Thoughts About Feeling Responsible Through My Stories

I’m so tired of having to incorporate current events like this into my blog posts: Another mass shooting; this time at a beloved high school in Parkland, Florida. 17 dead (14 of them being students), 15 wounded; all by the hands of someone who should not have their hands on an AR-15. Whenever these shootings have happened in the past, the horror of them would take over my mind; ashamed that there are people like this who exist in this world. But now, within the 15 months of publishing a novel and writing a play that touches on these issues or similar subject matter, I just feel guilt; like this is all my fault.

Let me elaborate: I do everything I can as a citizen to get a discussion going about enforcing gun regulations. I call my representatives, I write letters to my representatives, and both during the primary and midterm elections, you can bet I’ll vote for everything I can that will get these sitting ducks in Congress the hell out of their positions.

But because of my occupation as a writer, I’ve taken the time to incorporate such subject matter into my writing as well. My novel, An Absolute Mind, is about a young woman leading a revolution to call for action in the face of inaction. My short play that was shown last September, “Common Ground,” is about two spirits feuding it out against each other in the face of ongoing violence committed by humans, only to realize that they actually have quite a bit in common.

These stories have the potential to inform, provide perspective, and hopefully, provide inspiration to make change happen. But every time something like another mass shooting occurs, it feels like I’ve let people down. I know that sounds silly in several ways. “Common Ground” was part of a showcase that had a nine-performance run. An Absolute Mind, an independently published novel, doesn’t exactly have the same exposure compared to novels like The Hate U Give. And yet, I can’t help feel this guilt, for it’s kind of become a responsibility for me to live up to.

We all have our part to play in getting things done, and I have to remind myself not to let the weight of it bear down on only my shoulders. I need to keep in mind that this is not just an issue for only me to solve with my words, especially when the actions of those in power are highly needed.

I commend the survivors for calling out Congress to do something already; even though they shouldn’t have to demand for the lawmakers to create laws to protect them.

To the sitting ducks of Congress: You have a lot more blood on your hands now more than ever before, and it shall not go unnoticed. Do something or get out! You’re wasting time and lives by not doing anything.

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