I was going to reveal something to you today that I’m extremely proud of. Something I’ve been working on for the last couple months. Something that’s been hard not to post about until now because I have zero patience and a terrible need to share.
A project, a sign of faith, a beacon of hope.
Of course I didn’t see it as all of those things until today. Before, it was just something I needed and wanted to do for me. To help me believe in myself again after a lot of rejections and setbacks and personal demons that managed to slip back in to derail my dreams.
That was before last Friday. Before hatred reared its ugly head again into the world I know. The world I know is not normally drenched in blood and covered in rubble. Most of us here in this country don’t know that world, and I thank God for that. I wish no one did.
But when that world dives into our hearts, it’s hard to shake.
That hatred becomes a living thing, ripping and tearing and shattering everything in its path and the collateral damage felt in shock waves around the planet can be too much to bear. We have a friend who lost three loved ones in Paris. I cannot imagine the grief.
I’m a sensitive. September 11, Paris, Beirut, and the thousands of other atrocities perpetrated around the world and in our own back yards here seep into my psyche and wreak havoc on my ability to see the good, to have hope, faith that we’re going to be okay. In that fugue, I focus on the hate. This brings me to my knees, paralyzing everything.
But I’m trying like hell to re-frame my thoughts. Re-frame the way I see, not only myself, but the world in general. And most days I do see the good. I see the beautiful humanity in a smile from a stranger, or one person helping another. That too brings me to my knees, but in a good way.
A friend of mine obstinately refuses to be drawn low by the hatred, to let anyone steal his belief in the essential goodness of humanity. No matter how horrible we can be to one another. Not only do I respect him for his perspective, I envy him for it. I wish I automatically went to the good, too, when faced with so much bad.
He posted a meme of Mr. Rogers on Friday:
It’s a beautiful sentiment and it’s absolutely true. We should always look for the helpers. They will restore our faith in humanity when it gets blown apart by the hatred of those who want to bring us misery. My friend is one of those helpers. He’s also a terrific writer.
A few months ago, on a particularly bad day, after my fourth rejection in a row, and reading about terrible events somewhere in the world, I had a crisis of faith and was deeply struggling with the importance of being a writer at all.
Who cares when there’s so much pain and suffering in the world? So much senseless violence.
I expressed this to another writer friend, a brilliant and talented and sensitive man who struggles with some of the same issues I do surrounding self-worth and finding his place in the world.
“I’ve been having a rough go lately, like apocalyptic rough, with my writing,” I said. “I’ve been struggling to find a reason to write. Children are dying, wars are being waged, Donald Trump is running for president. Who the hell is going to care about what I write?”
He replied, “I think that people need you to write because children are dying, wars are being waged, and the Trump is running for President. More than ever, people need a warm place to escape to.”
That sentiment landed and I’m grateful for the reminder. Both of my friends are right.
Never be afraid or deterred or tricked by the hatred in the world into believing art doesn’t matter. That it doesn’t have power. ISIS and every other terrorist organization would like us to believe it doesn’t. They destroy ancient artifacts and burn books, trying to rewrite history, but they will fail. The simple fact that they’re destroying these works of art speaks to their immeasurable power.
These people try to instill fear and hatred by perpetrating mass attacks on innocent people. We can’t let them succeed in their attempts to incite those feelings in us.
To continue, in the face of the horror and the hate, to speak our creative souls into life because if we stop, they win. They cannot win.
Today, I was going to share that my novel, Chasing Kate, is now available in paperback.
I was going to share how I needed to hold the book in my hands, to feel it whole and real, a small step to help mend my slightly shredded confidence as a writer.
I was going to share how my amazing, talented, and supremely supportive boyfriend designed the beautiful cover while I created the interior. It’s a gorgeous book, a great accomplishment.
I was excited to share this with you – until last Friday. And then I started feeling like it just didn’t matter.
But it does matter.
Just as choosing to love in the face of everything hateful matters. All of our accomplishments, all of our endeavors matter. Because it’s our job to help leave a legacy of art and stories and the truth of the human heart, with all its beauty and flaws, that lifts our souls instead of dragging them through the rubble of that unadulterated hatred.
So let’s spread the love.
Leave a comment below about something you’ve created that you’re proud of. Something important to you. Something you’ve brought into this world that makes it a better place, even if it’s only for you.
It can be art, it can be writing, it can be your children, it can be a toenail exhibit. Don’t care.
If you can’t think of anything to share, tell me, what stirs your soul? What excites you about being human? Share that. I only ask that it be positive and overflowing with love and hope. Because that’s a good goal, don’t you think?