reflect mostly one faction, we will never turn down thoughtful discourse from all sides.
That’s the key, though: thoughtful discourse. America seems to have lost sight of its center by politicizing everything, from values to finance. Worse, our new slate of leaders has declared open season on civility. I’d prefer that One Year of Letters didn’t become a bastion of bashing . . . yet without sharper language, our blog’s future would be one of ineffectual restraint. Now, more than ever, is the time to speak out.
And speak out we shall.
Each of us here has our own style, our own interests, and our own individual messages. One Year of Letters has been evolving for two years, and I’d like to see more experimentation here. For example, I’m hoping to present the occasional news-style piece. Rather than pontificating about race, poverty, inequities, and gender issues from my own point of view, I want to find real people, either in my personal life or friends out in cyberspace, to add new thoughts to the mix. Thus, I invite you to send us your suggestions, observations, and experiences to our email account at firstname.lastname@example.org . Write a guest essay for us, or let us interview you about what matters right now. In this rapidly changing time, join One Year of Letters in keeping the spirit of thoughtful discourse alive.
And brace yourselves, because it’s high time we talked about the elephant in the room.
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