Reality:  Nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

The world is bleak, my friends, or at least that is what we are being programmed to believe.  Every where we turn, highlighted for our viewing and reading pleasure, are messages of gloom, doom, and international despair.  It’s incredibly easy to believe, and buy into the propaganda wholesale.  Lately I’ve been asking myself a question, though – is it really that horrible, or are we getting the sort of misleading slant you see in a political advertisement?  You know – the basic words are there, but the context is missing.

We notice what we’re looking for. If you’re thinking about the color red, you see it everywhere.  If there’s a particular vehicle on your mind, there’s going to be one parked at every stop light.   I like to use the mosquito bite analogy.  One of the little suckers bites you and it forms an itchy welt.  If you’re active and busy doing interesting things, you barely notice it.  Sit down quietly to rest and relax, and it attracts your attention.  Before you know it, the only piece of skin that you can think about is that annoying itchy welt, even though it is relatively tiny.

 I think reality is a little bit like that.

Don’t get me wrong.  Really bad things happen to people.  I’ve lived through a few dark days myself, and I sit with clients who are survivors of incredibly painful events all the time.  My point is that there is something more.  This morning I stopped myself in my frantic scramble to get to work and actually stood on the front porch watching the rising sun light up the edges of the clouds.  I breathed deeply of the frosty morning air – up here it smells of trees and leaves and empty spaces, and you can’t breathe it into the bottom of your lungs and still be anxious.  

While I was standing there, I made the decision to be determinedly optimistic, to resist the contagion of fear that is swirling all around me these days.  I believe that there is beauty everywhere you look.  I believe in the innate goodness of human beings and that we all have a right and a reason to be here.  I believe in books – in that incredible moment when you read something and connect with an author you have never met, when a truth strikes you right between the eyes, or touches your heart and actually brings you to tears.  I believe in love and courage and generosity.  I believe there are “more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy” (thank you Will) and I believe that sometimes miracles happen.

Those of us who write, or paint, or make music, have the opportunity to make the world a better place, whether we create something that the world will share, or if it stays with the people who inhabit our little corner.  And in order to keep creating, we need to stay out of the pits of despair, keep our fingers moving on the keyboard, keep ourselves healthy and strong.

I’m going on a sort of media diet – avoid the hype and the fear mongering, and spend time focusing on that which is beautiful and of hope.   And to keep writing, and submitting manuscripts.  

Speaking of writing, it is nearly Friday again.  It has been an extremely busy week, but interesting. I got out another couple of submission packages for Remember, and realized that I haven’t been able to go forward on Gatekeeper because there are still some elements that need to be written into the beginning before I can go on.  I was right about the writing knowing what it was doing, and I just need to be patient and trust the process.  So – the weekend writing challenge.  I’m not sure what I can or should accomplish this weekend, but I’m aiming for 2000 words, and perhaps a nice glass of wine when I win through.

If you’re interested, feel free to join in.  What kind of writing could you do to stretch yourself a little, and how will you reward yourself?