Living takes courage.
Even writing a blog takes some courage. Will anyone read it? Does it matter what I think about this book or that? Is this a good use of time?
Ah … time, that elusive quality of being. There is never enough it seems. We wish for more of it or sometimes less; it moves unbearably slowly, drags us down with its weighty refusals. Time and comparing ourselves with others. Those twin pressures can sometimes feel paralysing.
This much I know. To give air time to books encourages authors – and to encourage authors is to encourage literacy and education. To encourage any art form – as opposed to the mechanisms of publication – is to create value towards a more egalitarian way of being. It is to encourage dialogue. When we take the decision to write, or paint or draw or dance, whether we are recognised or not, paid or not, we take a stand for culture and for education. And it is these things – rather than politics or economics – that are the bedrock of peaceful societies.
All we can really decide as Gandalf said to Frodo in the LOTR trilogy, is what to do with the time allotted to us.
Time is that great unknown. We are all going to run out of it someday but until that moment comes we want to use our time in the best, most creative way. What that creative way is will be different for everyone but encouraging someone – the most creative of all acts – is something everyone can do even if we are not the next Ishiguro or the next Damien Hirst.
One thing that everyone on this planet has in common is our DNA – and our desire for peace. Our hope. But it seems we can’t agree on how to get to that place. An essential part of any peace process has always been dialogue – and writing is part of a dialogue.
A Buddhist philosopher says a candle can light up a place that has been dark for thousands of years. The setting of the sun promises a bright tomorrow.
Nothing is easy, but from this moment on is always an opportunity for change. Even things which seem entrenched can be changed and sometimes opportunities come in disguise. It took the pandemic only a few weeks to dismantle systems that previously were thought inviolable. Far from being the individual being powerless, we discovered a new term ‘key workers’ and learned that individual actions count for everything.
Wildflowers are neither vain nor haughty, neither jealous nor servile. They neither envy other flowers nor belittle them … they take pride in their individuality, knowing that each is a flower with a bloom like no other.Daisaku Ikeda