Does what we do matter?

As a writer, sometimes I wonder if what I do really matters, in the long run. After all, my genre is romance and is considered one of the arts. And arts can’t change the world in the long run. Or can it?

All this started when I was home sick with a raging sinus infection. I watched a Glee marathon and basically saw the evolution of the series from the start and also realized its impact on society. I researched what I like to call The Glee Effect and mostly found blogs about such issues as GLBT awareness. But I also think it has impacted more. In a purely non scientific theory, I would like to posit that the series made differences in not only awareness of other sexuality in our society, but also in awareness of societal issues including the effect of bullying, the importance of arts in education and hopefully, broadened some horizons.

Writing, like all of the arts sometimes gets downplayed or even criticized for being fluffy, light and not relevant to the real world. But is that true?

Books take us to places that we could never visit in reality. Even if you are reading biographies or documentary style books, you go to places and into the minds of people who you may never visit otherwise. I remember reading Harlequin Romances as a child and learning about exotic locations such as Greece, Spain and England that spurred further research in encyclopedias (those were the days before the internet) that helped in turn with school subjects such as Geography and History. Really, it was kind of amazing at what facts and trivia I captured through reading those “light” romances.

As I grew older, I learned about people who I’d never met before and, through the choices of books I read, this widened my view of the world. I had to think of issues that I’d never personally had to face such as prejudice, life choices such as unwanted pregnancy and other social issues.

Nowadays, there are so many possibilities. Digital and self publishing, as well as small press publishing has opened up such diverse opportunities for writing and reading as romance between multiple partners, LGTB romances and such formerly taboo subjects as BDSM, to name a few. To say that we have other issues to consider is an understatement but I think it’s going to widen our horizons and in turn our acceptance even further.

Hopefully, something I write will make a difference in someone’s life. I may not know of it and it may not be an earth shattering change but I may provide a fact or opinion that makes someone think. After all, we write to make a difference in someone’s life for a short time, right?