I’ve been in something of a rut, at least creatively, for a while now. Don’t get me wrong, this is not some ‘writers’ block’ thing, (I don’t believe in writers’ block). It’s more that I’ve been drifting, trying to work out, from a more business-minded perspective, the best way forward. I’ve been tinkering with things, planning projects and I’ve been doing some other non-storytelling things which I’ve found to be really kinda refreshing.
Then the 2016 Election happened. And it was less that Trump won (though this seems more and more questionable on a daily basis…. save the arguments, this is not about that) and more what”s happened as a result. I was equally sideswiped after the results of the Brexit Referendum (again, save the arguments, not about THAT either) and what it revealed about the society I’d grown-up in and come from.
There’s an awful lot of darkness and anger and hate swirling around. In both my country of origin and my adopted home, there has been not so much an upsurge in hate and intolerance, but rather those vile and ignorant sentiments have been allowed…. and in some cases encouraged to come to the fore. Ideas that have, for the last fifty plus years, been gradually and deservedly squashed and removed from polite, nay acceptable conversation, are suddenly broadcast far and wide.
And it was these two events that hammered me hardest of all.
What’s the point of what I do, as a storyteller, when faced with such vitriolic rage. Isn’t what I do, as a storyteller, ineffective…. futile in contrast with what NEEDS to happen to rein in such willful ignorance and intolerance?
Compounding this, I know many of my creative colleagues have had similar thoughts. Friends I would’ve called on for advice, support and encouragement, have had nothing to offer; feeling as frustrated, hopeless and maybe even as scared as I felt.
So what to do?
Hunker down and attempt to weather the coming storm?
It’s something I’ve seriously pondered for the past month or so.
And I think I’ve reached a decision point.
What the storyteller does IS important (of course, you’d expect me to say that). The storyteller is always on the frontline when facing darkness and fear. The storyteller sends a heroine against the gods. The storyteller sends the hero on a quest. The storyteller builds the monsters and demons and darkness. Creates a world that would crush the courage of the strongest warrior. Creates a universe that would sap the will of the most brilliant mind. And against such odds, the die is cast. Lone quester, band of outcasts, fellowship of the defiant, against insurmountable odds.
The storyteller guides their heroes into the darkness and emboldens them with the one thing no evil can take or ever fully destroy. Hope.
The beacon of hope in the darkest of times, no matter how fictional, is a seed that will grow and bloom into the power to throw back and ultimately defeat the darkest of foes…. even crossing the boundaries between fictional and real worlds.
So in this time of ominous darkness, I will do what I do. I will tell stories. I will create characters who might well be the sole point of light in an oppressive darkness.
I will give hope. I will give light.
I will be the light. The defiant beacon around which others will congregate, draw strength, draw fight and draw hope from.
And I encourage all my colleagues to do the same.
We will blaze back at the darkness.