I was going to write a post about the most inspiring cultural experiences of 2016, but then thirty nine people were shot dead in a nightclub in Turkey on the 1st of January and it didn’t matter anymore.
I was going to write about Walking: Holding, the play that set my heart on fire, but then a truck drove into a Christmas market in Berlin.
I was going to write about seeing Victoria, the astonishing film shot in one take, but then they burned down the Jungle.
I was going to write about The Grinning Man, the play that made me smile non-stop for two hours but then the world voted, twice.
I was going to write about reading The New Odyssey, the epic true story following refugees trying to reach safety in Europe, but then hate crime rose overnight.
I was going to write about that scene in They Drink It In The Congo where the injustice of humanity hits you hard, but then journalists in Syria posted a photo on Twitter of a bombed out hospital.
I’m not sure how we’re going to navigate 2017. These disastrous events keep happening and we have to keep listening. People are angry and have access to terrifying weapons that can end lives. People are angry and don’t know how to direct their anger in a way that can make things better, so instead they make things worse. People are so angry.
It is, I am finding, increasingly difficult to focus on the artistic and ephemeral when reality seems to get in the way and kick out anything extra. Because what can a play really do in the face of all this?
But then you see a performance or read a book or watch a film that tells you a story that makes you see it all in a different way, and perhaps helps you understand it a little more, or maybe it helps you escape it for a while. And maybe you remember why it’s important again, in this cruel, cacophonous world.
We need to find a way to make art even more valuable, because right now I’m struggling to see it. We need to find a way to make ideas and goodness and hope hold just as much weight as a gun or a sword or a bigoted word.
Maybe that’s the aim for 2017: make each day count for something good, because there is so much bad in this world and we need to know it can’t always win.