We live in a misshapen world. We believe, sullenly, forlornly, that evil triumphs. We cry ourselves to sleep about the plight of others.
But, as Max Ehrmann wrote in Desiderata: "Everywhere life is full of heroism."
We are saddened by deaths a world away but seem to miss the beauty that surrounds us.
A day has yet to go by when I cannot cite an act of kindness or a jewel of human beauty. The glitter of soul in a friend's eyes — that wink of magic and serenity that suffuses the world with wonder. The simple touch of a loved one: gentle on the shoulder or caressing the face with wealth.
We are the poorer when we enter the Alph in despair instead of joy. Perhaps we can reconnect to that innocence we enjoyed; the innocence of silence: of a world not crazy with ambiguity rather one rich in its simplicity.
We creep along the borders of ourselves, gingerly avoiding that me in you. Is it so painful to be human? Were those shipwrecked Iranians, Iraqis and Kurds thinking of the rest of the world when they crashed into the shore of New Zealand's Christmas Island, cut by the unforgiving rocks? Their pain is their own; their futures in their hands.
Dylan Thomas refused "to mourn the death by fire of a child in London." To mourn that child would be to undermine her humanity. Death shall have no dominion nor shall pain reign, unless we capitulate to the moment.
Think big thoughts: big, warm, fuzzy thoughts. About peace, about joy, about the happiness of others. The rest follows.
Many people I know are anxious, depressed — and hateful. Not maliciously hateful, but neglectfully hateful. They see others as weak or confounded by life. It is important to be big about oneself, to write oneself larger than 'the ordinary', but not at the expense of others — who are also writ large.
Hate is unhelpful. It clouds the soul, cloaks the soul.
Last night a great friend arrived to sing and cry with me. We laughed on wings. We listened to Ginsberg, Bukowski, Cohen — jealously: that greatness of expression beyond our meagre means. We wrote in our heads and on tablets of paper but we could not compare.
We howled, talked of whores and poems and taking Manhattan and Berlin. It is the way writers are — they have no choice but to embrace.
When the genie offered us three wishes, we spent a millisecond at the chore — then carried on as if genies don't exist. We create the magic — not thieves of the soul who live locked in gold-gilt lanterns.
We are all entering the Alph to finish our unfinished dreams.
This time of year, many will reacquaint themselves with light-footed laughter, amity and conviviality.
That's the spirit.
Joy to the world!