Sunday, September 13, 2009

Something like a hope song

I'm trying to pull together something like an essay for The Other Journal's Economy and Hope Issue.  Usually when I see themed issues, it frustrates me because I have nothing to say on the themes, but I've been doing a lot of thinking about hope and struggling with the economy for the last several years, so if I don't have something to say about it by now, I haven't been paying attention.

It's exhilarating to be working towards a tight deadline like this.  There's a very real fear that I won't be able to pull together something new that's polished enough to submit, but I'm trying anyway, partly because I have a lot of poetry I could send if this new essay doesn't pan out.  (Hope lends itself well to all forms of poetry. :)

I've become preoccupied with what we mean when we say the word hope in our culture, especially during that last election.  Two quotes have stuck with me through much of my writing about hope.

"Hope is only as strong as the object of that hope."

" . . . and hope does not disappoint."

Hope is not a vague thing that rhymes with dream or wish.  It is solid, anchored to something or someone.  That anchor chain sometimes nearly strangles us.  Hope is not tame; it can be dangerous and must be attached to something strong enough to keep storms from dragging us away or battering us to pieces.  Sometimes I think there's a reason it was in Pandora's box with all the evils in the world:  maybe it's a necessary evil? 

Without my Hope, I wouldn't care about beauty or meaning or art or communication.  I want to send in something that conveys at least some of what I want to say about the terribly splendid thing that is hope.

What does hope mean to you?  How do you use it in conversation, and what does that reveal about what it means to you?  Do you say hope when you mean something else?  (I sure do, but I'm working on that . . .)

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