In a deck of cards the Jester is the only card without a rank or suit. He does not kneel to the King of Diamonds, serve the Queen of Hearts, nor answer to the Jack of Clubs. And even though he cannot brandish the Ace of Spades, he is nevertheless included in the set without purpose or utility—he is only there to cause distraction and discord.
In creation myths, the Trickster is also an anomaly. Neither good nor evil, he is both carnal and divine at the same time. Loyal only to his pleasures, this mischievous entity is nonetheless capable of good deeds and celestial engineering through a state of chaos.
This brings us to the most famous and modern incarnation of this creature, that is the Batman’s Joker. The Joker is unlike other super villains in that he is a killer without a pattern. This is why the Joker is Batman’s arch-nemesis, because he cannot be defined and he goes after your friends and family, where it hurts, i.e. the balls. Madness and chaos are his state of only normalcy. And in a way, although most of us are not lethal sociopaths, writers also thrive in such an extreme state.
Whether you engage in fiction or nonfiction, moderation for a writer is almost always futile. This is because scars—whether internal or external, fictitious or prose—are what gives a writer substance. In fact without this ingredient, these marks of carnage, a person merely becomes hollow, theoretical and untested. Imagination is only part of the equation, and no amount of narrative structure and literary flourish can compensate for the precision of emotion—that unexplainable x-factor that is either there or not there.
Peace is good. But passive peace often renders people stagnant, shallow and parasitic. You need bad events to test your good character, because it is only through a storm that you can dance in the rain.
As writers, eyes on our work, feelings, emotional investment, even envy and contempt, are really the things we live for. Being invisible is the death of us, and it is only by shaking things up do we become visible, not as perfect people to be admired and adored, but as practitioners who is worth a great goddamn.
Remember, chaos is our home; our readers are just visitors.
“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” —Little Finger, Game of Thrones