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Art and Sensitivity
November 27, 2018
This post is prompted by reading an NPR piece about Jeff Tweedy, musician and singer-songwriter for groups like Wilco and Uncle Tupelo. He has just released his memoir, Let's Go (So We Can Get Back)
in which he chronicles his stories from his life, often filled with
angst and pain. He knows what it is like to be addicted to narcotics,
to suffer from anxiety, and dealing with the ups and downs of music
recording and performing.
It got me thinking about artists and a proclivity to heightened
sensitivity. I definitely think there is a connection. Some artists
seem to border on madness, or even tumble into it (e.g. Vincent Van
Gogh). Others might seem self absorbed and bizarre (Kanye West, in my
opinion). So many creators of music, stories, images and more are
vividly alive and hyper-sensitive. Personally, I think this can be a
Then again, it can be a cross to bear. You've probably heard the term tortured artist.
The truth seems to be that great art is often a result of pain and
suffering. I don't believe that it always has to be that way. How
horrible if true. But there is certainly a fair amount of evidence that
artists create some of their best art from their wellspring of pain and
suffering. I think it's part of their creative tension.
From their pain our gain? Yes, but have some compassion and empathy for
the price they pay to give us art and beauty. Art and sensitivity -
something to consider.
November 21, 2018
We are on the eve of the Thanksgiving Holiday here in the United
States. It is one of the great holidays of the year, perhaps my
The focus of Thanksgiving is gratitude. That is more than a fuzzy good
feeling. Gratitude can be expressed in thoughts, words and deeds. It is
a stance, a way of being, even an attitude. Have you ever heard of the
expression, an attitude
I think gratitude can be very useful in life reflection and in putting
our life stories together. Here's a suggestion that could translate
into a satisfying life story exercise. In about 30 minutes I think you
could write a short "gratitude memoir". Of course, this would not be a
lengthy piece, although it certainly could be expanded at a later time.
Reflect on an experience that was meaningful in your life and write
about it. This experience needs to be one that you are thankful for.
Usually that means something good that happened, but not necessarily.
Good things sometimes come out of hardship.
It helps to use visualization. You want to recall the
experience in more than thoughts. What were you feeling at that time?
Who was there and how did you act? Find a quiet place to sit with this
memory. Maybe you have photographs, a letter, card or journal
entry that will help your memory.
Visualization is one of the many free tips from The Memoir Network all
during the month of November (Memoir Writing Month). There are still
some days left in the month to access these good life story writing
Here's to your gratitude memories and to a very happy and grateful Thanksgiving Holiday!
Anniversary of Armistice Day
November 12, 2018
Yesterday, November 11, was the 100th anniversary of the end of World
War One. This became known as Armistice
although in the United States the name of the day has since been
renamed Veterans Day to honor all members of our military for their
service. (You might want to check out this song by Paul Simon, Armistice Day.)
By 1918 people were very relieved to have the end of the bloody and
global conflict. It was the worst war the world had ever experienced
and people were praying it would never happen again. Unfortunately,
just over twenty years later the world was at it again.
History teaches us that we must learn from our mistakes and learn about
our past or we make those mistakes again. Looks like we are still
The National Museum of American History
has put together a lot of rememberances and resources to learn more
about WWI and the people that experienced it. Even though the
anniversary was yesterday there is plenty to check out. I think it is
important to recognize the high cost of service that veterans pay. The
history of the world is something we all contribute to in various ways.
Your history may not seem like it is significant in light of major
events, but you and your family are still part of the stories of
humanity. It is important for us to put our lives in the context of
what is happening in the world.
Keep that in mind as you go through your days. You never know when
something may impact you that connects you to many others. Witnessing
the events of just the past couple of weeks with an election, a few
mass shootings, and the horrific fires in California make that very
apparent to me.
Thing To Do
November 7, 2018
One day after Election Day in the United States and the pundits and the
public are absorbing the results. This was what we refer to as the
Midterm Election because it comes halfway through the term of the
United States President. And it has significance as people elect
congress members, governors, and a great number of state
It is important to also recognize that on the ballot in many places
there are bonds and issues, along with various public service
candidates. The democratic process where citizens are allowed to
participate in choosing their representatives and having a say in
government should never be taken for granted.
Despite the great opportunity and responsibility to exercise your civic
right to vote, many people still do not vote. There are many reasons
why. Some people are apathetic, thinking their vote doesn't matter. I
have heard people say the whole system is rigged. Others just don't
seem interested or educated about it. I can understand the
cynicism. But change can only happen when people decide to say and do
I believe voting is the civic thing to do. I remember how excited I was
in 1974 when as an 18-year old I finally got my first opportunity to
vote. It was exciting. I continue to vote in elections, and not just
during the presidential election year.
One of the things that is interesting about this election is the
growing diversity of elected officials. More women and more from
different backgrounds. Here in New Mexico we elected one of
the first ever Native American women to the House of
Representatives. Deb Haaland hails from the Laguna Pueblo in
Mexico and now will represent Congressional District 3. She will join
Sharice Davids from Kansas as part of the next Congress.
If you live in a country that allows you to participate in choosing
elected officials I hope you exercise your right to vote. Of course, it
is each individual's choice, but not everyone has the opportunity.
for Memoir Writing
November 1, 2018
Today on the start of a new month, November, you have a great
opportunity. You can finally get started on writing your memoir!
Or maybe you've been stalled and need to re-start.
How about getting some free tips to help you? All this month you can
get free lessons, 30 in all, through the November is Memoir Writing Month program offered by the Memoir Network.
I strongly believe that many people want to tell their story, to write
their memoir, but just are not sure how to go about it. We all need
tips and resources to help motivate us. One of the things I know that
helps me is to write about things I am passionate about. One in
particular is my love of baseball, especially the Boston Red Sox, who
just won the World Series! Boy, I find it really easy to journal and
write about this great season the Sox just had. I've been a lifelong
fan of the team, so this is not my first time celebrating a world
champtionship. But it was an especially enjoyable
finish to an
You probably have some things you are passionate about. Writing about
them and how they have been part of your life story can be very
satisfying and motivating in moving your memoir project along.
Denis Ledoux of the Memoir Network has
lots of great ideas, tips and
resources he is willing to share with you as part of your free
membership in the My
Memoir Education Program. It's a great time to check it
out because during November he is giving you 30 posted lessons that
will offer new facets of looking at your memoir and at your writing.
Give it a try. It's free. I know I will be following the program myself
as I am always looking for fresh ideas. No doubt I will be using some
of these ideas and sharing my notes about memoir writing all during November is Memoir Writing Month.