It’s been a challenging week for a number of my friends and me–on two separate continents, there are marriages on the rocks; one of my friends is beginning the process of moving across the country; a neighbor just lost her father unexpectedly; and I had to set aside time for a minor surgical procedure. All in the midst of an already heavy work-load week for me with meetings both downtown and in Maryland. I was emotionally wrung out by Friday afternoon.
Which meant it was a great time to cuddle up with hubs and watch the final Agent Carter and the newest season’s first episode of Agents of Shield. Both of which made me wonder this weekend why ABC decided to cancel the former on such a cliffhanger, and how much of a commitment I want to make to the latter with some of the newest character developments. Having been in the writing (and improving my writing) process on a serious basis for almost six years now, I have less and less patience with cliffhangers. They strike me as a lazy way to try to trap readers and viewers into continuing with a story arc, when really the goal should be to have people so invested in the character(s) that fans return without that unnecessary prod.
We should be able to bring our curiosity to a story and have it rewarded. Our empathy should be engaged. And then I read an article in Psychology Today that reports American anti-intellectualism, while always a strong undercurrent, has become stronger in recent decades, as evidenced by fewer adults reading for pleasure, more obsession with entertainment, fashion, and other fads, and an increasing focus on mob rule. In an eerie parallel, another outlet reported on findings regarding reduced empathy in those who take NSAIDs. Given the almost automatic response to pain as reaching for palliatives of these kinds, and the number of people who suffer pain on a regular basis, there’s a scary intersection in these two bits of news for me. This is not about how schools are ridiculously overloading grade school students with academic make-work, this is about finding the patience and tenderness to sit with pain and darkness and discovering how it can transform us.
Strangely, an old post about George Lucas‘ (and many other, more luminous thinkers’) thoughts on the meaning of life popped up in my Twitter feed this week, too. As did this year’s commencement speech at Sweet Briar College. Those both reflected some of the discussion we had in my LEAD class earlier in the week. My conclusion then and now: To the extent that anything drives me, it’s the hope that I’m leaving the world a better place because of my existence in it. There’s bits of Lucas’ sense of interconnection (the “force”, if you will, that ties us all together) as well as Busque’s urging to embrace the Big Hairy Audacious Goals in that assessment, but what really resonates with me is the picture that floated across my Facebook stream that I’ve included in this week’s post: It does take time alone, surrounded by darkness, to find how we can best take flight. Hold the Light for others who are struggling.
For myself, that means I’m done drafting The Builders. Finally. I’ll be incorporating beta feedback this week before shipping it off for editing. Then I’ll be moving on to the final installment of my Red Slaves trilogy. The record-breaking streak of days with rain has meant my daily average number of steps has fallen off again, and the dogs are spending two days a week at Affectionate to make sure they don’t get too nutty in the house. That means KouKi is getting pretty good at agility, too. Hubs has been rehearsing heavily to prepare for opening for the Slambovians June 5th, so we’re all wrapped up in projects for the moment.
I still have goals to reach, and suggest you check out how my ROW80 buddies are doing with theirs, so I’ll be back again next week.