I recall reading somewhere that shortly after the 9/11 attacks Dick Cheney said of the United States, “We’re going to have to spend some time on the dark side now.” Whether this story is apocryphal or not, this seems like a doomed – though in many ways understandable – strategy, and for reasons far beyond mere religion and terrorism and geopolitical what-have-you. Though my survey of the human race remains incomplete, I am yet to meet a single person who is not drawn to the light. Of course, I have also met many people who, like myself, have lost track of that light. The mind is like a prism, after all, and it can bend that light with sharp thoughts. Distorted in this way the light can seem pretty but impractical. The world is a hard place and we need hard solutions, solutions we can touch and know, and if those solutions block the light, such is the price we pay for living in a hard world.
But all thoughts expire, while humans remain forever like moths drawn to that light. We are drawn to it so continuously we forget its practical applications, the same way we forget how practical breathing is. This is good news for writers. Your job as a writer is quite simple: shine your light as brightly possible. If you do not obscure that light with hard thoughts of publishing trends, or what other writers have written, or rejection letters, or advances, if you only shine your light as brightly as you can possibly shine it, you will be amazed how quickly humans called agents, publishers, and readers will be drawn it.
Meanwhile, there will always be a dark side, and it will always be called “reality.” Anyone can go there whenever they wish, as it is never more than a thought away. Do not fear anyone who claims to reside there. The light has not been extinguished simply because someone cannot see it. Rather, leave it burning brightly and know they will return home sooner or later.
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