History in the making

Writers write. They write when they are oppressed. They write when they are starving, destitute. They write when they are ecstatic. No matter the circumstances, writers write. Sure, they can stop writing for months, years, decades even. I’m not at all advocating that you can only call yourself a writer if you write every day – gods know I haven’t! But writers, in the end, always come back to the page and write. They have no other choice.

The point I am trying to make here has to do with the current global turmoil – a tense election in the US, the UK leaving the EU, ISIS, human rights violations in still so many places, animals dying out by the bucketload, global warming… The world is not a happy place. And while some may think this is a reason for writers to go and ‘get real jobs’ and ‘contribute’, I think it is actually the most important time to have writers, of any sort, writing and sharing their words. There is no contribution more important than our inner truth.

Writers give hope, release, strength, anxiety, truth, fear, sadness… Writers make us feel and think. And we need more than ever to feel and think. Research has shown that reading books makes people more empathic, and in today’s cold world, we need all the empathy we can get. So read, and write, and make art. When future generations look back at us, I hope they will see more than the crazy, thoughtless, selfish decisions that many of us are making, either deliberately or through plain ignorance, flawed self-preservation instincts or denial. I hope they will see our beautiful art, the reports of people who did know better, who wanted to to do better, who were full of despair at the reality around them. I hope they will think of us kindly. Right now, I do not think of us kindly. And that, as everything else, is fodder for writing.

Sorry for not posting anything for such a long while and then writing something so somber. I can’t help thinking about the historical implications of what people are doing in and to the world today, and worrying. I hope I will feel more optimistic on Wednesday… And I hope I will follow my own advice and rediscover the release and relief that can come from writing.