I imagine that we all have a lot spinning in our hearts right now. It’s an election year here in the United States, and a contentious one and the energy is painful and distracting and punishing. Political views aside, how does one create in such an environment? To create is to open oneself, to offer something to the world. The world might not notice a book until it reaches the shelves of booksellers, but the writer notices the world. It’s our job to notice the world. It’s our job to be open, to delve into emotions and emotional subjects. It’s also our job to protect ourselves.
These days I am finding this combination more and more difficult. The hate, the venom, the violence, the frayed nerves are like downed electrical wires after a storm. How can one feel safe enough to make the offering of art in an unsafe world?
I don’t really know the answer to this, except that as a story teller I find myself taking refuge in the story itself, in the world I am building and occupying. To write a novel will always be more intense than reading one. It will always offer a world to step into different from the one the author lives in. It may be only different in time, but there is some comfort in that. We got through that era, didn’t we? A story has a beginning, a middle and an end. There’s comfort in that too. A story is making structure out of chaos. It’s finding the narrative thread and following it. It’s ignoring the tributaries that don’t matter right now, that haven’t yet reached out their tentacles to snag your feet as you journey. Creating a story is both an act of will power, and giving over to the power of something larger than yourself, larger even than the life you’re living now.
Please take heart creators. We need your art now more than ever.