Creating light in the darkness


I’ve been having trouble sleeping recently–both falling asleep and going back to sleep if I wake up during the night. There’s a lot I’m excited about creatively that’s keeping me up as well as the fear and self-doubt that go along with these projects. There’s anxiety, of course, my faithful companion, and a more general worrying about the world–all the anger and sadness that need someplace to go.

What the hell is happening with the world? How am I supposed to be okay in it? Am I doing anything that matters?

It’s easy for me to feel selfish. I spend my days pursuing my creative passions without having to worry about paying the bills. It’s a charmed life, and one I often resent myself for. I had high hopes in my younger days about changing things for the better. Maybe I still can.

Other artists inspire me. I attended Java Monkey Speaks, a poetry open mic, this past weekend to support my awesome friend Valerie, who was the feature performer. Another poet, whose name was Alan Sugar I believe, said something that comforted me when he took the stage. I can’t remember the exact quote, which was beautifully worded, but here’s the gist: when an artist wakes up in darkness, she can combat fear by creating light.

What an amazing gift–the ability to create light in darkness.

This, in turn, reminded me of a poem I read in Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer called “Five Men” by Zbigniew Herbert. In it, the poet questions why he’s been writing “unimportant poems on flowers” in light of witnessing men executed by a firing squad. It’s worth a full read so I won’t spoil the ending. Check it out.