Or, if you prefer continuity, "The Knot, Part Three."
I am torn by two similar but opposing views. Are we more deterred by the world around us? Or more deterred by the people who say we can't change the world around us and tell us to live in the parameters of what we see?
In a similar post this morning on Notes From Sea Level, I mentioned how refreshing it was to spend time with authors and journalists at the Bay Area literary festival Litquake. I found it refreshing because these artists were optimistic in the face of the world, innovative in the face of the world, instead of just showing readers and audiences how shitty the world is in new ways. For me, it was the difference between being stuck in a cave with a candle and matches and giving them a try vs. being stuck in a cave with candle and matches and being told you don't have enough oxygen for the flame. You'd have to test it, I suppose. You'd have to take the risk.
It's easy to believe in the lack of oxygen. My father did. My mother kept lighting candles.
My father was considered to be the "smart" one, by the way, and my mother the compassionate one.
Two nights a week I supply other writers with candles and matches and tell them that while I don't know the way out either, I'm happy to keep lighting candles with them. Writing on this inspiration that I received this week so gratefully, I thought about my recent relations with the Internet, our separation, our supposedly healthy distance. Did my mother develop a healthy distance from the gardens when she was frustrated? Not really. Sure, to keep with the metaphor, there is a burning of the candle at both ends I suppose, but she would have been lost without her "babies," as she called the little shoots pushing out of the ground. Her biggest mental deterioration was when she could no longer walk out to the gardens. The Internet, like her gardens, is my cave, and the damn naysayers are saying you'll never get out with a candle and matches.
I believed them until Litquake, and on Friday with my thoughts on the ineptitude of UPS. I spread my own version of "There's no oxygen, so get used to it" on the Internet. I fed off of the fact that others had the same problem. MORE. BAD. NEWS. Except this time, I contributed. No candles. Sitting in the dark, waiting for proof that there is oxygen, when, well, I'm breathing. Need oxygen for that, I would think.
I could perpetuate the bad news, because that's what the world is addicted to, that's what people would read, and since I can't seem to learn that, then people insist on telling me. But I'm thinking it would be SO MUCH HEALTHIER for me (and maybe the world at large?) to write something that would uplift me, in the face of the world. Using my smarts to find a compassionate way out of here. I can't change the cave, I don't know where the exit is, but I can refuse to believe that I can't say something hopeful myself, even if optimism isn't "smart." That's the best way for me to enjoy the cave exploration, and maybe give others light as well.