Blog #4 – Whats so Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding? (Some thoughts for 2021)

(photo by Samantha Moss – Moss Works Photography)

Hello friends,

I’m writing this at 7 pm on January 1sr, 2021.  The truth is, I meant to spend my New Year’s Eve writing this but, sitting down at my desk, I found myself unable to come up with any words as I got lost in my own thoughts.  Getting overwhelmed, I decided to abandon it and spend the night hanging out on my couch with my cats, eating the last of the Christmas cookies and binge watching Strange Paradise (the Canadian version of Dark Shadows which I got a bootleg of the entire series over Christmas). Honestly, I think everyone who is sitting down to try to write about the end of 2020 as they welcome in the new year, is either looking for something reflective and inspiring to say, or are out to make some cynical remarks on the “heaping dumpster fire” 2020 was as a year.   Personally I’m finding it difficult to do either.

When looking at my personal journey through 2020, I don’t want to even begin to believe that it was similar to anyone else’s.  I think each person out there went down their own individual path, and at the end of the road each of them either learnt a valuable lesson, or they wallowed in self pity.  I could write pages upon pages on my own sad times and happy times, the life changing moments, the times I felt defeated, and about the way my life changed over twelve crazy months.  But my experience is my own, and in the end I think each individual person needs to find meaning in their own narrative and what 2020 meant to them.  So, I really don’t feel the importance at this time to discuss my own personal path. To do so could be considered arrogance or self serving.

But while it was challenging, I don’t know if I feel that 2020 was the heaping dumpster fire that social media seems to say it was.  Yes, it was difficult year full of struggle, limitations and change, which created an emotional and mental stress on our society.  But, again, each individual needs to assess just how bad or good 2020 was for them.  Sure, we all experienced hardship, but personally I had a very good year.  In fact, the limitations of 2020 forced me to change my life completely for the better, and I don’t know if I could have rebuilt my life so successfully if it had not been for the solitude, reflection and the quest for emotional, creative and economic survival that the pandemic forced upon me. 

But one thing I do see on social media today is the overwhelming feeling of hope.  Although the beginning of a new year is really nothing more than a symbolic concept, people are filled with hope that 2021 will be a better year than 2020.  Well why not?  There really is a lot to be hopeful for.  But a better world doesn’t come about by the changing of the calendar.  It comes from what we manifest via the way we collectively live our lives and how we interact with the world around us.

The secret to a better 2021 isn’t a vaccine for the virus, a new president in the White House or the reopening of our businesses and borders.  Sure, all of those are great things which I hold close to my heart, but they are only part of what it’s going to take to bring a sense of normalcy back to our lives.  I believe as individuals we still have a huge role to play in the betterment of our world by leaving bitterness and cynicism behind.  By allowing kindness and compassion to be our guide in the decisions we make and the interactions we have.  To continue to stand up against racism, prejudice, intolerance and hatred of any kind.  To understand that our enemies are as broken and as hurt as we are, and to hope for their personal redemption.  But most of all, which sometimes seem to be the hardest of all for people, is to look at one another as people and work together as human beings first despite your politics, personal beliefs or background.   We need to continue to learn from one another if we are to evolve as a society.  2020 gave us the tools to do this.  Perhaps it’ll be 2021 in which we can put that all in practice.

Last week my former neighbor and fellow cat lover JP Hovercraft, who is known around Peterborough as an accomplished musician, posted the video for Elvis’ Costello’s 1979 release “(What’s So Funny) About Peace, Love and Understanding.” As I did a deep listen to the song I began to cry as I connected to the lyrics in a strong way. It brought back my aimless walks through East City this year as I tried to knit my broken heart together while it felt like the world was burning around me. It was when I had my most life changing moments. But the song also asks a question – what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding? Isn’t that what the world needs? There, my friends, is the cure that comes from our hearts to vaccinate the world. Dr. Fauci might have had the answers in 2020, but Elvis Costello has had the answer that ails our society all along.

Okay – maybe I can write something pretty good.  Neat.  Look at that.  I’ve started the year off right after all.

So what’s coming up at in 2021?  Well, where I live in Ontario we are once again in a complete shutdown.  However, prior to the Christmas holidays Samantha Moss and I did an interview/photo shoot with a pair of women which will continue our series of profiles.  I also have a pair of exciting new celebrity interviews set up for January with more to come.  So January will be busy.  But moving towards February is unknown, and it really depends on how long this lockdown affects us and how that might hinder further work.

But one thing I learnt in 2020 was that I have been put on this journey to tell stories, and as long as I continue to find stories to tell, people will read.  I’m excited about things to come as we continue through 2021.  It’ll just be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

Friends, go into 2021 with faith and hope in your heart.  Thank you for all the love and support you have given me as I found a new way to find new stories.  We have a lot to be grateful for, and a lot to look forward to.

Sam Tweedle

PS – Thanks for the song JP!

About the author

Since 2013, Sam Tweedle has been writing as an arts and culture journalist for kawarthaNOW, with special attention to Peterborough's theatrical community. However, his career as an arts writer goes back further via his website Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict where Sam has interviewed some of the entertainment world's most notable and beloved entertainers. Sam's pop culture writing has been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek, The National Post,, Filmfax Magazine and The New Yorker. You can follow Sam on Instagram at sam_tweedle_z where he posts about his four greatest loves: cats, comic books, movies, and records. Sam no longer uses Twitter because, as far as he's concerned, it's no longer a thing.