We’ve had a lot of conversations lately with our dear friend, Q.L. Pearce, and have found that she has some pretty profound and intelligent points about the arts and how they effect the social climate. She wrote down some of her thoughts on the topic and after reading over her insights, we asked if we could share them on our blog. She agreed. We hope the following resonates with you as much as it did with us.
The Arts Lead the Way
by Q.L. Pearce
There is a reason why dictators jail the writers and journalists, the artists and philosophers. It is because free and unfettered thought is dangerous to authoritarian rule. Through art, any form of art, we can touch each other’s souls. That is more powerful than chains and prison bars. It is more timeless than tyranny and oppression.
To be an artist is an honor and a responsibility. I’m not just talking about art in museums and the great books of the ages. Street art, a guy playing a guitar in the subway, a writer cooking up a potboiler, a grandmother sewing a quilt, a cartoonist poking fun at some issue, these things remind us of who we are and what we value. When we share our art we wake the artist in each other. We lift up our humanity.
If you look at the birth of any humanitarian movement or challenge to any injustice you’ll find a book. The Bible, Animal Farm, 1984, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Feminine Mystique, The Jungle, To Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451 …of course I could go on and on. Here’s a cool list of books that shaped America from the Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/books-that-shaped-america/1850-to-1900.html
We’re not all going to write a book that will get us on this list, but as writers we are the tip of the spear of change. That’s why I’ve always felt so strongly about writing for children. Along with those who put books in the hands of kids (parents, librarians, teachers), we encourage new readers. And if reading scary stories gets a kid to like books then wonderful! It’s like that old saying, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for life.” It could easily be “Read a book to a child and you open up their mind. Teach a child to read and you open up their heart.” Scientific research has shown that avid readers are more compassionate.
So I’ll end my rant by saying that, okay, I’m focused on writing, but a day in a museum or at a rock concert or at the ballet or at Comic Con or watching Guardians of the Universe can be as inspiring and as necessary as a day at the library. Reading War and Peace is great but so is watching South Park. It all feeds our humanity and helps us to reach our potential. So art, all art, does lead the way.
Q.L. is the author of the hit series Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs, Titan AE, The Land Before Time, and over 150 other books for Middle Grade and Young Adult readers. Her work has won the Carter G. Woodson gold medal, the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, and many others. Her multi-award winning book, Red Bird Sings received praise from Publisher’s Weekly, the School Library Journal, and the Library Media Connection.
As of 2016, Q.L. Pearce has been hosting the Young Adult segments of the popular radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! with bestselling authors, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross.
Spine Chillers: Hair Raising Tales – Book One, the first installment in a new series from Ms. Pearce, is a collection of spine-tingling ghost stories for Middle Grade and Young Adult readers. It’s available in ebook and paperback at Amazon.
You can visit Q.L. Pearce’s website at: www.qlpearce.com