How has history impacted your work? Has it slipped into your created worlds? Has it inspired the people who inhabit them? If we fall too deeply down this well of thought it becomes impossible to separate the influences of history from our work. The stories of the past whisper in all our stories.
A couple weeks ago in an exercise at a writing retreat I wrote these lines in a poem about happiness:
I can see in all directions
confident in now and then and later
Yesterday I attended the installation at Fort York in Toronto called The Encampment. The contrast between the tents representing 1812 and the dramatic high-rises of 2012 in the backdrop was fascinating.
I started thinking about time and place, about people now and then, about the next two hundred years, about conflict among groups of people, about the harmonies among various generations. Time ceased to be linear. For a moment I saw the fine threads that weave 1812 and 2012 and 2212 in the same tapestry.
Who are the gatekeepers of 2012? Where is the power? Who are the soldiers fighting for our freedom? What is our safe house, our fort, our stronghold against the enemy? Who is the enemy? Who are the innocents?
Although today’s wars are fought away from home, what battles are going on beneath the complex realities of 2012 at home in our communities? Which threads do we need to protect with our lives?
How can we as writers use words to change the human story?