After stumbling across William Henry Channing’s beautiful manifesto several years ago (you can read it on the sidebar over to the right) I knew that if I wrote about what I truly loved, I would echo his call with my very own “This is to be my symphony!”
My reading life, my writing life, is an integral part of who I am. It took me over fifty years to embrace that, but better late than never, right? So I’ve taken a writing workshop. I’m reading about the craft (a grateful nod to Ray Bradbury and Stephen King and Annie Lamott). I write about books here.
I suppose it’s a readerly thing to say, but, it’s books and the characters in them who’ve lifted me and turned me and held me steady over the years. Stories. Those hundreds upon hundreds (thousands?!) of lives I’ve lived with have taught me what is important. More than friends and family. (Sorry, Mom.) More than any teacher. (Sorry, me!) Maybe, even, I’m rather sad to say, more than my church.
Here’s what I know from what I’ve read.
I know that when we’re disappointed in life, in people we’ve loved, and we’re tempted to look back at the good times and say “It was all a lie”, well, I know that’s not the case. I know that all those good times were just a genuine as the bad. We’re neither good or bad, one or the other. We’re all of us both-and.
Queenie and Harold The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey
I know that because I’m a faulty human with imperfections and shortcomings whose greatest desire is to be loved and accepted, then I must also embrace others, regardless of their own frailties and how they’ve disappointed us. I need to give what I’d want to receive.
Helen and Ben A Thousand Pardons
I know that, in the end, what matters most is the people we live with. Not even our closest friends see us day after day, week after week. Tired. Weepy. Impatient. Oh, we confide in friends and have therapeutic heart-t0-hearts. That’s, after all, what friends are for. But do friends have to deal with our mud on the carpet? Hair in the bathtub? Bad morning breath? Toe-tapping when there’s still no milk in the ‘frig? Of course not. But it’s that daily grind that rubs us wrong that, in the end, polishes our rough edges and transforms us.
Red and Abby A Spool of Blue Thread
I know that all of us, regardless of age, need to feel we’re necessary. That we have a role to play–that we matter. So I want to know that the time I spend making lesson plans and scrubbing out the sink count for something. That only I can give the hug that will make everything right. That if I suddenly wasn’t here, I’d be missed.
Ove A Man Called Ove
I know that nothing is impossible. That there’s always either a way to make things better or a way out. Because I write my own story just as you, my friend, write yours.
Paloma Elegance of the Hedgehog
With special thanks for writer and motivator Jeff Goins for his challenge to bloggers to write their manifesto. You can read his here.