Shanna Compton


“Writing is an act of hope. However gloomy the content of the writing may be, the mere act of putting pen to paper is an act of communication; it presupposes a future reader, and thus a future.”

Margaret Atwood

I guess I would like that a little shorter, to be more quotable: 

Writing is an act of hope. [...I]t presupposes a future reader, and thus a future.

I do feel as though I am presupposing a future, actively or willfully, a little bit magically. And that does feel hopeful, in the face of the sometimes threatening-to-overwhelm concern that there may not be a long one. This isn't personal. In fact, I'd be much more hopeful if it were. Another great dissonance there: the ability (gift, really) to feel so excited, energetic, healthy, creative, in love amidst and despite the decay, willful destruction, greed, war, famine, disease, and "the 32[9]th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average." Absolutely there is friction between the personal and global there, and plenty of the guilt of the complicit scraping against the peace of, not innocence so what, feigned naiveté? I don't know how interesting any of that is to talk about. It's maybe as useful as signing petitions or  the hollow political displays of Facebook. Here are some signifying bumper stickers. I'm groping after another quotation I collected the other day about letting things in and shutting them out, and how both are essential, but I'm not remembering it right now. Is it wrong to indulge the hopefulness, to drift along under the shield of a put-on denial--denial isn't right--pretense? No, it's more like magical thinking than either. I don't know, and maybe I don't have the luxury of caring if it is wrong. It also seems wrong not to squeeze out whatever happiness I can, because how remarkable that I can! The four phases of the hazard cycle are: mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery. But all come after the disaster. So there are five phases to the cycle as I see it. It's certainly a lot easier to imagine and perhaps to deal with a single defined catastrophe than a gradual, decades-long, dispersed sort of wreckage. One book is all internal/external disaster (or decline/decay) and stages of recovery. The other I gave not one future, but three: a disaster (prologue future); the recovery of the "vulnerable community" with the simultaneous recovery of the central individual, though both recoveries are questionably complete or effective (here is the poem's future); and a preparedness/response (in the archivist's frame story, the third future) that sets them up for the next disaster (impending/presumed in frame story, sort of, so a tbd fourth future). Futures, rolling on into the beyond. And yes, that is supposed to be a happy ending.

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