Poking a Hornets’ Nest: Courage or Folly? Big Stick, or Small?

I have not, and never have, had much desire to poke a hornet’s nest – figuratively or literally. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the consequences when someone else does it, allowing me to watch safely from the sidelines. Maybe I’ve never been driven to. Or maybe I’m just not brave enough.

A hornets’ nest can be just that – something very literal like poking into an ant hill or whacking at the paper hive. But I think it can also mean diving into issues that are often divisive: politics, religion, money, etc. And I wonder: is it better to dance around and make small, delicate swipes at it with a twig, or give that sucker a big old whack with baseball bat?

My dad has a tendency to poke things with a stick. Especially ant hills. From observation, I have seen that a long stick puts you at greater distance, and naturally you’re less likely to be bitten (as much, it seems). I have inherited this tendency in a less literal sense, and in my private life less than my public one (ie: my writing), I have occasionally taken a large stick and a big swing. I’ve pissed people off. I’ve lost friends. I’ve been hurt, and so have others.

In my writing, I avoid sticks and things to poke at. Maybe it’s the memory of what it feels like when you did get “bitten,” so to speak. Although in my private life, I can’t completely regret what I did, because it’s contributed strongly to who and what I am. So why not in writing? Why not give a great big wallop?

Here’s the thing: even if we dance around with that twig and never quite give the nest a strong blow, somehow, we probably hit something, pissed something – or someone – off, and we’re going to get stung anyway. We can’t live our lives to please everyone and everything.

So if you’re already swinging, why not make it more noticeable, take that stand?

Have you poked any “hornets’ nests” lately – literally or figuratively? Why do you do it? Would you do it again? Do comment below.

Thanks for reading – have a good one!


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