Not the Usual Writing Lesson
By Annette Rey
What do I want to say? Will I tell you things you don’t want to hear?
There are so many conflicts in me and in the world. Like everyone else, I have goals in my life I want to fulfill, achievements I want to complete. So when I get a moment to pursue a dream, like writing something worthwhile to affect someone in a positive way, my mind goes below surface thinking, into that secret place writers find material to put on a page. The problem is, that place holds a lot of other information that is disturbing, and those facts sometimes derail my original writing targets.
In that secret place within my brain, I am reminded of serious problems in the world, and my small desire to write a blog post, an amazing story, and The Great American Novel, pales against my bulging memory bank of world tragedies.
My blog post idea conflicts with thoughts of men from foreign countries traveling to Taiwan to have sexual contact in squalid metal huts with four year old little girls. The desperate innocents know a few English words, “lick, lick”, and they perform for the powerful monsters for an ice cream cone. Yeah, I say to myself, my blog post has importance.
I’m looking for a lucrative writing contest to enter, and my brain convulses the word – Syria. Cities have been bombed – does it matter by whom? – and ten million people have been displaced, and a million have been blasted into splattered flesh on tons of broken stone buildings, once their abodes, and babies and pets and lifestyles have been blown into nonexistence. How would I feel if my neighborhood and family and livelihood was literally gone? What terror would paralyze me if I looked to the sky and saw tumbling barrel bombs descending, in dark contrast against a placid-blue background, hurtling to an area near where I stood? And what would I become after living in that environment for the last ten years? Yeah. That writing contest I seek to win…yeah, that’s a really important goal.
I use my mind to create characters that have no meaning in reality. That effort can’t combat the daily destruction of irreplaceable wild places on Earth. Machines scrape every scrap of life from verdant forests, turning the vision that once soothed the spirit and housed and fed so many animals, to a sorrowful-brown as far as tear-filled eyes can see. Not even a worm survives, the relentless machines gouge the glorious face of the Earth; they reshape the landscape; they kill. And armed men protect The Last Rhino because unconscionable humans seek to eliminate him. Human selfishness runs bottomless-deep.
And I regretfully and fearfully know I am a human, too. All of us commit internal kills with our unkind acts, with our unwarranted cruel judgments against other people. Point in fact: a small and unexpected thing happened to me today. Total strangers argued against me, shook their heads at me, treated me like I am stupid when I needed to enter a grocery store by the exit door. I had reason for doing so; my groceries were beside that door inside. I thought I was going to pick up just a few items and discovered I needed a cart, requiring me to go outside for one. I did not block their way. I intended to let them pass outside before I entered. Yet, their impatience and a self-given sense of superiority and their own insecurities spawned aggression within them in an effort to temporarily release them from their shortcomings, to make them feel better about themselves, to target someone they strove to elevate themselves above. I said this was unexpected to me, but not entirely. It was only unexpected in that moment, as this human behavior does not take me by surprise.
Your closest love can take your life. Poisoning, violence, attempted subtle attacks as in the case of an obese husband who waited for his wife to turn to her stomach to sleep. He rolled his 1/5th ton body on top of her, pressing her face into the bedding, crushing her lungs from inflating, preventing her thin arms from pushing herself from beneath him. He pleaded unintended, accidental death. Humans don’t like to take responsibility. Humans have been blaming anyone but themselves since equally-guilty Adam in the Garden who said to God Himself, “It was that woman you gave me.”
To be human is a deadly proposition…and I desire to write an imagined story – such not a big deal.
What can I do to combat these evils? What can you do?
Focus on living a balanced life. Work and love unselfishly. Contribute goodwill to the lives of others. Be an encourager, not a critic. Be ever mindful that you have the power of choice over your responses and reactions in all circumstances of your life. At the risk of sounding trite…choose wisely.
May we learn before we hurt anyone else, in any way, anymore.