We’re on the cusp of great change.
You can feel it in your bones. The old world order is rattling around like a bunch of dry bones in a box, and the world itself is splitting at the seams.
In my own little writing world, things are being remade anew too.
And in both, no one knows what form the new thing that’s coming will take.
Writing at its heart is an act of both destruction and creation. As writers, we take something we know – the world around us – and break it down into its component parts, rending sinew from flesh and bone and sticking it all into neat little compartments in our brain. Okay, sometimes they’re not so neat, but we all have a little treasure-trove of world-experience we draw from when we write.
Then we throw it out onto the page in a different order, assembling the pieces of what we know (or think we know) into a brand new world.
That’s what it feels like the real world is doing right now. Old bits and pieces are being ground down by our politics, by the beginning ravages of climate change, by the corona virus, and much more.
In my writing, I have a choice. I can let the mess spew from my mind onto the page to land there with a sick, wet thud, a malformed bit of meat and bone that will drip off the page with all the enthusiasm of a Star Trek transporter malfunction.
Or I can reach out and shape it as it goes, and help craft it into a beautiful beast that will delight and inspire my readers.
Would that I had that power in real life.
Events outside my little writer bubble this last week seem to have taken on a life of their own. It has helped me immensely to realize that I am powerless to stop them.
I’m not part of OPEC. I don’t sit in the President’s chair, and I wasn’t in that market in Wuhan to stop it when some unfortunate snake bit the man about to sell it off as medicine or food and transmitted this virus. I don’t have the power to fire up the stock market or change the disastrous decisions of this administration, or even make more toilet paper for Australia. (Sorry Toni).
Not on my own.
But together we can make a difference in what is to come. We can realize that a new thing is being born, and we can act together to shape it.
There are two competing voices in our society today. The banshee screams of the ravenous right, filled with hatred and calling for isolation and homogeneity and destruction.
The other is the counter-tone of the left, the voice that wants to lead us forward, the one that calls for creation. All of us who value truth and peace and compassion and diversity and life need to come together (Bernie folks and Biden folks and all the people in-between) and reach out to shape the future that’s coming.
The differences that divide us from each other are so small, compared to those that divide us from the forces of destruction.
I don’t have the power to make this happen on my own. But I can stand up and sing unity every day to my friends and family. I can make myself a small light in the darkness, pointing the way forward.
As a writer, I am marching into my own darkness to make something wonderful and new.
As a man in this crazy world, how can I do any less?