As I worked on editing an interview with three writers last night, Istanbul suffered a coup. One of the writers is from Istanbul. She wrote me late in the evening to tell me that they were bombing the Parliament. Again, I have no words, nothing to offer but the strength of our friendship, running like an electric current across the sea, against the violence of our times.
In her essay, “Paradox and Equilibrium,” written in 1988, poet Denise Levertov writes, “We humans cannot absorb the bitter truths of our own history, the revelation of our destructive potential, except through the mediation of art (the manifestation of our other, our creative, potential).”
I don’t know how to mediate this violence with art. It seems to be beyond me, but there is no alternative but to try. Unbearable police shootings are followed by terrifying shootings of police. How can I, can we, manifest our creative potential, to inspire love and not hate, curiosity instead of fundamentalism, not-knowing rather than fearful rhetoric? I spent a week with my family on Vancouver Island: the open shoreline, grey sand crowded with black sand dollars, the wild river flinging its boulders into waterfalls, children dragging their fingers through glacial waters. The trees comforted me; the endless low tide, children building innocent sandcastles. We are all connected, I thought, as the eagles called with the same pure high sound as the water, and the bonfire cast its thousands of sparks into the night.
We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.
—Thich Nhat Hanh
Driving across town after the attacks in Nice, Bob Marley came on the radio, singing One Love. Of course, I’ve heard this great song a thousand times, but have I ever really listened to it? Marley sang it to me again, so I could hear this time:
Is there a place for the hopeless sinner
Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own beliefs?
One love, what about the one heart, one heart
What about, people, let's get together and feel all right
As it was in the beginning (one love)
So shall it be in the end (one heart)
PHOTO CREDIT: BENJAMIN FIESCHI-ROSE