To the small, good places of a big bad world

Eiffel TowerThere is no such thing as world peace. Never was. It was a lie granted us from baby boomers who were looking to dress up the shitty prospects of this world into a “How To” for their greatest generation predecessors. If you’re not digging the word ‘lie’, what about metaphorical valuation, how’s that? Whatever you want to call it, it wasn’t real, it wasn’t something we could attain, like . . ever. I don’t believe those peeps led us astray purposely. Everyone was allowed an exuberant proclamation back in the sixties. Or anyone who was anyone. It was a decade which saw great gains and even greater losses. We reached the moon, but we lost many of the voices who had inspired the trip.

John Lennon survived the sixties, only to be taken from us a decade later, proof that hate doesn’t take a day off. I’m big on ‘what if’ scenarios, and so I’m always going to wonder what life- not simply music- would have felt like if Lennon hadn’t been stolen from us outside the Dakota that night. I couldn’t help wondering what he would have had to say about Paris. Would he have been able to fetch the right words for the wrong times, the way he did so often? I’d like to think he would have talked me into a better sounding way of dealing with the unthinkable. He would have been a voice, no doubt about it.

He would have had a lot to say about a ‘new normal’ that isn’t actually new at all. What happened in Paris is what’s been happening in too many parts of the world for too long a time. It’s not new to my parents. My mother grew up in a time when she lived in fear of Nazis storming her neighborhood in Rockaway, New York. My father barely made it out of Cuba before Castro’s guerillas began their final assault from the mountains. My children had just started elementary school when they were coloring pictures of airplanes crashing into buildings as a way of ‘processing’ their emotions. So, no . . there is nothing new about this hate filled place.

It’s Paris, it’s Spain, it’s New York and Boston and Oklahoma City. And it’s knowing that this isn’t the end of the horrors. The Pope talked about how World War 3 is happening right before our eyes, and I have to believe he’s onto something. The world, and the rules, have changed. Storming beaches and occupying countries ain’t gonna stop these scumbags. The macrostrategies of war have gone microsized, and winning is all about intel gathering and covert operations that rarely, if ever, see the light of day.

As a writer, I’m a big fucking mess of Jekyll and Hyde right now. I want these savages to get the Rick Grimes treatment and I want all those murdered innocents back. Mostly, I’ve borrowed from that line I wrote last week, because I found myself wanting the world to pack up its tent and get the fuck out of my face for a while.

And then I remember all those souls who don’t get to say shit like that.They don’t get the chance to bitch and moan, they don’t get the chance to make plans for tomorrow. Hate stole them away, and it occurs to me that if I accept that? Well . . . that would be so much worse than a beautiful sounding lie about world peace.

I think maybe, Lennon’s lie was a necessary one, because his songs were inspired from those small and good places of a world gone mad. He knew how to make sense of the senseless, how to keep promises the world just wants to throw away, and he knew what it meant.






19 thoughts on “To the small, good places of a big bad world

  1. Yes … world peace never has been. There’s always someone making a power play on someone else. Always someone wanting to impose themselves onto others … and I doubt if humans will ever figure it out.

  2. As always, you know what to say.
    I want to pack up and disappear, too. But, as you’ve said, we don’t have that luxury.
    Thank you the reminder in the beautiful words only you could write. Xo

  3. I still can’t wrap my own thoughts around this, but thank god for people like you who can. You remind me of Max Brooks:

    “[…]you don’t have to be Sun freakin Tzu to know that real fighting isn’t about killing or even hurting the other guy, it’s about scaring him enough to call it a day.”

    “Can you ever “solve” disease, unemployment, war, or any other societal herpes? Hell no. All you can hope for is to make them manageable enough to allow people to get on with their lives. That’s not cynicism, that’s maturity.”

    “This is the only time for high ideals because those ideals are all that we have. We aren’t just fighting for our physical survival, but for the survival of our civilization. We don’t have the luxury of old-world pillars. We don’t have a common heritage, we don’t have a millennia of history. All we have are the dreams and promises that bind us together. All we have…is what we want to be.”

    ― Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

    It’s a very very mad world, but we carry on the best we can.

    • As writers, we have the ability to write better endings, even if they never come to pass. I think it’s foolish to look at terrorism as having anything to do with winning or losing. We can’t win back the dead, and we have lost so much- so many innocent civilians, so many of our best and brightest who signed up to keep us safe and paid the ultimate price.

      I’m not saying we retreat, but the boots on the ground mentality in which we send in thousands of troops doesn’t work when you’re dealing with gangsters. I think it’s just a matter of doing what we’ve basically been doing, small operations led by a coalition, based on intel gathering.

      Bullets and war is a sexy plotline, but the reality of it sucks beyond words. As writers, we find the hope, and we run with it. Fast as we can, and for as long as we can. It’s what we’ve got.

  4. You hit me with the thought that others don’t have the opportunity to moan and groan about their situation. I got to thinking that the world would be a better place if we all had the luxury to bitch about what was bothering us. Might be the start of a worldwide goal. Nice job pilgrim

    • Going to NYC after the September 11th attacks really changed my entire way of looking at things. I spoke with so many people who could not get past the horrors of that day, and some of whom never did get past it. All these people wanted to do was find their own peace, and it struck me that as civilians, that’s all we can hope to attain.

        • John, I think it still applies. We’re ALL citizen soldiers in a manner of speaking, anymore. I think most of us are ready to go if really bad shit goes down when we’re on a plane, in a mall, etc. Personally? There will be no peaceful resolution for any scumbag that I have a chance to take out should he decide to do harm to me or mine. I search for peace in my writings, because I know that the world doesn’t have much time for such things.

  5. I don’t know — was there ever still an illusion that world peace was attainable after WWI? And then WWII kicked the world in the teeth. I don’t believe world peace is possible.

    On the other hand, I DO believe in striving for grace. And love.

    Friday night was soul crushing. Saturday I went out and bought some books for a couple of kids (and myself) and I made a donation to a food pantry. I smiled at everyone I saw. I tried to radiate as much love as possible. I tried to be a ripple.

    I don’t know if it helps the world at all, but it helps me cope.

    So does your writing. Don’t ever stop.

    • It WAS soul crushing. But you had the best answer to such hate, I love that you found the grace and love, because you are a ripple of the best this world has to offer.

      I won’t ever stop.

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