In It For The Empathy

I feel the need to facilitate empathy.

I’ve been writing my second novel, poems to fill out my first book of poetry, the first substantial section of my first book-length memoir, writing and writing like I have limited time on this earth, which I do, though thankfully no one has put an exact clock on the remainder of my time. I feel a sense of urgency to delve deep enough inside the dreams of all three genres, hoping to share a connection with someone who needs to know they’re not alone. I feel the need to facilitate empathy.

And so I’m on a mission, a man possessed. I’m not looking for fame or even money (though it would be nice not to have to scrape by for a change). I’m on a mission to send these books out into the world, your world, and widen someone’s fishbowl, maybe even spark the awareness that they’ve just swum another lap and might pause this time around and look in the mirror and see their reflection is beautiful or stronger than they’d been led to believe.

It’s so easy (so human) to forget. We were all once a baby. A perfect little alien who had endless potential. It’s so easy to fall into the quicksand of adult thinking, to believe the consensus view that we are the summary of our flaws and that we have more flaws than others do. But we are not defined by these perceived imperfections; we are not meant to drown. No, we are meant to reach out to the drowning and remind them that the water actually is shallow enough to stand. I am doing my best to share pain and struggle and find the threads of light that when woven together blaze a path to hope. I am trying to share what it feels like to be human.

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About Jason Allen

Jason is currently living in upstate New York and pursuing a PhD in creative writing at Binghamton University, where he is an editor for Harpur Palate. His work has been published or is forthcoming in: Passages North, Paterson Literary Review, Contemporary American Voices, Cream City Review, The Molotov Cocktail, Oregon Literary Review, Spilt Infinitive, and other venues. He hopes to one day meet Tom Waits and buy him a cup of coffee.
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One Response to In It For The Empathy

  1. airekb says:

    Well said, and it is lovely to see the lessons rise from the hellscape of this semester.

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