Hello, dear wordsmiths. How are you just now?
How are you coping with this time of war, plague, natural disasters, and the deep disturbance many people are cast into by all the stress? How are those around you managing? Horror and anxiety are natural reactions. We need, more than ever, to be kind to ourselves and each other.
I see that we at P&SU are encouraging each other, in our writings and comments, to keep our spirits up despite the terrible things we confront daily. That is certainly preferable to sinking into despair – which only makes everything worse, and is seldom useful.
However, I’ve recently been reminded of the need for at least some members of the human race to keep watch – to bear witness to what is happening, and to the ways in which these events affect people. And I realised that poets and storytellers are among those who bear witness. I’d go so far as to say it’s one of our functions.
Keeping watch also means watching over. Our writing is a way we can do that, too: documenting human experience, to both acknowledge it and learn from it, can be one way of caring for each other, both individually and as a race.
We can do it by commentary on specific times and events. Or we can even do it in writing personal stuff about our own experiences and reactions – because each of us is a part of humanity, and expresses what it is to be human.
We speak as ourselves, each particular individual, and also as plural voices making up a huge collective.
And what do we need to record to make this a human witnessing? Not only the events and experiences, not only our thoughts about them – but above all, I think, our feelings. They can be the hardest things to describe. Sometimes all we seem capable of is a wordless cry. Nevertheless, we can and shall find the words – it’s what we do.
Do we think there will be people – or even other intelligent beings – who in the future will want and need the record of this witnessing? We can’t know. Things look dire, but so they have in past centuries and here we still are, we and the planet. Nothing’s impossible.
How can I be sure that my particular words, of all those being written, will last to reach others in that hypothetical future? I can’t. (I could well suppose it unlikely.)
I think we need to carry on as if, in case – which includes, of course, everything that might help bring about survival: survival with lessons learned, survival and development.
Anyway, regardless of our unknown future, we have the here and now. This matters too. Indeed it’s all that we, who are here now, actually have. Let’s not waste it. Let's raise our voices!
Your prompt for this week (if you would like one) is to bear witness to these times we are living in, and how it feels to be living in them. How does it affect you, and/or how do you observe it affecting others?
Or, you may share anything else you like, on any topic, prose or verse, old or new.
One entry per person, please; prose to be no more than 369 words (excluding title).
Link, below, to your post, say hello (and more if you wish) here, and please encourage others by reading and commenting on their posts.
And, speaking of human kindness ...
Next week Magaly will invite you to write poetry or prose inspired by something heartening and unselfish a stranger did for you or for someone else.
Image of man holding sign by Matt Collam on Unsplash.