A bright light has gone out in the world — Geraldine Stella Mattingly Holsclaw, aka Jerry, aka Oma, aka “Yellow-Dog Democrat,” aka Bourbon-On-the-Rocks-With-A-Dash-of-Water-Please. She will be fondly remembered for her full embrace of all 92 years of life, her gift as a storyteller, her mischievous grin, and deep love freely given.
My grandson Griffin is nine months old, and has spontaneously started sharing. Whatever he’s holding, he offers to anyone who’s around — Mom, Dad, the dog. I’m told it’s a developmental thing; all kids do it at some point. But is it also a developmental thing that many, as they grow older, stop being so generous? Is it inevitable that we become protective of what we see as “mine,” hostile toward anyone we see as a threat to our possessions, turf, ideology? Is Griffin just naive? Will life teach him otherwise? Or is he, perhaps, teaching us something — a gentle, smiling reminder of what it means to be fully human?
Art ennobles humanity. We are ALL artists. Find your medium — whether it be words, canvas, screen, stage, music, the classroom, the house you build, the car you repair, the child you raise, the pancakes you serve, the warm human spirit you shine on a stranger — and use it to unite us.
From one of my favorite writers, this interesting perspective on the inevitable cruxes we face in our creative lives:
The Real Work
by Wendell Berry
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
I was fortunate to hear National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisis Coates speak at Oregon State University last night. He had many insightful, wise, and provocative things to say, especially about race in America. He also talked about writing: “I don’t write to convince anyone of anything; I write to express my humanity.” His work does just that, and he inspired me to do the same.
Wishing you a New Year filled with innumerable smiles, closeness to the people you love, and compassion for those who challenge you. Take pleasure in the ride, even if it gets bumpy at times.
Those who write false news stories present fiction as fact. Fiction writers openly fabricate facts to get at a human truth. Irony anyone?