where the writers are
Seattle Zen: Rewriting your future

“Where goes Seattle, so goes the world” It is the greatest most poignant truth in the world. Even though it’s fame and importance is generally relegated to my own head. On May first Seattle was invaded by a bunch of trust fund anarchists who seemed quite angry at something. They were not sure what they were angry at but they sure seemed to want to smash things it was nothing less  than terrorism disguised as street protests. Even the ones in Ohio who actually tried to blow up a bridge showed the problems facing Washington State are slowly creeping westward.

Yes  I know part of the problem is the economy. Washington State’s operational budget relies heavily on Boeing, Starbucks, Josh’s bar tab and Microsoft, and services are being cut, jobs are being lost and the misery index is climbing. There is  of course the rain in  Washington State which causes people to go outside without umbrellas during , what would be considered a moderate monsoon in other  parts of the world, because the thought of going outside (yet again!) with your umbrella is enough to drive any person crazy. There is the final piece where people hardly interact with each other face to face, preferring instead to bask in the warm radiation caused by their Ipad or Kindle. One is nearly tempted to belt out REM’s “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (and I feel fine)”.

And so it goes and so it seems it will never stop , a pressuer cooker inside tea kettle that is going off while you are in the shower and as you wrap your towel around you to get the tea kettle off the stove least the steam burns down the house the phone rings in the opposite direction and when the answering machine picks up you here the desperate cries of someone you love who ran out of gas in the middle of the highway….

And stop.

The world is not coming to an end.

I have proof. A couple of weeks ago I was at the Puyallup Fair and I was walking around. People were talking face to face and not on their cell phones. Families were laughing together. Lumberjacks (duh…this is the Southwest canada) were carving bunnies out of wood logs, and people were having fun. Yes F-U-N. They were doing it without tablets, or facebook, or kindles. They  were even treated a really cool band called Cody Bebe and the Crooks , which is an awesome Washington area band that can play everything from grunge to blues to this blender fusion of grunge , blues, and the music you expect stoned hippies to be playing on a beach in Goa.

People are carving out success and happiness and they are doing it by them themselves . That is the key, they are not expecting it to be given to them they are working for it. Whether it be the myriad of writers who have found a voice on the internet, or the CEO of a high end fashion magazine made it her mission to improving  how women look and think,  or people pursuing a lifelong dream of  working  in politics and running for office (really? Did I really just put “Lifelong dream” and “politics in the same sentence? Are you kidding me?) or artists who have the caring to bring their love of art to underprivileged children people are taking charge of their lives.

There is nothing wrong with this. America needs to embrace this misguided optimism and follow it.  Writers need to stop writing misanthropic dystopian visions of the future. We need to be the ones who say “Yes life is bad, and life is scary, but it can be better and it can be good”. We can rewrite the future. We are not predestined to some cataclysmic civil war pitting religion vs secularism, educated people versus New Yorkers, capitalists versus everyone else. We have the power. Writers can literally create worlds where everything is awful and then tell the readers “Here is how we fix it …and look how nice it is when we fix things together.” We can point out the beauty of things that people might ordinarily pass without a thought. We can, but more often than not we chose not to.

But it isn’t easy, and people are not always successful. Trust me I am the epitome of unsuccessful. Seriously, look at the dictionary and look under unsuccessful and you find me. You know what? It doesn’t bother me. For me it is a lifetime of work, break , fix repeat as necessary. My life is certainly better for it, although I prefer if someone else starts making mistakes that I can learn from instead of the other way around.

I worked for about a year on an ambulance and I realized why people fear life They fear life because they might get to that moment right before death and say “Damn, I wish I did  X and I did not spend so much time on Y” . But if you do these things, if you follow your dreams  and  make the world a better place for everyone to inhabit, and  you  cuddle them and caress them like a long lost love you won’t have that fear of living that comes with dying.

Joshua Keidan is the Unofficial Official Spokesman for Generation X.  He has been named “ A Fountain of Bewilderment” in several countries that wish not to be named, or more likely , simply do not exist. He encourages everyone to drink a lot of coffee and love life whenever possible.