It happened a few years after 9/11. Highlights, the children’s magazine, was having their annual writing contest. The theme was: “Write a children’s story set in the future.”
The reason I write for children, the reason I read children’s books, is that children’s stories are stories of hope. A children’s primer that I have from the mid-1800’s, which shows a couple grieving over an empty bassinet, says something like “Mr. and Mrs. Smith have lost their child. They are grieving, but perhaps God will give them another child.”
Grim, I know. But even during an era when the purpose of a children’s book was to prepare children for a hard and unpredictable life, there was always a drop of hope.
I wasn’t thinking grim thoughts years ago when I learned about the Highlights contest. I plopped down in front of my computer, excited to travel to distant worlds or explore some facet of scientific discovery.
I, who grew up with Star Trek and all of the subsequent science fiction stories. I, who still read science fiction and thrill at new concepts, couldn’t think of one story set in our future that ended well, or at least had the hope of filling the bassinet again.
It occurred to me, sitting in front of an empty screen, that we will never see or know peace if we can’t keep an image of peace in our minds.
So every September 11th I try to fill the bassinet with hope. I draft a story about a peaceful world set in the future.
Not all butterflies and kittens, but a story that brings me a little closer to understanding who we are. I write stories about how we, humans of all faiths and backgrounds, can, hope by hope, drop by drop, build a better world.
Join me. Write about a peaceful world on September 11th.
Here’s what you do. Sometime during the day or evening set a timer for 10 minutes. Sit down and write about a world without war. What would our lives look like without war? What would be on the news?
You don’t need to be a “writer” to join me. Set a timer for ten minutes. Pick up a pen or sit at your keyboard. Dream.
If you like, you can join the Facebook event.