The shooting at Sandyhook, while stunning, is of course not new to America or the world. From the Aurora shooting, to Columbine, to Pol Pot, to Hitler and Stalin, humans have been doing this to one another off and on throughout history. In many ways, writing, and art in general, is a response to life’s worst drama – either as an attempt to make sense of it, or to escape it. I’m all in favor of wanting to escape it. All murder, from the singular to the genocidal, is a form of madness, either temporary or sustained. The murderer perceives a threat where one does not exist and acts upon this illusion. What we see makes no sense to us, for we are not living within his fantasy. Events like Sandyhook can become an endless rabbit hole for our psyche, as we try to solve that which is unsolvable, try to fix what does not even exist.
And when I say fix, I do mean gun control or arming teachers, I mean fix the human capacity for madness. This cannot be fixed, for it is a product of our freewill. But I also do not believe in fearing it. I write often about the relationship between writing and freewill in this space because it is writing that has taught me to appreciate the power and the responsibility of my freewill. We are free to think absolutely anything, no matter how horrendous, and we are free to act upon those thoughts. This is what we are.
Which is why I find writing one the best antidotes to events like Sandyhook. I cannot bring the dead back to life, I cannot reverse time and talk the young man out of doing what he did, but I can go within myself, in the safety and solitude of my desk, to that place where fear and reality both exist beside one another. I can go within myself and know once again what it feels like to choose one over the other. It is a choice I must make every waking moment of my life.
This is my only answer. The only answer to madness is reality, which is actually love. We can never have too much of it. As we choose it, and choose it, and choose it, in our work, in our relationships, in our very thoughts, we offer a beacon to those, including ourselves, who have temporarily forgotten what they are.
Remember to catch Bill every Tuesday at 2:00 PM PST/5:00 EST on his live Blogtalk Radio program Author2Author!
You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com