A Post About a Broad, Vague, Sentimental Idea

The theme for the John Hewitt Literary Festival, where our plays are going to be performed at the end of the month, is “the state of hope”.  This makes me think of the State of the Union address; a exploration and report on something measurable and argument-inducing.  Hope’s not really like that.  I can’t research it or look up its stats, and I have no clue about how to incorporate it into my play without sounding like a CareBear.  It seems shallow and insulting to come to a place that has had centuries of complicated conflict and basically write “Can’t we just all get along?” as if the people of Northern Ireland haven’t been trying to do so since since the Troubles and been living in peace for over a decade.  There’s so much nitty-gritty, so much detailed history, so many opinons that “hope” seems like a such a vast and empty word in comparison.  I’ve been wondering how a person fosters hope without forgetting all that history.  When I brought this up in class today Joan said that this story-telling and need for history doesn’t keep wounds open.  It’s a way to digest the past and accept it in order to make the conversation easier to have. 

This is of, course, a good thing, but I thought I had a pretty good theme going about hope being forgetting and now I’m back to square one.