The power of the pen

 I write mysteries; not political or social essays. On the other hand, the written word is mighty in any format. And I’m part of a powerful genre. Millions of people read mysteries every day. They read for entertainment, of course, but ‘simply entertainment’ isn’t an accurate descriptor of any activity. There is a consequence – the reader is more relaxed, or open to new ideas, or agitated, or looking at the world in a different manner (even if it’s a paranoia about why their neighbor’s curtains are closed). Recently, Writers Resist held over 90 events across the country (and world) to remind us of the ideals of democracy and free expression. Held in conjunction with the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., the events focused on readings, music, and performances celebrating these values. Anyone living in America must recognize that freedom of expression is a core value. It is the most fundamental aspect of society that is missed in, for example, North Korea. it is freedom to write at all, regardless of what you project onto the page. It is the right of people of all religions, races, genders, and social and political beliefs to express themselves. At a certain moment, it is about my right to pen mysteries. To protect themselves from the viewpoints of their political opponents, authoritarian societies take away the ability of all people to present their views (after all, plot points and clues could contain secret subversive symbols). With this in mind, I will say that all of us, any of us, as we express our views, as we write our mysteries and thrillers, are actively participating in the freedom of expression that makes democracy great. That said, I’ll go back to plotting my next mystery….

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