A Candle in the Dark: Creation in a time of Destruction

Extras Flight Before Dawn Painted Faces www.NewHistoricalFiction.com


Can we be real? Really real? It can be tempting in a time of seeming destruction to wonder at the possibilities of creation. I see many writers disillusioned by the process, knowing the power of the written word, and yet wondering what difference they can make in the face of hatred, in the shadow of a world that could be, and yet tantalizingly remains adrift.

Photo by Megan Easley-Walsh

But… and this but is important… creation is all the more important when things seem bleak. Take your cue from nature. Out of the darkness and snows of the winter bursts the buds of spring. The birds begin to sing until the choruses grow and swell in the harmonies of summer that surround us now, as they flit from bloom to bloom in the garden.

All metaphor aside and put simply, your words matter. Each person who dares to voice truth, peace, love, acceptance, equality, freedom, each voice adds to the conversation until at last the hatred will be too drowned out to matter. Have you noticed that? Hatred has to scream. It has to disrupt our lives in unthinkable ways. Do you know why? Because love is loud. Always. Peace roars in its serenity. And hatred is forced to try to compete. And so we must not let it win. We must not be silent in its wake. We must love louder. Practice peace louder. Dream louder. Live our freedom louder.

I’ve mentioned how my first novel, Flight Before Dawn, is about resisting the Nazis and how it’s supposed to be about the past. My most recent release, Painted Faces, addresses not the end of the second world war, but the beginning. It takes place in 1938, as the storm clouds begin to gather on the horizon. Again, I’ve noticed many parallels with events now. It too was supposed to be about the past. Unfortunately, lately, I’m feeling like my historical fiction is not consigned to the pages of history. It often feels more like I have become a contemporary fiction author. But, historical fiction at its best, while artful and imaginative and full of interesting characters and imagined lives, has at its heart, jewels of truth about the past. It stands to warn, to caution, and to prevent the past from repeating.
And sometimes, as in these words from Painted Faces, it serves to offer hope in the face of difficulty.

 Across Europe, Hitler’s gathering the fragments of death in the guise of disappointment, fear and oppression. When assembled, they will undoubtedly give rise to a monster more terrifying than any that has roared to life on Universal’s screens. But just as Frankenstein’s monster was scared by fire, each light kindled by a sincere desire to help another is helping to stomp out the beast.
In life, it is difficult to guarantee happily ever after. I no longer see only stardust. I came to be a part of fiction and have learned that reality can be far more horrific. Every event that has happened is not laced in happiness, just like the movies that I love, but even after living through such events, in the end, the monsters can still be put to rest and dreams can still be realized.

Excerpt from Painted Faces.

My best to you all,

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.