Monday, 25 July 2011

Write-a-Thon Week #5 Catch-up

Day #35 Progress: in, well, progress
Objective: 20,115/30,000

It’s been an interesting week, one of amazing productivity and despair, of hope and numbness. At one end of the spectrum my quest for a perfect writing spot seems to have come to an end, on the other I’ve been assailed by the kind of disillusionment that makes you quake in your artistoid boots, shrug and wonder: what’s the point? It’s not like you need me to offer a multitude of platitudes on recent events, partly because everybody and their cat have preceded me, and partly because when I say that there are no words, I mean exactly what I inscribe on the tin.

The only thing I shall say is, I have remembered what the point is, what since my earliest memory it has always been. Asimov once said, ‘If the doctor told me I had six months to live, I’d type a little faster’; and at times when the ugliness of the world seems to concentrate and offer mankind a similar prognosis, it is only sensible to adopt a parallel approach. I could sit here, hands in my lap, still, silent, defeated. I could choose to shun the sanctuary of creativity that has been served me on a silver plate, mute the sound on the ghosts in the walls, retreat in my own head never to come out.

But I won’t. I won’t turn away from my trade, pocket my pen, kennel my keys. I am reminded of something I wrote all the way back in Chapter 5 – a passage I won’t quote out of context (lest it be misunderstood for the call to arms that it is not) but which, long story short, harped on about the power of words to reflect and inspire change. A tricky topic; there are those who will argue that imaginative fiction, being escapist, renounces its ability to say anything important about reality, issues, people. Yet Le Guin and Tolkien helped shape this idealist. My personal brand of ethics owes as much to the sparse paragraphs of Fredric Brown’s Sentry as it does to all 1,500+ pages of Les Misérables.

I may well not be one of those masters. It really is not my place to judge. But it is my place to write, like a fevered mad person, like every sentence might be the last I ever commit to paper, like I believe that words conjured out of thin air can make a difference. And believe it I do, with a strength of conviction which may be shaken, but never broken. As long as I have eyes and ears to perceive the beauty and kindness I know humanity is capable of, I will be awed by the world, and moved to describe it through the lens of my work, distortive but not so as you’d notice. Burn out mine eyes and lop off my ears, I’ll only type faster, with blood streaming down my neck and the smile of one with a purpose.

You may say I’m a dreamer.

Please do.

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