Thursday, August 16, 2007

Combining two of my passions.

I have two passions in life (three if you count food). I've struggled to reconcile myself with the two, trying to figure out how to fit both into my life or how to balance them. The two passions I'm talking about are 1) writing (duh) and 2) for lack of a better term - fighting the good fight.

Yes, yes, laugh all you want at my idealism, but there's something about working in an orphanage, doing community service, joining charity organizations - it makes you believe that you can help improve this world, even by a little bit, and I've always wanted to be part of that. Most of all, I'm interested in work to help children, especially orphans, and work in public and global health. Because I believe children have a right to be children and have happy childhoods, and because I believe health is the #1 most important thing a human being can have. I feel strongly about these things, and so for a long time, I've wanted to do something important, relevant, something that would benefit those less advantaged than me. Save lives. Make kids laugh. That sort of thing.

In the past year and a half, I've been struggling with this, mostly because while writing felt most right to me, in the basest, instinctual way, it also seemed incredibly selfish. I tried to figure out what path to take in life, career-wise, that would do the world the most benefit. I looked into non-profit organizations, I thought about going back to school for public health policy. And more than anything, I wanted to go to Vietnam for a few months and work with the orphans myself. But the pull of writing was so great, and while I was trying to figure all of that out, I kept writing and writing, and one day it just clicked, that this was who I was, this was my calling, and there was no way I could turn my back on it. And I felt happy, having figured it out. At peace with myself, finally. I could still go to Vietnam, I could still do charity work on the side, and maybe once I got into a groove with writing, I could divert my attention back to the bigger issues. But selfish as it was, there was no way I could deny the affinity I had for the word. This is what I wanted with my life, at least for now.

I have no doubt in my mind that there's a place in my life for the good fight. I look at my mother, who in her midlife, works extensively with orphans in China. She's always had an affinity for this kind of work but never had the time when we were growing up. Maybe right now is the time in my life when I need to settle myself, be selfish. You know, put on the oxygen mask first before helping others. I'd like to think that's what I'm doing right now. Self-actualizing a little bit more before I put on the big guns and try to save the world. [I'm idealistic, I know. But I hope that doesn't change.]

Anyway, the only reason I mention this is because, this January, a friend of mine passed along information on the HOW Literary Journal - HOW standing for Helping Orphans Worldwide. The journal aims to raise money for orphanages across the world, and this year it's focusing on an orphanage in Ethiopia. The journal now has a website, and its first issue is coming out in September.

I wish I had polished something in time to submit to this journal, because, well, it's a marriage of the two things I love the most. I think it's worth looking into, worth submitting to (because even though the fee is $5 to submit, it goes towards these orphanages, and getting into the journal gets you a pretty nice fee), and even worth subscribing to, because of the fact that they money is going towards these charities. It probably doesn't raise a lot, that the money isn't much, especially when you count all the overhead. But I think there's something to be said about taking a seemingly self-involved thing as writing and helping it go towards a bigger cause. I applaud the effort, and can only hope it grows and develops over the years...

Having said that, I'm definitely going to start submitting for their second issue.

2 drops:

moonrat said...

oooo what are you going to submit?! maybe it can be a food essay (thereby combining your third passion). Just kidding.

angelle said...

the perfectionist in me still thinks all of my stories are crap even after editing them a million billion times, so i'm not really quite sure.

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