Well, there’s nothing quite like waking up to a new rave review from a total stranger (and some cat turds in a random corner of the apartment from my deranged pussy cat who decides, on a whim, that she wants to abstain from the litter box and do it hobo-style—but I digress). Jessie and her review can be found here: http://jessiereadseverything1.com/feast-fates-review/ As a writer, I experience a rush of glory whenever someone reads my story, and gets it: the characters, the plot, the subtle—and intricate—connections between characters. I wanted to write something real, believable, and mirroring of life. Sometimes the ugly parts we don’t like to see: aspects of death, suffering and illness both spiritual and physical. And at other moments in the story, I sought to capture the beauty and fragility of being alive (even though there are a few Immortals around, they too, ponder death and their unnatural state and how it affects life), magnified and drawn out in a way that only fiction (and fantasy) can aggrandize. So yeah, cat shit aside, I woke up to a wonderful bit of sunshine in my inbox. Jessie, and pretty much everyone else so far, got my book.
Now that’s not what I wanted to talk about today. In what might seem to be a contagion of cross-blog spam, but is really simply due to the errant nature of my brain—it really goes wherever it wants and if it wasn’t tied to my spinal cord, I’d be drooling in a chair, while Brain was soaring the stars, sipping cocktails in Hawaii, or on a safari—anyway (and omg at this run on sentence, with numerous, flagrant asides, eh, editors? pull that hair right out), I would like to direct you to a piece that I read the other day, at this gentleman’s blog: http://www.breathethroughthis.com/daily-reflections/cultivating-caring
“Cultivating Caring”. Interesting title, and a succinct insight on how we, as individuals and a society, create the environment in which we live. As humans, and the dominant species on our planet (or so cats would allow us to believe), we rule both the physical and intangible elements of our world. When considering the world’s problems, the sheer, gagging deluge of shit in which we’ve buried ourselves as a species, self-realization, which is usually part of any recovery program, is key. The short list of our extraordinary fuckups: oil spills, environmental warming, religious intolerance and hatred, pick-your-genocide, suppression of women, visible minorities, LGBTQ persons, two world wars, poverty, global starvation, the eradication of countless species. And that’s just the short list. So here we are, having ruined our beautiful playground—burned down the swing-set, tarred the family dog in oil—and we have no one else to blame except ourselves. Well, we haven’t totally destroyed each other and the planet, yet, but there’s still plenty of time and ways to ensure our self-destruction. Humans are the Einsteins of creativity when it comes to planning ruination. Depressing stuff, and even more “fear-mongery” if you watch Fox News (saddest when you realize people actually think of it as “news”). What can we do? I usually don’t go for the heart-strings, but man, think of the children. Future generations will have to grow up living in the cesspool we’ve created.
While I am not afraid to write of dark things—or see them—I do so because it gives me an appreciation for the light. I would say that I am a hopeful person. Even when my mother died, I found a strained beauty in the experience. She passed while I held her hand, and I felt something in her leave. A breath? Her soul? Who knows, I couldn’t see it, although I could feel it, and that’s a sense too, even if it’s not one commonly accepted as a measure of fact. (Note: I have previously mentioned my mom’s passing, more than once or twice, and it’s not for the tear-milking factor, it’s because that was an experience that I reminisce on nearly every day of my life; an experience that transformed me and everything I believe.) In short, I have faith, in something greater, not necessarily an old man with a beard, but certainly in a mystery that we cannot perceive with our eye-meats. I believe in miracles, both scientific and unexplainable. I think that we should keep wonder and openness in our hearts at all times. I think that acceptance of what we can and cannot change is part of the complex solution to solving the riddle of how not to destroy ourselves. Empathy is another ingredient. We cannot change if we do not care outside of ourselves. Being kind to animals is another. I still like steak, I’m sorry, I do; however, I do make the effort to appreciate that an animal has died so that I can enjoy and take nourishment from its body. Is that weird? To thank a piece of grocery-store beef when you eat it? I would say it is no stranger than the blessing of Rabbi, or saying grace before a meal. You don’t have to be Jewish, Christian or practicing religion at all to be thankful, you just have to be thankful. We also just need to be nicer, even basic politeness will do. How do we expect to get any sort of consensus, required for the impetus to bring change on a grand scale, when we can barely communicate with each other without engaging in road-rage, the pettiest of petty lawsuits, and anti-social, sometimes bullying behavior obscured behind social media? We can’t. Want the world to stop stinking? We’re the assholes. Stop farting.
The cold pill of reality is that there is no magic solution. No “clean energy” source that you’ve seen in Morgan Freeman’s eightieth movie of the season, where he’s the president, or scientist, or Nobel Prize winning scientist-President, who discovered cold-fusion and has now had that technology pilfered by the Russians. Even if that radical technology does come—and something eventually will—that won’t fix the problem. We’re the problem. We still have the dark parts of our natures to contend with: the greedy, competitive, selfish aspects of humanity. As I said, however, there is hope. We start with ourselves. We start by being grateful, thankful—to everything we touch—and kind. Will we have to fake it sometimes? Almost certainly. But we fake so much of our personas and ourselves that the illusion is often the reality. Being a nice person isn’t such a bad charade to play. You might even like it. At least you’ve tried to be a better person, which in turn contributes to a collective of people trying to be better.
I’m trying, I’m not quite there, but I feel certain activist tendencies stirring inside of me. Small revolutions, like making sure I recycle. I used to be terrible—hey, I admit it—half the time I’d throw plastic in with the garbage and call it a day. I pay attention to current events instead of pretending the world is okay—ignorance is not bliss, it’s just ignorance. I say “please”, “thank-you”, and “excuse me” when in public. I acknowledge that I am part of a greater whole. Going back to the inspiration for this blog, caring is one of the many things we need to cultivate, to make a concentrated effort to grow, in the field of our humanity. So start working on it, being human. Or keep that asshole-flag flying proud. Either way, I’m hopeful that one day the caring will outnumber the rest.