It is past midnight. My husband is snoring next to me. He has to wake in four hours to leave for a business trip. He sleeps despite the glow of my laptop and the sound of my fingers darting across the keyboard. I write, warming my cold feet on his calves. It’s one of those times when my hands translate what my head is thinking. My thoughts are murky, and the only way to understand them is to expel them onto the page, where they will find a pattern or be erased.
Sometimes I wonder if a writer’s introspection is a trap door, like inviting demons to come and play. We spill our reddened ink onto the white, delve wilfully into the darkness to find the kernels of truth that illuminate our words. It’s a compulsion to understand that which can never fully be understood. So we present our myriad of truth, in a world where the axes continue to turn, the stakes ever-changing and where monsters are created anew.
It feels frivolous spending time crafting barely read words when there are people dying around us in wars and through disease. How lucky I am to sit here with heat, shelter and food, my loved ones in safety. How unfair that by accident of birth you can be born into chaos or comfort.
But what would we be if we failed to question? What would we be if we stopped searching for answers and lived our lives robotically, focussed on our individual spheres, foot soldiers of corporate and government will during the day and devotees of the electronic gods come nightfall?
So write my friends, when your belief is gone and you feel small, because when we question and articulate, when we create rather than consume, we play our part in progress. Stories matter; both realistic ones and fantastical. We read each other, and our minds spark in the gaps between the text, and somehow a combined consciousness emerges. That isn’t meaningless. It is something.