René Descartes, the French philosopher and mathematician, imagined the cosmos as a complex machine operating according to precise mechanical laws. His theory implies the existence of a designer, a benevolent Creator or watchmaker, and describes an ordered elegance that seems counter to the madness of modern life. Joining Descartes and Newton—the men of the scientific revolution—writers and poets seek patterns amid chaos and explanations for the inexplicable.
The desire for order drives me to my desk, where I get to devise the plots and the characters conform to my whims. If only my city and my world would follow the structure of a novel. At the climax, the turning point, the good guys would emerge from their struggles better off than they were before.
Writers write stories, not the daily news. And yet we are, collectively, writing the story of our destiny. Just maybe we can write an ending other than tragedy. There are many among us—teachers, nurses, and counselors, to name a few—who do their jobs every day, trying to make it better. Good works create impact, as do beliefs.
What we imagine for our lives becomes our reality. Jesus, Buddha, and the mystics all tell us that what we dwell upon comes to pass. From the book of Matthew: “According to your faith be it done unto to you.” If this is so, collective pessimism, regardless of good works, will do nothing to lead us out of the mire.
Mindset is a choice, offered by the watchmaker, who stepped aside once his job was done. Negativity might seem the more natural attitude, in light of current events. But oh, how much better it is to imagine peace than annihilation. John Lennon wrote it best. Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
Does this mean all my books will have happy endings? Hmmm. It will be a while before I know for sure. The Last of the Magicians, my third historical, is on slow cooker mode while I work to complete a commissioned biography. (More on that later.) A writer has to eat as well as dream.