Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hiding Our Treasures

Despite all the cartoons, I've never had a dog that actually buried things. Until now. I was out for a long stretch today and when I came back gave my dog Sophy a rawhide treat. She ran outside and came back in a couple of minutes later. No treat. I looked outside. No treat. I asked her where it was. Obediently she took me to the spot where she had buried it and when I asked her to, she dug it up and brought it back inside. I reassured her that she didn't have to bury treats any more because there would always be treats for her. She settled down to happily chew it then.

I found myself wondering how many of us do the same thing—hoarding talent or ideas or money or...whatever out of fear there won't be any when we want or need it/them? How many of us are afraid we—and what we care about—won't be safe?

I think that it's this kind of fear that lies behind the deep divisions in this country as we go to the polls to vote. What I hope we remember—no matter who wins—is that we ALL want to be SAFE. We ALL want to know there will be ENOUGH when we need it. The louder the voices, the nastier the smears, you can be sure means the greater the fear. Because ultimately all conflict, deep down, is about some kind of fear.

If we're writers, we may hoard our ideas—or even our manuscripts—out of fear that someone will steal them. But if we don't take the risk of sending those manuscripts out then we can't get published at all. When we share challenges and ideas someone may think of possibilities that would enrich our writing in ways we would never think of ourselves.

It takes courage to face our fears and look beyond them to the possibilities. Just think what a difference it would make—in our lives, in our country, in the stories we might write or read—if we all did so.

Whatever your views, I hope you vote on Tuesday—or have already voted.