Writing your Way to Hope & Action

I’m writing to you from my desk in Clifton Hill, Melbourne. The sun is streaming through the north-facing windows and the temperature outside is unseasonably warm at 19°. There’s a warm wind whistling through the trees spreading hay-fever-inducing pollen while the Jasmine bush on my balcony is blooming a month earlier than usual.

All this, as July was declared the hottest month on record across the globe.

Let that sink in for a moment.

It’s only the 3rd of August. We should still be complaining about the bitter cold, escaping to the snow for a ski holiday or to warmer climes for a beach break.

It’s all a little disquieting and scary.

I couldn’t help but think of the allegorical story of the boiling frog. If a frog is dropped suddenly into boiling water it will jump out. But if it’s dropped in tepid water, which is then brought to boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and be cooked to death.

The story speaks to our inability, and unwillingness, to react with urgency to the reality of climate change and ecological collapse.

Feeling a little helpless and hopeless, one of my favourite books came to mind. I pulled it down from the shelf above my desk; Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in With Unexpected Resilience and Creative Power by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone.

Macy is one of the world’s most loved environmental activists’ and a deep ecologist. The book describes how we might find and deploy our best personal response to the crisis unfolding on our planet. It offers tools to help us face our grief, confront the chaos and contribute actively to what she calls The Great Turning (a shift from an Industrial Growth Society to a life-sustaining civilisation.)

The book is one I’ve returned to regularly over the past two years as the foundation for my journaling exercises. It’s helped me turn messy thoughts into coherent words. And it’s even helped me turn some of those words into hopeful and positive action, like Love Stories of the Birrarung.

I’ve now placed the book on my desk beside my journal. I will read a little and write a little each day and see what unfolds.

When life becomes dark, writing is the way through. When it’s aided by a transformative book like Active Hope, anything is possible. Anything.

With love

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Join the next Brave Women Writers’ Circle
Commencing Friday 17 November

Are you a woman who yearns to share your story with the world? Do you often find yourself suppressing your inner voice and waiting for that perfect day to start writing? Or perhaps you’ve begun writing and are feeling stuck? If so, the Brave Women Writers’ Circle is the right place for you.

As an experienced author, writer and educator, the Brave Women Writers’ Circle will be led and facilitated by Carolyn Tate. With only 12 places available, the 12-week program is designed to guide you in bringing your writing project to life while connecting you to a courageous community of other women writers.