My delightfully contentious blogging friend, Sharon, recently posted 5 things that she had run across recently that she wanted to discuss with people: 5 things that I’d like to talk about. Shaking people up and making them think is an excellent action and very necessary to the growth and health of individuals and society. It’s hard work, thinking, and sometimes we have to have a fire lit under our toes to make us do it.
However, Sharon and I see eye-to-eye on a lot of topics from the love of God to issues of feminism (yes, I am a feminist. I promise it’s not a bad word if you understand what it means. Ask me!). I’m pretty sure she and I would come down on the same side of any of those discussions, and some of them involve listening to people or reading things that would only make me angry. Given what I said above, about thinking, I should probably put forth the effort.
The truth is, I am weary, physically and mentally. I feel a little guilty, that little voice in my head is calling me “coward,” but this time I am giving myself leeway. 2013 was a bit of a marathon for me. I need to recoup. I’ve barely been here for the month of December, and my friends on e-mail probably wonder if I have fallen into a sinkhole.
So, somewhat selfishly, I asked Sharon to share something different.
I feel that the best response to her kindness would be to post five things that have made me feel better over the past few weeks.
Wolverine the Musical
Ok, so, yes, I discovered this a while ago, but I still return to it when I need a good laugh. Glove and Boots!
Origami Masks by Joel Cooper
Mask inspired by ancient statuary, shaped from folded paper. All I really have to say to this is ‘holy raving Jabberwoky.’ I love making masks, but artistry like this is beyond me. I love it!
The American Chestnut
I am a plant-nerd, so I care about such things. Feel free to roll your eyes at me and move on.
In the early 1900’s, a blight from Asia was accidentally introduced to the U.S.A. Over the next 30 or so years, it all but obliterated what was then one of the dominant trees of our Eastern forests, the American Chestnut. I won’t bore you with details, but the result was catastrophic to humans and wildlife alike.
In 1983, the American Chestnut Society was formed. Since then they have worked with the few remaining American Chestnuts and the blight-resistant Chinese Chestnut, attempting to breed an American Chestnut tree that can survive the blight. Recent progress has opened the possibility of my seeing American Chestnuts growing in our woods in my lifetime.
In a world where many of my favorite native plants and animals are under serious threat, where exotic-invasives, pollution, and thoughtless development present seemingly insurmountable obstacles to my local ecosystems, the prospect of an actual victory is like a lantern in a cave. It makes me so happy I could cry.
This article is somewhat controversial, and very long, but thoughtful and worth the read. I discovered it through my brother and it made me think, but in an encouraging way, and I will tell you why.
There are a lot of issues wrapped up in this. How people change over time, how it is not wise to condemn everything a person says or has ever said because part of it goes against your own views or beliefs, that the most important part of anything said or written may lie in the interpretation rather than the intent, and that people are flawed. Jumping on the rage-button really is counter-productive. It circumvents thought.
But what I found encouraging is something of a rabbit-trail. I am flawed. Yes, I know, everyone is, but I live with my flaws daily and sometimes they loom very large in my vision. This article reminded me of something that is, I think, important for writers to remember:
I and my work are two different things.
Maybe my flaws will manifest in my work. That does happen. Hopefully my strengths will, too. But maybe, God willing, people who read my work will find things there, hopefully good things, that transcend me, my flaws, and even my strengths. Writing depends on the reading. There’s cause for fear. Fear of being misunderstood runs deep in me. But not all misunderstanding is bad, I guess. There is encouragement in that thought. ‘
Finally, I give you the singing light:
Sometimes we just get lucky and catch the light. I wish I had a better copy of this picture on hand. I may try and update it later.