I recently suffered a crisis of purpose with my writing, if only because Americans are more adept at creating entertaining distractions than I think any other people in the world, and I am certainly a part of that culture. Americans love nothing more than another reason to suspend our disbelief. Do we really need another memoir or novel or true crime potboiler? Most of the time I say ABSOLUTELY! Who doesn’t love a good story, well told. And yet at some point we should face the reality that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. . . but then what? For me, I began to find the answers in Mary Pipher’s Writing to Change the World, and then her latest book, The Green Boat, in which she shares how to transform our despair over the state of our world into action. And through action we will find both community and hope. Is this book a perfect blueprint? No, but it’s certainly a start.
Below is the intro of my interview with Mary Pipher, posted on the Ploughshares website. To read the full interview, click here. Read. Share. Repeat. Then get out and rabblerouse.
The cure for knowing too much is not knowing less, but rather understanding what to do with the information we have.
—Mary Pipher, The Green Boat
It’s rare I finish a book wanting to shout from the rooftops how great it is, and even more rare that I read a book I want to buy cases of to hand out at the beach and in church and to leave on the break room table at work. That book is Mary Pipher’s The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture, a wake-up call about the dire state of our earth as well as a how-to guide for dealing with the trauma of that knowledge.
What is so wonderful about The Green Boat is that Mary Pipher doesn’t just identify the myriad problems we face; she also illustrates how to find hope through awareness, then acceptance, then action. For Pipher, that action was (and still is) her grassroots work at preventing the TransCanada energy corporation from building a pipeline through the Nebraska Sandhills and over the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the world’s largest water tables.
In working with others to create theCoalition to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline, Pipher not only found hope through action, but also through a community comprised of people who might seem completely disparate on the surface: conservatives and liberals, ranchers and poets, artists and teachers, as well as natives who’d lived in Nebraska for generations and refugee immigrants new to the state, all working together for the common goal of protecting fresh water for future generations.
To read the rest of the blog, click here.
To learn more about the fight against TransCanada and the XL Pipeline, click here and here.
Finally, a few news sites you might find useful. I don’t eat up EVERYTHING these sites post or link to, but it’s helpful to check out more than just the Times, NPR, or Huffington Post. The more informed we are, the more powerful we are: