My ferocity for the act of writing itself was so great, I could literally sit for 12 or more hours and never look at a clock or stop to eat. If I lived alone, I may have never have stopped at all. Luckily, there are a few people in this world who cared enough to make me stop--at least--temporarily, just to rehydrate, refuel, and get some sleep. Today, my writing habits are practically unrecognizable. And so am I.
The frustration of the last three years is palpable in every room, and very visible--on my face, my body, and the thousands of blank pages that have gone yet unfilled because of it. Why am I frustrated? The better question, as always, is why not.
There is such negativity in the world. This week alone, children as young as three years old were murdered because their parents were Jewish. To kill anyone for any reason is a remarkably horrific act. And yet, it happened. It's happened before. Sadly, it will happen again.
The world-wide scale of human apathy is vexing to all intelligent beings. And there's no real solution. Not even on a much less grand scale. Like with employers.
Any employee is there because that person can only earn potential wealth through work. So, as an employer--whether supervisor or business owner--when you fire an individual without making best efforts to help that employee, who has undoubtedly made positive contributions during their work history, it is an absolute crime. No matter how you spin a firing--down-sizing, out-sourcing, lay-offs, cut-backs, dismissal, nonrenewal, or lack of funding--you've still ruined a person's financial future. Do you know that after three years of unemployment, any individual--regardless of experience or education--is less likely to ever find the same level of employment again? Did you also know that the individual will never financially recover from such a blow? That, even if the fired-employee saved, say, two years of an average $40,000/year salary--or $80,000--after three years, that savings would be gone. As would any retirement savings. And any equity if the person was a home-owner. Did you know that? If you didn't, you do now.
The thing is, while it's easy to create misery--it's even easier to create joy. And the writer in me--the infinite observer and curious knower--is feeling a bit hopeless...and helpless. Because even though joy is easier, people are willing to work for misery.
Let me be clear: I don't write because I want to. I write because I have to.
Writing is a compulsion, not a choice. When I write for money--which doesn't happen nearly enough--it's not compulsive. It's deliberate. Well-thought out, well-researched, exquisitely detailed...but there's no soul.
With every syllable I'm compelled to scribble, a piece of my soul emerges, blossoms, expands. It's not like I lose pieces of myself; it's more like planting seeds that only grow my capacity for compassion, joy, love...and humanity. That's why I haven't been able to write--not real writing, anyway.
For, what is the purpose of true writing, of expanding my soul, growing my capacity for humanity--when humanity has given up?
Every writer--whether paid or compelled--writes to be read. The audience is ever-present. But these days, physically present is enough.
What good is writing from the soul when no one else has one...or wants to?
Blame is a funny thing. It's an illusion we use against ourselves based on our deepest fears. In some ways, Blame is a survival instinct. Without Blame, we feel alone in a crowded room. Blame connects us to each other--even if it's a dysfunctional connection.
But Blame is irrelevant. My words connect me to you, and you to me--what we want or say or do has no bearing. I don't need blame to feel connected. I need to understand why I am a writer who no longer truly writes.
Writing always helps me to organize my thoughts. It's my own personal magic. Maybe that's part of the problem with the world today...no one believes in magic anymore. Or souls. Instead, they believe in things that aren't real. Artificial constructs like money and time. We need both. But neither is important enough to harm another life. Or take one.
When I do finally lose all hope for humanity, that's when the world--yours and mine--will end. Not because of a giant meteor. Not because of the apocalypse. Zombies need not apply. We're all the walking dead anyway.
My Uncle Sid, a tough guy with a heart of gold, used to say that life is long. What he meant was that there was always time to fix anything. Even the irreprable could be made right, given enough time. It certainly sounds reassuring; and I quote Uncle Sid often for that purpose. But I think he was wrong.
How can killing a three-year old be made right again in this long life? How can raping and lopping off the breasts of women in Africa be corrected? How can hundreds of thousands, tortured and dead, in Iraq ever be made whole? Or brother-Bosnians killing each other because of a difference of opinion? Or Irish, doing the same? Or more than 1,800 years of persecution because one group of people saw God in different colors? And there's more...so much more. The worst was when--in less than a decade--twelve million human beings were extinguished from the Earth. Do you know how much light was lost from the world because of that? Twelve million souls equals as much light, as much energy, as 500 years of our burning Sun. Humanity let it happen. How could you do that--not to them--to yourselves?
Jesus asked God to forgive people, "for they know not what they do." But that's just a story. A work of fiction. The reality is that every single human on this planet knows exactly what they're doing. Some use that self-direction for good, but not enough. Not nearly enough.
That's why I'm a writer who doesn't write. What can I possibly say about my observations? Is there anything to warm the human heart? A shred of decency left to salve the wounded soul? How does one muster compassion for those who only ever act out of deliberation, and no longer out of compulsion?
Three years ago, I suffered but a fraction of the world's cruelty...just enough to give me clarity. It wasn't the first time that happened, but it was the last. You see, now, I can't shake it. There's no going back. I reached beyond my own event horizon.
And there are no words to describe what I see on the other side....