Writers and Editors (Pat McNees's blog)
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Channeling rage to produce change

August 31, 2015

Tags: investigative reporting

"Bearing witness is not a passive act," said [Terry Tempest] Williams.* "This story took such a toll," she said of the work she did in the Gulf. "There are certain things I wish I hadn't seen. Flying over the Gulf of Mexico, as far as you could see, from horizon to horizon, was oil. I can't get that vision out of my head."

The challenge as a writer is to take that frustration and find a way to make it meaningful and purposeful, to create an outlet for futility.

"How do you take that anger and make it sacred rage?" Williams said. "How can you make it productive, so people can hear you? Not make it an assault, but keep the conversation going? "That's what it is to be human - to not avert our gaze from difficult situations."

*From Terry Tempest Williams at Aspen Winter Words (Aspen Times, 1-5-11).

Thanks to Paula Stahel for the lead.