The human condition is a flawed one indeed. The past year or so has made that painfully, excruciatingly obvious. And I gotta tell you, there have been many times I've wondered not just why I continue writing stories of love and hope and triumph but whether I even should, because it feels so…trivial sometimes.
Never more so than this past week. Because holy sh*t and shades of the past…we're really going down that path again? Really?
I was actually out at a cottage with hubby on a mini-getaway while this latest ugliness unfolded. Fortunately (or unfortunately?), we had internet and I was able to follow the news. Talk about a dichotomy. The serenity of the water-lily studded and sun-dappled lake before me vs. pictures of children in cages filling my news feed. The call of loons and harrumph of bullfrogs drifting across the water vs. the heartbreaking wail of a toddler desperate for her mother. For comfort. For love.
Believe me, I was aware of my extreme privilege every second I was there.
And I was also questioning my career as a writer…or at least my choices as to what I write. Because with all of the horrific things going on in the world, all of the pain and trauma and just plain evil, I can't help but feel that I should be doing more. That I should be fixing things. That I should be waving some kind of magic wand and making the world better.
If my Twitter and Facebook streams are anything to go by, I'm not the only writer struggling with this. Author Chuck Wendig wrote a powerful blog post on the topic (warning for language! 😉 ), editor Sarah Guan posted this thread on Twitter, and romance author Kristan Higgins posted this response to another writer:
So no, I'm not alone in my thoughts, which does help to know…but doesn't quite alleviate the guilt I feel about being safely tucked away in my sunny little corner of Canada while other parts of the world–too many parts–go up in flames.
And then this came up in my Facebook feed. It's a video clip from Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Colour Purple, who says “There are all these terrible things that can actually happen to us, and yet life is so incredibly magical and abundant and present that we can still be very happy.”
And it stopped me in my tracks, because how much truth lies in those words.
Because, for now at least, despite all the atrocities and madness, the sun still rises each morning to sparkle across lakes and oceans. Birds sing in the trees. Puppies and kittens gambol and shower us with love. Mountains and forests and rocks and plains endure. Flowers bloom and gardens grow. Good people join together to push back against the bad. Life goes on.
I may not have a magic wand that I can wave to right all the wrongs, but I can still see the magic out there. And if I can use my words to remind people of that magic–of the good in life, of the beauty and the love and the hope and the triumph–if I can bring a smile to someone's face or a lift their heart even for a moment, then I think that would be a Good Thing, indeed.
So that's what I will continue to do.
Wishing you peace, hope, love, and uplifting stories,