The last few weeks have been full of bad news, so much so that events in San Bernadino, while distressing, seem less shocking than they would have a decade ago. And while I don’t know any of the people whose lives have been uprooted by recent violence that made the news cycle, there have been less noticeable tragedies among my circle of friends, the sort of everyday nightmares that too often pass mostly unobserved.
I say ‘mostly,’ because I’ve witnessed an outpouring of love and concern, gifts of money and time and compassion in some of the darkest hours the human mind can comprehend. And while I wish my friends weren’t struggling, I’m also grateful that their pain has not gone unnoticed. We’re all part of a pretty amazing community of creative people, and that energy pours out at the right moment.
Whether it’s boosting a project or helping a new mom, covering moving expenses or sharing experience so someone can better navigate the storms we’ve passed through, there’s a world of generosity out there to counter the truly horrific challenges our society faces.
Friendship gets stuff done.
Tuesday’s post about kindness grew out of a conversation I had at Readercon in 2014, with a friend I’d known online for years. We took a long walk and talked about life, our goals as writers, moms, and human beings. That time spent with her at the convention, the first chance we’d had to talk face to face, is also a gift.
In a few months, I’ll have a poem in Mythic Delirium. That one was inspired by pictures and photos a couple of friends posted on social media. At a time when I found myself discouraged and struggling to write, they inspired me. (A lot of writing has to be done alone, slogging through the word forests, but I’d bet any writer you talk to will tell you we couldn’t get through on our own. Those of us who are lucky find a community of kindred spirits and dreamers who sustain us through the difficult times and celebrate with us when the good news comes in.)
There have been other times, too, when friends have saved me. Living with chronic depression means choosing to fight for my life every day. Some days it’s fairly easy, and other days it’s not. On those other days, being able to talk with the people who understand has sometimes made the difference between life and death. There are letters and texts I’ll save for as long as I can, because they’re like arteries running between souls, carrying life and hope.
I’m posting this late, I know. Sorry about that, but I had to do something for a friend.