I have high expectations for my fantasy characters. They’re supposed to do the right thing, make sacrifices, stand up to evil against all odds. My plots throw them into situations requiring them to make tough choices when it would be so much easier to look the other way or let someone else bear the burden. Some of my protagonists are reluctant, but they almost always make the right choices.
I posted last summer about Big Energy wanting to run a massive natural gas pipeline through my little town in the middle of nowhere. Why here? Because we are inconsequential peasants, our lives an insignificant sacrifice should something go terribly wrong in the pursuit of billions in profit. About two years ago, I became an activist. I felt an obligation to live up to my characters’ expectations.
I protested, but my weapons of choice were words. I wrote and wrote and wrote to anyone who would listen and many who wouldn’t. What we do has the power to persuade, to stir emotions, to record the truth in black and white, indelible, transmittable, and harder to ignore.
We weren’t the only community affected, of course, and I was only one of several thousand voices including environmentalists, recreational and commercial fishermen, Native Americans, farmers, land owners, Earth-lovers, and old hippies (myself included).
We were only one village on the snaking pipeline that would cut through hundreds of waterways and end at two massive export terminals on our Pacific shores. Some of those fighting this war had been battling for over ten years. Talk about resolve.
Well, last week we actually WON.
We won for our neighbors and our forests, wildlife, and waterways. Ordinary citizens raised our voices together and we prevailed over the power of money.
It still feels like a fantasy, one where the good guys win.