The world seems like a very dark place at the moment. A short while ago, when I heard about the UK government’s decision to take military action in Syria I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of conflict and thought about all the fellow humans who would be directly affected (and hurt) by this. I spent many of my walks around the neighbourhood feeling low and contemplating why humans keep repeating this kind of aggressive behaviour.
I find that when there is much darkness without, I often feel the darkness within me crowding out positive and joyful thoughts and feelings. Everything seems worthless, I feel worthless and everything I do seems worthless.
A huge part of my life is centred around books and I very much believe in the power of words, but I also cannot ignore the fact that so many wise, creative people have written over and over again about the idiocy of aggression and how we must cooperate with each other and respect our environment if we are to live in a peaceful and bountiful world. The message is out there, it is forever being beamed out there, but is it being picked up? Is it heard? Is it being listened to?
When the world seems like a dark place, I think no. The message is being ignored, and willfully so, and even the thought of hope – hope that one day us greedy, stupid humans will stop killing each other and destroying our planet – seems an impossibility.
It is then that I must simply hold on to the idea of hope. To hold on to the idea that even if the messages keep getting ignored, a place where people aren’t sending out those messages is even worse.
Slowly, very slowly, I came to the realization that this, for me, would simply have to be enough. The dedication of a life to putting messages of light, empathy and the value of clear communication out there is enough, and importantly, worthwhile.
And as I came to this realization, books, the process of creativity and my loved ones helped me to remember joy and the light there is in life, although for it to exist and be appreciated, there has to be some darkness, whether it be without or within.
A simple trip to the library with my son to pick up some children’s Christmas books was joyful.
Finding escape and enjoyment – sheer bliss, in fact! – through reading one of my friend’s books was joyful.
Finding words of kindness and empathy in Matt Haig’s book was a comforting.
Finding some sweet-smelling hyacinths in a dark box in the garage and bringing them out into the light made my heart glad.
Reading some poignant and beautiful poems in this charity anthology – many by poets I have the pleasure of knowing and being friends with – also made my heart glad.
Painting and creating some new art (some of it with and alongside my daughter) was joyful.
And on the way discovering an older piece, full of the contrast of dark and light made me happy.
Reading my very short story ‘Lady Seaweed or Tristesse’ at the Nottingham Writers’ Studio and was joyful.
Writing some sci-fi short stories was joyful.
Listening to some Pentatonix songs was joyful.
Meeting up with my friend and ex-mentee was heartwarming and wonderful.
And lastly, lighting the candles on our Nativity scene with my son and putting the Christmas tree up with our family, which is now stuffed full of ornaments – many of which have been made with much love – was joyful.
In a continued time of darkness I wish you all much joy and light.
With many thanks to Maddy for continuing to be the brilliant link-up host.