A Writer’s Responsibility…
To maintain that spark, that light of individuality even in the face of so much else, so much media. We exist today in a sea of media, the expression of thinking minds in all stages of development, engaged in all forms of expression. The force of the whole, the global mind. The baseline. The median. The mean. The middle of the statistical bell curve. I see it as a wave, a flood, a brown and fetid tide of mediocrity threatening every minute, every day to sweep me away with it.
Admonition To Myself…
Do not forget the great responsibility a life of public expression brings. You have the ability to lead people’s minds in various directions. You can either lead them toward stagnant, fetid pools—or something cleaner, clearer, fresher. Something new.
You literally can take another person, a reader, on a journey—out of themselves, out of their own heads and egos and self-created sufferings—into a more rarified place, where truth and beauty radiate like the sun. Do not forget this.
The Dulling Flood
The coast is harsh and jagged—a cutting place, though I am not cut. I am whole, and standing on a sanded cove both wet and hard, packed heavy by pounding surf. There are rocks further out into the sea, rock above and behind, walls of shear and sharp dripping with green moss slick with the ocean’s spray. I am a willing prisoner here, my feet are planted on the beach, set facing these waves by choice. It is a new place, a pure place, cleaned by wind and salt and sea. I inhale the air deeply, lungs filled with a cool and virgin light. Above me the clouds are singular, alive, roiling-turning grey and white, sweeping quickly across a sky I know is both lucid and blue.
A sound, a discontinuity and I turn and look out and to the north. A low but growing roar accompanies something vague, dark, distant. It approaches me enshrouded now in fog. A storm is coming, perhaps a wave, perhaps a different thing, sky and sea merged into one, into a thing somehow between the two. Looking out from my eden, I see it now and I know it for what it is. Though fast, it is dead. Though large and frightening, its power lies only in its collective mass, composed as it is of its myriad constituents. It is a dull thing, a grey thing, a cold thing, bland and dark. It is close. I dig my heels into the sand and await the inevitable collision. What else can I do? Swim out to meet it? Run? Should I dig a hole?
Just before it strikes me I shout at it an obscenity, a defiance. It hits, though I am surprised that I am not instantly swept away. It blocks the sky, the sun, my view of the crashing waves offshore. It blocks all light, all sound. It blocks feeling too. For it is comfortable—the temperature of an old person’s house. And though great, it is comprised solely, only of the insubstantial. There is little gravity here, little mass to each constituent. It is only by their myriad nature, by their numbers—millions, hundreds of millions, billions, that I worry. It is like the wind, and there is risk now that I am blown over. Blown over, I’d then be swept away.
I brace myself, sinking further-deeper into the earth and then comes a flash of fear that my heart feels before my head, a shutter-jump in my chest, audible as a gasp. There is real risk that I am lost to this, this torrent. The fear is the sudden realization that it will take you slowly, before you know that you’ve been taken. Something welling up from below, up from my center, through my back and up my arms, I clap my hands together in front of me, pressing them tight. The grey stuff explodes outward in reaction, billowing, roiling water-smoke. It flows around my wedge. The fear is gone, as quickly as it came. With arms out in front, standing tall and rooted, I known that I can remain. I will remain. Resolute, my feet are planted.
All about me the constituents begin to congregate, some just for a moment, looking toward me with open eyes. They stare, gaze briefly before being swept away again with the flood. Enough of them slow down, some stopping, that a clot forms in the torrent, a bubble with me at the center. The clot grows, expands, increases. It obstructs the flood and it is buoyant. I know that it is buoyant! With time, we will rise! Already the flood is slowed here as it is forced to move around us. More of its constituents are slowing, some are stopping. I have a vision that one day, soon, we will be large enough and light enough to float upward, reaching the surface of this dulling flood. One day we will ascend and surface, the clear sky above, the sun that we remember both bright and warm on our faces.
Will Burcher is a former police officer and current author of “The GAIAD,” a story of ancient secrets not quite forgotten and the positive power of global perspective. He lives and works in Colorado, USA.
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