As you all well know, or at least should know, there is a serious political crisis engulfing Ukraine at the minute. To compound an already precarious situation, everyone’s favourite implacable, unscrupulous world leader, Vladimir Putin, decided to send the troops into the Crimea region of Ukraine. Whilst everyone around me was baffled, perplexed and worried about what the consequences of this could be, I was rejoicing!
“Go on Vlad, you can do it! Be unreasonable, please be unreasonable. We’ve talked about this Vlad, we’ve talked about this. You can do it!”
Before my dear readers come at me with the pitchforks for being a massive warmonger, please allow me to explain myself, because once I have we’ll all be rooting for War! A very compelling pattern has emerged. In order to write a classic novel, that will be remembered long after my death, I need to go to War and acquire myself some serious psychological scars. Orwell, Bulgakov, Hemingway, Vonnegut, Tolkein all went to war and some, such as Hemingway and Vonnegut were explicitly inspired, whilst in others the shadow of war can be felt in their work. And when it comes to female authors, two of the best, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, had lifelong battles with depression, so knew all about suffering.
So, as you can see World War Three is really quite necessary for me as a would-be-writer, and to deny me this is so selfish. Quite frankly I’m getting sick and tired of all these light skirmishes and suggestive posturing. I need me some war on a global scale; complete and utter turmoil. Of course, I need to survive it, and hopefully heroically. But, World War Three does need to happen, and these bloody politicians, with their talk of reconciliation and “keeping upheaval to a minimum” are getting on my nerves. Channel your inner Adolf Vlad (not that you need to); harness the power of Napoleon Francois; David draw on Winston; Barack be empowered by Truman.
I think the politicians have been so selfish since 1945. If the Cold War had become the Hot War, who knows what amazing literary creations would’ve been spawned from the swamp (is that you Alex Turner?) of world-wide desolation. I’ve tried my hardest to psychologically scar myself for the benefit of my writing, but it’s just not enough. I need to see my friend get blown up in front of me, like Bulgakov, or perhaps hear the mindless slaughter of thousands of people by fire bombing, like Vonnegut. I at least need to have some form of serious, life-threatening (but not terminal) injury that leaves me bedbound and contemplating life and death, like Hemingway. Unfortunately, cracking my head open on my garden steps because I didn’t do my Velcro strap up at the age of four doesn’t count, even if I do tell people my Dad could see my skull (it is with great resignation I confess that this isn’t true).
And so, back to Ukraine. Vladimir, if you have any sort of appreciation for the arts, and the cultural health of humanity, then please do your utmost to make this conflict escalate. Barack, like wise; you follow Vladimir’s lead and retaliate, perhaps militarily, leaving the outcome in no-doubt. Once France, Germany and the UK get involved we’ll finally get what we (I) want: World War Three. At this point I will enlist into some sort of slightly dangerous service, and let the literary genius flow. Yay!
On a more serious note isn’t it one of life’s most haunting and bittersweet ironies, that suffering and pain produces the most beautiful works of art? When humans are hammered, squashed, shot at, and murdered, it is then when some secret, gorgeous parts of their soul creaks open and produces pure lasting beauty. When people are at their lowest ebb, it is then that something truly stunning is created, and something the rest of us benefit from immensely. We benefit from something that wouldn’t have happened without sheer suffering. Read, for example, Mother Night by Vonnegut. A truly moving novel of great scope and invention, but would it have happened without the horrors of World War Two and Dresden? Perhaps not. The politicians can fuck around and endanger millions of life, rest assured that some creative type somewhere is going to attempt to make sense of it all, and probably really movingly. What a beautiful, contradictory, delicious, disgusting irony that is.