In having a conversation here, on Red Room, I have been reminded of the upswelling of energy that sometimes greets us as we move through our personal journeys. As writers, as humans, there is very little distinction between our experience and the way it shapes our writing. Of course there are novels and historical settings, there are places of science fiction where we might insert our minds, living and breathing as others. Apart from these distinctions of craft and creativity is always the writer, the person, the voice. What I hear so much of these days is a mirror to my own issues. The particulars change, the placement in path or consciousness is differently depicted as well. The constant of course, is this particular historical moment. Whether it is guided by stars or myth, science or dogma, there is no one I have encountered through this forum, or others, who is not somehow involved in and therefore, reacting to this wave of change.
In a blog post, dated the 25th of December I found myself looking to speak about the radical aspects of love. This was not new to me, however the topic was not tiresome, either. What surprised me was the excitement expressed by a fellow author who wanted to engage and directly address the false walls that supported a reality he had grown up in, as a baby boomer. With a kind line from another author, focusing on our shared belief in imagination came some gentle, and always appreciated recognition, for we both know that we are kindred spirits. This we've already established. Next came a piece in a story line's puzzle, the measured power of argument from another author who, in this cyber-place has continually and incrementally, shaped me. So, finally last night the conversation, held mostly between just one other and myself came to fruititon, landing on the concept and steps of compassion. This led me to remember and renew my interest in the work of the tireless and fearless, Karen Armstrong. I met Ms. Armstrong, however briefly, one night when she'd just begun her tour in support of her TED prize, which she employed as an opportunity to engage the world in a Charter for Compassion. The woman, has vibrant, living eyes.
It seems now she has 12 Steps for helping people be compassionate towards themselves and then to extend this outwardly, to others. What has happened is still, I dare say, marginal. The charter has been adopted by many but still it sits at the bottom of the world's commitments. In fact, a recently sad and awkard moment came when a friend posted to her facebook a video clip of a man, crossing a street in Seattle. I remember when the fanfare came across the waves, Seattle had decided to be the first American city to adopt the charter. I thought that was great, and greeted it internally with a wait and see skeptcism. As the man in the video crosses the street, whittling a piece of wood he attracts the attention of a police officer. Within moments he is being followed and within brief moments after he is off camera shots are fired. The man was now dead. This in a city of compassion. The road to attainment, stretches far in the distance. Farther and farther it seems, depending on what I see in the news stream.
For another example I hear of an earthquake of decent magnitude, that has struck in the part of earth we call, Pakistan. The good news, I sigh, is that it didn't hit in a centralized human location. It hit in between our populated places, which considering our population, could be considered little short of a miracle. However, my mind again wanders. How callous and convenient to imagine that the increase in these disruptions (which we will accept here as happening and real despite any claims to the contrary) is somehow less real because it hurt fewer people than it could have. What happens to the birds, the rats and the trees is of consequence to us, whether we believe this collectively or not. I believe this steadfastly.
Words are bandied about right now. Words about changing and moving and transcending the moment. We as a group of people, living and breathing right now will continue to witness and when we can, be part of the change. Some days will seem dark and some days will seem light. Some of us will have enough to eat and many of us, not on Red Room, will not. Be sure, some of us here will also, not have enough of something. I heard a holy man say that creativity and compassion are born within each other, co-create each other. Compassion is creative. Creativity, unlike production, finds the next way to relate to another, to change a local problem, whether the locality is within us or within our sphere of reality. Being compassionate and creative is a challenge. I fail, as we all do, continually. I get worried and I lose my sense of purpose and when I do I notice it in my writing. My characters speak in trite ways, my poetry flails.
Some people these days speak, quite mistakenly of blood libel. Others extol compassion while doing precious little to dismantle the military-prison-agricultural behemoth. It's not their role alone to lead us down paths of their own machinations whether they be well intentioned or pathetically ego driven. History made our problems and we are history too, now, as it is unfolding. No religion, no country, no tribe lasts forever, so when considering legacy we need to be active, free, and open to expressing compassion. We need to listen to our words as action, and understand their impact. We need to get off the need for success and to have our posts be "heard." We need to make good work and listen to others, because this must be the new age of expanded dialogue.
Thanks for listening...I won't be back for a few days.