All the Love you do not see
On writing with heart and hope
The words I do not recognize are the ones my heart wrote, so feverish with hope every line feels like a hallucination.
And yet, these moments happened and still happen, everything is true. Suddenly, life is poetry and joy opens up portal into new universes that leave you speechless. Unless you surrender to it, you cannot experience awe; that surrender is not verbal. Transcription takes place well after the facts and always feels like an unreliable witness account.
Finding yourself writing love letters to life as a chronic depressive freelancer on the verge of financial collapse is weird but I’m here for it. Against the stark backdrop of death and destruction, life is more beautiful than ever, and I am, dare I say it, content.
There is so much gentleness in the generosity of acceptance, it frees up mental bandwidth for everything else. The moment is as impermanent as life. To not celebrate it would be an affront to hope, the same hope that has seen me through everything so far.
I shouldn’t be here anymore but I am. Despair has shades and nuances, hope is blinding, and I have been dazed and confused since I set aside the past and embraced the present almost two years ago.
Hope is the blank page beckoning your heart to release its findings.
So others might benefit from them.
What is hope but another name for our love of life, the willingness to hang on a while longer to find out what happens next?
Love is bound together in language(s). When writing is vocation, profession, and coping mechanism, curiosity and intuition are often one and the same. It doesn’t always look rational to those who don’t share the same compulsion, especially in a capitalistic culture.
Many of us have come to believe everything we do needs to be monetized otherwise it isn’t worth doing. As a result, we only take calculated creative risks that have all but killed originality and spontaneity. We lead dull lives consuming formulaic content about how terrible humans are as a species and as individuals.
We also produce more of the same until the whole farce turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. One day, we realize we’re not only terrible but also miserable. And we’ve become addicted to the mediocrity of our lowest common denominator culture, quoting fictional TV characters with the same reverence as philosophers.
But language is still art, it never stopped being art, and it will continue to be art. Look at the poets! Language is the most accessible form of art there is and material is free.
Are you fortunate enough to have an online presence?
Behold the internet, your gallery, your stage, your concert hall! When everything is in flux, storytelling is how we have always made sense of the world, long before we could write.
And humans want to be seen, there’s immense power in that innate desire to communicate.
What happens when our stories come from a place of radical, unconditional love?
The world is a vision, it runs on hope and it is breathtakingly beautiful, always against all odds. As the saying goes, there’s beauty in everything but not everyone can see it. Do not make the mistake of assuming your words have no value: Every big change starts with a small idea resonating with at least one other person the words you or they wrote connected you with.
That connection is a spark that can set the darkness alight.
You end up going on adventures you never imagined possible and life opens up in extraordinary ways. If your brain isn’t wired for magic, it can be unsettling to discover words have so much power.
Much more than you knew.
That power is clandestine, invisible, implied.
Only the heart can teach you how to write between the lines. It was one thing to commit to rebuilding a life word by word as I did in the summer of 2018. It is quite another to end up working with words that come from a love of life so deep it stuns you because, perhaps, you’ve never been there before.
It’s that new country you had never even heard of and it is where you spend most days now, in this peculiar plenitude that distracts you from absolutely everything else.
The work I do brings me immense joy even though I am expected to apologize for it in a culture that equals worth with a dollar figure. No, the financials still do not add up, not yet, but joy abounds.
And this joy is never not surprising.
The words I write bring me clarity, the words I edit or translate are always an invitation to step into another dimension. I spend my days on a cosmic space-hopper, bouncing from wow to wow. Sometimes I graze my knees, other times I face-plant but my enthusiasm hasn’t deflated yet and I doubt it ever will.
Vocation, you know?
Like most, I am exhausted but writing through these uncertain times has provided both support and solace by rekindling the hope clickbait had killed. Everywhere you look, it’s all doom and gloom for clicks and bucks, fostering an atmosphere as suffocating as it is unsustainable.
How about a gentler, kinder, and brighter future for all?
Why let words bury you alive when they can help you rise above all that ails, hinders, or limits you? When all you do is churn out shockers about shame, humiliation, and lack, sooner or later language may betray or trap you. Regardless of what image you project, if it doesn’t align with reality, appearances will eventually fall away. In that sense, the pandemic is one great big human reveal.
Words can redeem as much as they can condemn, they can enlighten as much as they can obfuscate, they can soothe as much as they can outrage.
So what if you explored what could be instead of what was?
Whatever is going on with you right now, your imagination can take you wherever you need to go. But if you haven’t used it for a while, it may be a bit rusty and hungry. Feed it a varied, stimulating diet and watch it thrive whenever it is deeply engaged in something.
Imagine out loud, gather evidence until a brighter picture appears, be it only within the confines of your cranium.
Life, as far as we can tell, is completely indifferent to anyone’s existence.
It means we all get to write our own script.
Rare is the script with just the one protagonist though, unless it is Cast Away.
In every life, there are main characters, supporting ones, and background actors playing a part and performing a role. You are, of course, the hero even though you might find it more lucrative to cast yourself as the villain. There’s a lot of power and many business opportunities in being that one person everyone loves to hate.
Like Donald Trump.
Life isn’t an abstract though, it is you and those around you, pixels and data packets, flesh and bone. We humans are social animals who understand ourselves in relation to others and, now more than ever, writing is how we do that. For example, who still uses their smartphone to have a conversation that does not systematically have a text or video component?
The potential to create something far better than the sum of our pains is enormous. Sure, we’re all taking a beating every day with the pandemic but we’re leaning on words and the internet to deal with it with great ingenuity.
Beyond this obscene tug-of-war between greed and solidarity using our hearts as the rope, there is light peeking through the cracks of the fortress of despair.
All around the world across the internet, we are writing up our own hope.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor now based in the Netherlands. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.