Will Write for Change

By on 10-22-2009 in Digital Media

pen might

picture from Steffe on Flickr

An architect can go overseas and help turn waste into useful buildings. An artist can go overseas and do arts workshop in a poor neighborhood. A builder rides a bike for 2 hours a day, takes off his shirt and dig irrigation channels and do the dishes while a family of poor farmers gets a paid holiday trip to Costa Rica.

Alright, the last one was made up. But what about us feeble writers? What can we do? The pen is mightier than the sword, they say. A (big) laptop is also heavier than a (small) axe, but a laptop-wielding fiend is not as scary as an axe-wielding one.

But, to continue the less-known continuation of the old adage: The loud earth breathless! Take away the sword -States can be saved without it!

Is this still true? Can travelling writers really be a force of social change?

In my last post, I wrote about how writers must be aware of how they are changing the lives of the people that they are writing about. And that you must be prepared for dialogues, not one-sided musing like how Marco Polo in Il Millione. And (most) writers are good at creating dialogues on paper, and with a little bit more effort, in real life.

Especially for those who are exploring/experienced with multimedia stuff, here are a couple of links you can read to inspire you.

Common Language Project

The website opened, pictures and texts donwloaded, and you go..looks alright. Mouse over the picture, and you’ll go: “WOW! Why didn’t I think of that?”

Very cool website, its mission is to: engage, educate and inform Americans of all ages on the crucial human issues of our time through innovative and accessible journalism.

But it educated me as well as I’m sure it has educated many Americans in very cool ways. This post on a peruvian mining city is a good example. The writing on the page on this item is a bit tiring to read, but it’s a great and inspiring example still.

Bravenewtraveler

This is one of the inspirations for my website. And if I haven’t been successful in changing your mind about the potential travel writing has to change lives, read this post about the power of words in Cambodia.

They have two editors, staff writers, and contributors, all exploring what it means to be a traveller in our century, and most of the articles are short, nicely formatted, but also thought-provoking.

Picture from dkuropatwa on Flickr

Picture from dkuropatwa on Flickr

Some other links

And here are some news stories that might also inspire you:

This one is about a newspaper catered for children in Indonesia. Cute, you think. No. Not cute. It’s not even called something cute. It’s called: ‘Berani’ -means ‘brave’.

Here’s an excerpt from the news story:

“Founded three years ago by a veteran journalist, ‘Berani’ believes in starting ‘em young when it comes to love of reading. The 16-page newspaper’s motto after all is, “A nation that develops is a nation that reads”.”

Well, it is sort of cute. But when we in the ‘developed’ country take the importance of writing and reading skills for granted, we often forget that the lack of writing and reading can still put a society in a deep rut.

And then in Thailand, this story is about a conference of young people using social media for social change, including violence on children.

And locally, writers are doing cool stuff too. Bali Bloggers Community members recently visited a mental hospital, and then wrote about mental diseases -one of the most misunderstood illness in our world. They also packed up their gears to go to a village and taught kids who have not touched computers how to blog.

Or you can follow the example of Anthony Bianco, an Australian traveller who, having been invited to the Indonesian Bloggers Festival, decided to give back by writing about blogger communities across Indonesia (who, of course, then also write about Anthony).

Have any more links for us travelling writers to feel inspired? Share it here!

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