Writing to Change the World

I read Reviving Ophelia years ago, in my early adulthood. It was one of the first books to really explain life to me; it told me things my parents and peers didn't quite grasp themselves. For once, I understood the reasons behind some of my own bad decision making, and also that people don't usually make bad decisions on purpose, or maim (emotionally or otherwise) those around them without the presence of extreme, unmanageable pain.

If you're like me and tend to believe that people are inherently good (at least on my good days), Reviving Ophelia provides great explanations of how the outside world (media, sexism, etc.) effects the inward life of girls and women.

A few years after writing Ophelia, Mary Pipher wrote Writing to Change the World in 2006. I happened upon the book a few weeks ago and have finally started to dig in. In the introduction Mary writes about how technology has overstimulated and disempowered us.
"Technology advances rapidly as collective wisdom declines. We are a nation good at consuming and poor at savoring."
I believe this, too. Technology is all around us, and for the most part, living, breathing, feeling people are not. It's become so easy to refer to those people we do see as "alien," "illegal," and "terrorist" because it's easier to label them than to say hello.

From my own experiences of moving around the U.S./Germany, I stayed more in touch through letters and phone calls in those pre-internet days than I now do with friends across town via the current social networks we all belong to.

My anti-consumerism aside, there will never be an app for smelling roses. Some of the very best things are actually still free.


  1. You never know, Dawn. There may be an app for smell ... I remember reading about attempts to develop a technology that can bring you smells over the net, five or six years ago.

  2. Yeah, I suspected I shouldn't have written that line. I don't doubt the creativity and ambition of computer folk. But I'll stick by my belief that humans were made to live in the natural world, not the virtual one.