31 December 2012

The End is Near! (thank goodness)

Outside I hear the garbage truck hefting the dumpster up and over to empty our collective trash. It is Monday, after all. However, this time it is New Year's Eve--the final Monday of the year. And the garbage is being removed. We will be able to start fresh, filling the dumpster again, tomorrow.

Seems an appropriate metaphor for the way this year as ended.

Starting with so much promise (as usual, I suppose), 2012 rolled along pretty much as expected, as desired, as best as it could be for several months. Even the summer (complex schedule and all) went better than planned--due to my detailed planning, of course. I achieved a few things of smaller scale during the year. I had hopes for bigger things in the autumn, and more rolling into winter and the holiday season.

For example, I relaunched my literary fiction novel AFTER ILIUM as an ebook for Kindle through my new publisher, Myrddin Publishing Group. I'm now working to make the print edition available. At the start of December, I pushed out my latest baby, the first volume of my science-fiction trilogy THE DREAM LAND also as an ebook for Kindle. Now I'm all set to also get a print edition out into the cruel, cruel world. (Thanks for your support, dear readers!)

Then, quickly on the heels of my launch, came the tragedies that deflated the world. Shootings in shopping malls! Shootings in elementary schools! Brutal rapes in India! People being shoved in front of subway trains! Plus whatever local crimes and atrocities each of us heard about or, pray not, experienced directly or even second-hand. Isn't this is the season of good will to men? (meaning mankind, a.k.a. humanity, all of us homo sapiens inhabiting this spherical bookshelf). What is going on?

I tried to avoid news reports yet, like so many of my fellow living beings, we could not turn away. Evil attracts our attention. We want to know why something happens. There must be reasons, motivations, flaws we never noticed, or simply the devil at work. And why did God not prevent these acts? Nobody knows. Why this season? Mayan Apocalypse? Nothing bad seemed to happen, no acts perpetrated by anyone fearing the end of the world by solar flare or pole shift, eager to get out ahead of the crowd. No, nothing that would make sense. Just random atrocities.

On this last day of the year, I find myself still holding my breath, still shaking a little as images flash through my mind's eye. In some moments they seem like dreams--nightmares, really. In others, the reality sits on my eyelids and dares me to look. As a writer--like all artists, I suppose--I sit on a fence, keeping a delicate balance, awaiting the Muse, who is subject to my mood, influenced by events happening around me. I am blessed with the strange ability to visit other worlds, other realities, and to create the same for others to visit. It is also a curse: the painful urge to push out the story while events around me threaten to claw away my creation and my ability to create.

And yet I can, if I work very hard to fold myself inward and light a candle to all those who have passed, then I, too, may be able to run away to a fantasy world, even if it looks the same as some contemporary neighborhood with ordinary people going about their business--yes, run away and hide, pretend that the world isn't so bad, and that more good has been done and will always be done than those few acts of evil.

May you all be blessed with as much goodness as you can carry, and may you also find an appropriate-sized cart to carry whatever overflows in 2013!

(C) Copyright 2010-2012 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.

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