As a writer, you have this innate fantasy that you can run around when people are asleep and distill in a vial all their hopes and dreams. Not in a fascist kind of way where you steal or hoard or control everyone but as a librarian. After all, what do people do with all their dreams and hopes? These tiny sparks of creativity, of love and inspiration? They neglect it, let it die a slow painful death by rejection or they expose them to the harsh conditions of the world where norms and popular opinion crush it before it even gets a chance to see the light.
As a writer, I am not alone in wanting to save all the unborn and store them away for a time and a season when we might find brave souls willing to adopt a few. Like a mother allowing them to thrive and develop in their own time, accepting them and nurturing them until their boughs are strong enough to shelter a few birds of creativity. Productive enough to produce fruit that may, in turn, spread its seeds far and wide, an orchard of new thoughts designed to wet the palate of the weary.
For I am so terribly tired of the same old thoughts being recycled and repackaged. Hate getting a makeover as ‘it is for our survival, we need to act, root out the enemy before they decimate us.” Xenophobia getting a makeover as, ‘if we let them infiltrate our ranks we will lose our culture, our identity.”
Does no one stop to ask, if our survival depends on us hating them or retaliating for the sake of protecting our identity, what exactly are we protecting or defending if we give away to hate and violence? If you turn into a monster to defeat an enemy, who will save you? Does survival at any cost mean dying to your true self? Is that a victory? Hasn’t the so-called enemy eventually won if all that remains is a hate-filled shell that seeks to destroy?
No thank you! I’ll have none of that, it upsets my sensibilities. I’d rather be like Tinkerbell flitting around stoppering dreams and hopes, celebrating the love we have left. But I won’t be cataloging them in some ivory tower, nay, I am a writer. I’ll be pouring out stories about warriors, dragons, and princesses who rescue the fallen prince. I’ll open a page and pour out someone’s dream, on an another I’ll talk about someone’s hopes, with a prayer that someone, somewhere might read about a different kind of life, one that doesn’t have an ‘us versus them’ theme but about humanity.
Stories of how we started out as cave-dwellers, hunted and hungry, we banded together and told stories about how we would be a great nation, together. We told stories and painted our walls, celebrating our collaboration, reminding the future generation the importance of trust, love and the power of cooperation.
Somehow, once we tamed our surroundings we decided that this world wasn’t big enough for everyone. We forgot the lessons of our humble cave-dwelling ancestors, we had progressed, we discovered power, and with great power comes, no not responsibility but the desire to conquer. With the mammoths gone, the saber-toothed tigers killed we looked around and finding no enemy, decided to create one, them.
So we found those who were different, the malformed, the weak and we inflicted the might of our superiority on them. Then we turned towards those further away, the ones who talked funny, didn’t dress like us, thought differently and we banded together to fight them.
Somewhere deep inside we knew it wasn’t right so we created stories about how there wasn’t enough for everyone, survival of the fittest. We created scarcity with our debilitating beliefs to justify our hatred and we continue to do so until today.
We, storytellers, know differently, there is enough for everyone, and we can go far if we walk together. For when we fight we are stationary, rooted in the same spot for eternity, defending our fortress, forgetting to grow, to plant and so we die, the ruins of our battles a testimony to our foolishness.
So I write, furiously about dreams and love and the need to move forward, before the darkness engulfs us.