I just finished reading “Catching Fire,” the second installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, for the first time. I have to say, it left me almost clinically depressed. Talk about a dystopian setting! It was fantastically plotted, though, and I thought the whole “clock” idea was inspired. I read it in less than 24 hours, just like I did with the first book.
After finishing the book, I found myself going on about my normal life, but getting depressed at the very thought of the awful way the book ends (and the things I’ve heard about the 3rd one, which I will read once I have recovered and actually have some free time). Every time the depressing thoughts would come, I would just shake them off. After all, my life isn’t that bad. I need to go get my hair cut. That will make me feel better.
Then it hit me. OH. EM. GEE.
I am the Capitol.
I, me, a girl who considers herself such a great person and so compassionate and caring and intelligent, am just like those brainless, worthless “Capitol” bimbos in Suzanne Collins’ novels. Vain. Selfish. Happy as long as all my needs are being met. Wanting to just shove reality and depressing thoughts away. Intrigued by all the suffering I see on TV instead of enraged by it.
I want to simply ignore the fact that there are starving, oppressed, trapped people all over the world, just like there are in the fictional (but not too far off) land of Panem. I want to just sit on my cozy couch day after day with my lovely, fat, black cat and my laptop and write the stories I want to write. I want to have riches, fame, and comfort instead of living my life for something that really matters.
That’s not to say that comfort, fame, riches, and writing the stories I want to write are all bad. But if that’s all I have, it’s nothing. I might as well be dead for all anyone else cares.
This realization brought me to tears. How wrong have I been? What have I been doing? What can I do?
Then I remembered there’s a volunteering opportunity with my school next month at a local food bank. I may not be able to save millions of lives or even make a DENT in the stratosphere of this world, but I can lend a helping hand.
Another thing I realized today while I was reading this incredible book is that I have an immense power right at my fingertips. I can write. I can entertain. I can get into people’s heads and hearts and make them think and feel.
I have an audience, and that is power in and of itself. AND SO DO YOU. Whoever you are, whatever you do, TODAY, this moment, you have an audience who needs to hear what you have to say.
So if you are reading this, my challenge to you is this: Donate, volunteer, speak, sing, paint, write, invent, fix, play, sign, give, love, pray–whatever you can do, do it. For the hungry, for the sick, for the addicted, for the enslaved. For anyone you know who is suffering–get off your arse and do something to help them.
You only have one life on this planet. Make it count.