Archive for April 4th, 2020

“The Americans have no sense of doom, none whatever. They do not recognize doom when they see it.”

James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

At the bottom of the moods swings that occupy my waking days and dreaming nights as of late. In the studio at 5:30 this morning, a Tom Waits song playing with huge clunking beats and his coarse, smoke burnt voice yelling over it all, And the earth died screaming/While I lay dreaming

Shuffling through things, trying to find something to hold on to and I come across this little painting, one that I quickly did years ago for my eyes only. Never meant to be shared, just a private reminder to myself of those days when the dark crows of doom have flown around my door. Meant to keep me aware of the signs that appear when these crows are coming back, to remind me of the immense fatigue and sense of doom they bring with them so that I might be able to stay clear of them this time.

To avoid hopelessness.

But sometimes hopelessness cannot be avoided.

If you have been at this point, you know there are only two outcomes:  to succumb to the doom or fight. You realize that hope, at that point, has become your enemy, a distraction that weakens your resolve and keeps you from being fully engaged in the battle.

Hope is a tool used by agents of doom, to tyrants and despots who tie themselves to religions that keep the masses passive with promises in lives after this one on earth. Hope makes you look forward when you need to be only in the here and now. Hope makes you sloppy and inattentive, willing to surrender to nearly the same terms and conditions that have brought you to this point.

Hope is a promise unfulfilled, a wish without action.

No, in times of doom, hopelessness is your greatest ally.

Hopelessness demands action.

Hopelessness is the greatest agent of change.

Hopelessness is fearless, with nothing left to lose.

I wasn’t planning on writing this this morning. God, I want to be cheery and optimistic and, dare I say, hopeful. I have always preached hope on this blog but that was in times when I thought the future was still a bright sky, not a dark and foreboding one like the one I see now, where the storm clouds have been amassing for the last four years. I’ve watched them gather but hope made me think it would somehow resolve without me engaging, that the sky would brighten of its own accord.

But I was wrong to trust hope. I can’t turn to hope this morning.

No, I am looking to hopelessness as my savior. I’ve have sometimes visited that abject blackness down where hopelessness dwells and it has always sent me back upwards. It has invariably set me in action and stiffened my resolve. It has made me realize that this life is a precious thing that is worth fighting for, against all hope.

Against all hope. I never thought about that term before, though I have used it on more than one occasion. I think we are at that point, where we must struggle against all hope with hopelessness as our great ally.

So, for the time being, I am setting hope aside. Oh, I’ll hope you’re doing well and staying safe because I want us all to have a brighter future at some point soon. But I will not depend on hope or trust that it will bring that desired future.

Only hopelessness can do that.

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