“Hope is the dream of a waking man,” wrote Aristotle. Hope is an aspect of cognition unique to our species. That ability to see the positive in future events without any facts or experience to suggest that it will be so. Hope is the thin line that separates the optimist from the pessimist. It is the fragile wall between the dreamer and the realist.
I believe hope is our greatest asset. The mystical thing that gives us faith in our dreams, in the outcomes of our lives, and the well-spring of our courage to not only endure, but to persevere.
But Hope is not a strategy. It provides comfort and supplies the energy to carry on, but as Benjamin Franklin noted, “He that lives upon hope will die fasting.” Life is not fair, and its outcomes not ordained just because we wish it to be so. Hope without action is a dream that never comes true. For even the hope of winning the lottery requires one takes action…like buying a ticket.
My stories are filled with Hope, even in their innate darkness. It is my admiration for those who believe they can move their situation… or the world…to a positive outcome that drives my desire to examine characters. For me Hope in Action is called Courage.
But I’ve never reveled in the the soberness of the situations that require hope. I believe today, for good or bad, is tomorrow’s past and my next step is so much more important than my last step. I also believe that the internal “spirit” that fuels positive beliefs also fuels our humor. Laughter and humor, that ability to make light of the serious or the dangerous, those things are Hope’s voice. So it is not uncommon for my characters to laugh or to find something funny in the darkest of situations—it’s not unlikely for me to do the same. Laughter is the victory cry that quiets the tears of despair.
Hope is a funny thing and it is an important thing. Hope is the fuel that feeds the action, that spawns our ability to keep going and to keep trying. I cannot separate that belief from my writing. It is engrained in me and therefore the essence of my written work.
If asked to define my work in a single phrase, it would be that every story is about Hope and Trying. Sometimes that is enough for the characters, but often it is not. Regardless of outcome, however, the characters that hope and try, earn my respect even when they fail. So do the people in the real world.
Categories: A to Z Blog Challenge