“When things are really dismal, you can laugh, or you can cave in completely.” ~ Margaret Atwood
Times are hard, but that’s not news, right? There is always something awful going on in the world and if we bury our heads in the sand then we do nothing to make it right again.
However, as much as being a participant in the world is important and vital and our birthright as human beings, there are times when it becomes too much.
We have to play that balancing game between being of use to the world, and watching out for our own health and wellbeing.
It’s been proven time and time again that taking time out, that unplugging, is good for us. It gives us the energy to keep moving forward, it allows us to process and absorb all we’ve learned, it enables us to lift up those around us with renewed strength.
I know there are times when that just isn’t possible. Some of us, myself included, make our livings online and, by necessity, have to struggle against the firehose stream of stuff that is the collective content we all continue to put out into the world.
But it really is okay to stop.
Stories can help us with that process. It can be short stories, or long stories, happy or sad, it doesn’t matter. We humans are storytelling creatures, we’re story reading creatures, but the quality and content of those stories is part of what forms the structure and energy of who we are.
Many people argue against what they like to call escapism. As with anything, moderation is key when we start talking about this type of thing. Drugs, alcohol, video games, movies, books, chocolate, all can be ingested as little or as much as we want. It’s no chore to get lost in the thing that is easy, and vices, legal or otherwise, are easy.
But we can find our way toward effortlessness, toward balance, toward being our better selves, when we find that which nurtures without overfilling.
For myself, writing and reading our two of the best ways to face the dark and dismal post-modern view of the world that threatens to overtake awe and wonder and all the good things about those stories that have come before.
So, this issue I lay down a challenge to you, dear reader.
I challenge you to sit and read these stories, to let them wash over you, to allow them to make you feel those things you’ve neglected to feel lately.
But do not overthink them. Do not pick them apart or compare them to other stories.
Let them make you cry or be awed or remember what it was like when you first fell in love with reading. Let them lift you up, so that you may find the strength to laugh.
And in those times you find yourself caving in completely to the darkness, let them be a beacon to guide you safely home.