Monday, January 10, 2011
…I have a new micro piece, "Arugula" up at Eunoia Review and here under "Words In Print."
…Life is a curiosity to me. Anymore, the most random things show up and create meaning in my life. Perhaps it's because I'm writing now, and writing naturally opens up one's receptors, flings the shutters wide so that sunlight can get all the way through. It can be a song lyric, a scene on television, something one of my kids says, the view outside my window, the look on a stranger's face, a memory--and it will all give me pause and I'll absorb it in raw form and then that random sliver will manifest itself in a the form of a story or poem I write, and when that happens I'm always grateful for having had the dumb sense to make myself aware enough to notice those things in the first place.
In a similar way, this morning I was in my office which is stuffed with shelves of books, all kinds--fiction, non-fiction, leadership themed manuals, books about God, humor books. For whatever reason, my eye fell on this very slim volume, skinnier than a diary, and I pulled it out and read. And it's wonderful. Here is a long excerpt I culled. I think you'll enjoy it. I know I did.
"After all, when you look at the faces of a class of graduating seniors, you realize that each student has only one thing that no one else has. When you leave college, there are thousands of people out there with the same degree you have; when you get a job, there will be a thousand people doing what you do for a living.
But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.
People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is cold comfort on a winter night, or when you're sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you've gotten back the chest X ray and it doesn't look so good,or when the doctor says, 'Prognosis poor.'
…So I suppose the best advice I could give anyone is pretty simple: get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. DO you think you'd care so very much about those things if you developed an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast while in the shower?
Get a life in in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the dunes, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over a pond and a stand of pines. Get a life in which you pay attention to the baby as she scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger.
Turn off youe cell pohone. Turn off youe regular phone, for that matter. Keep still. Be present.
Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work."
--Anna Quindlen, "A Short Guide to a Happy Life"