I fought against getting a Twitter for a long time. When I finally did get one last year, I never used it. Then, as I began to build my book blog, I found that there were a number of YA authors on Twitter and that this was the best way to stay up to date with what they’re working on. When I followed these authors, what I expected was reminders about their new releases, some talk about tours, etc. What I found instead was a place full of active conversation on diversity, art, politics, and what it means to be a writer today.
The most important thing I’ve garnered from my time following these authors’s twitter feeds, is that being an artist is political in and of itself. Many of the authors I follow have been criticized for being too political in the past several months. They are told that they should remain quiet, that they are only there for our entertainment. This has had me thinking about what it means to be an artist and writer in these times.
For a long time, I saw writing and reading as a way to entertain, to be kept entertained. It was only recently, in school and on twitter, that I began to see the true power of narratives. Stories make cultures. They matter immensely because not only do they entertain, but they challenge. There is a reason that artists and authors are so often the first to be silenced in times of war and dictatorships. They are the ones who push back and often are the most vocal. They use their voices and their words to break through the muck.
This can come in all kinds of forms. Music, movies, paintings, speeches, poetry, novels; the list goes on.
These authors recognize this, and they know that they have both the platform and the words to make evident the injustices they see in the world.
I may not have expected this when getting a Twitter account, but with each follow, I gained more and more political discussion on my Twitter feed. I found myself nodding and “hmming” while scrolling. I found myself liking and retweeting and wanting to enter the conversation as well.
This is the most important aspect of all this for me. The choice these authors make to be politically active and loud, has given me more assurance that I can do the same.
Following these authors has encouraged me to speak up when I myself see injustices, to see art as a way to do just this.
Until next time,
Your Pemberley Reader