Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Hope Patrol

That’s Hope Patrol, not Snow Patrol, but I understand why it might be fun to think of them too, and, honestly, I’d love it if Chasing Cars were the soundtrack to this little post. Anyway, it’s time to talk about my dream for the world. That’s right—I have a dream. And it is the creation of the Hope Patrol.

You see, I believe that in all the media flying at us, there is an absence of (you guessed it) hope. Nope, you won’t find it on the news or during cop shows or most reality TV, not in the lives of most celebrities, and lately not in books either. I’m seeing a trend toward the hopeless and I find it... well, rather discouraging (go figure).

And why is hope so important? Mostly because without it, life feels a bit hopeless. In a nation where “The number of Americans using antidepressants doubled in only a decade...” according to this
article, we really need to take a long, hard look at what we’re feeding out minds.

Now, I’m certainly not saying that we need a Hope Censorship program to root out all the hopeless in our midst, but I do believe we need to be aware of what we support and that our support does lead to programming and publishing decisions.

Recently, while reading a book from the hopeless section, I actually had the thought that, inside the world of the story, the annihilation of the human race appeared to be a good thing, because there was nothing good or worthy worth saving. That is NOT my belief about the world at all. I’m all happy and shiny and think people are fabulous (not all of them, but the significant majority), and in reading this book and another I read recently, I just have to wonder what the authors hope (that word seems wrong here) the readers take away from their work. Maybe they don’t care, but I really think they do. In creating hopelessness to share with others, are they serving their purpose? Does it make them happy to depress people? Now, don’t misunderstand; I’m as guilty as the next writer in having written some very sad stuff (friends still haven’t forgiven me), but what I’m talking about is not sadness or the realities of how hard human existence can be. I’m not saying we can’t write about the way life is or that we should shine it up into a fake sugar sweetness, but stories without hope, without any light, I just don’t get what good they serve.

The truth is I read a lot, and I really do wish there could be a Hope Patrol rating on books to save me from getting mired in hopeless fiction. It might seem silly to worry about such things, but in transitioning into a truly happy content person who is filled with acceptance for the world, I’ve found the need to eliminate the ugliness (where possible).

A friend of mine once took a positive thinking course, and the first guidance was to quit watching the news and quit feeding on the fear messages they dole out from their soft-serve machine of negativity (uh oh, now I’m thinking about soft-serve... yikes, but it’s a totally hopeful, happy thought all the same).

I’ve done that. No news for me (which is completely against what I’ve always believed). Television is another source of consistent negativity and hopelessness (after all, every episode seems to begin with someone being murdered or all the other ugliness inherent in man's inhumanity to man), and that had to go. The weird thing is that as soon as I quit watching television (fiction shows, not bull riding), the body image issues I’ve dealt with all my life faded and I suddenly could accept myself for exactly what I look like without any lingering self-loathing. Total score. Life changing.

And now, I’m doing the same thing with what I read, because I’m all about hope for all of us. For our planet. For all the people who live here. We are all connected, and it’s time we wake up and see that.

So, if you’d like to help out with the Hope Patrol, you can do the following things: a) write exquisite books with a heaping dose of hope inside (that I hereby promise to buy); b) let me know your favorite books that contain hope so that I don’t have to muck around in unnecessary hopelessness; and c) buy more balloons with unicorns on them so that when I see you carrying them, I’ll smile in hopeful glee.

Quote for the Day from a French Proverb

“Hope is the dream of a soul awake.”


Debra L. Schubert said...

Perfect post. I'm SO with you! Although I do love my True Crime (LOVE when the bad guys get caught!), I love happiness and especially comedy. I like nothing more than to laugh, and laughing is the opposite of hopelessness. Thank you for this great post. (Off to Tweet!)

Kasie West said...

Hmmmm, a hopeful book? I haven't read one lately (that's sad). I'm with you though, I think infusing the world with hope is a good thing. And I think human nature is to find the good in things. So I don't know why so many pieces of fiction are portraying us as hope a hopeless people.

Theresa Milstein said...

I believe we can all use some more hope too. And I always have my books end with some hope.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Hope is such a powerful emotion. It makes our trials bearable, no matter how bleak things may seem. Writing with a theme of hope can only be uplifting. In this world, we could all use a little more hope.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yes!!! We all need hope. I like my happy endings - they don't have to be all wrapped up in a big pink bow, but I need my hope!

Lorna said...

I love the idea of a hope patrol! Lovely post! I can't think of any hopeful books offhand, but if I do I will let you know. I hope any novels I manage to finish will end in hope.