Friday, February 26, 2010

On Contributing to the Larger Conversation

Before a recent (and much needed!) vacation to Tulum, Mexico, I stood in Barnes and Noble and placed a quick phone call to me dear friend, Mary. I realize in typing that that whole premise of standing in a book store and talking on your cell phone is rude, but stick with me here. "Can you remind me again what books I should buy for beach reading on my trip?" Apparently she had previously left me a voice-mail advising me on such matters, but as I tend not to be good at actually listening to my voice-mail (once again, rude!), I missed those suggestions. So, semi-begrudgingly she reminded me of some recent reads of hers that seemed interesting and yet beach appropriate. The following were here first mentions:

In Pursuit of Elegance: Why The Best Ideas Have Something Missing by Matthew May

Better by Atul Gawanda

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Because In Pursuit of Elegance is apparently in transition from hard cover to paperback, it was not in stock, but the other two were, so I picked them up and proceeded on my little vacation with the intention of reading.

Two days (of my seven days) into the trip I realized I hadn't even cracked open either book. Then day three rolled around and I continued to just thumb through magazines, knowing all the latest about Brad and Angelina, but not a bit of Gawanda and Lamott had to say. Day four, something clicked. Honestly, I think I finally gave into the vacation and began to let my mind settle enough so that reading could happen. I ended up reading both of these book in two days and I couldn't help but be moved by both.

This is not in anyway meant to be a book review (although, my mention of the two should be considered an endorsement), but I was moved by both books and was inspired to once again go to my keyboard and contribute the larger conversation through this format. Both writers in entirely different contexts (but for similar reasons) speak to the importance of writing and contributing to a conversation that is outside of ourselves. I've had a difficult time doing this for the past two years as I've been spending my days writing for the purpose of class and school, but now that I near the end (three weeks!) I'd like to once again contribute the conversation that exists out there.

Often when people talk about blogging, they scoff at the notion of "everyone thinking they have something important to say." I don't pretend to think what I have to say is necessarily important, but I do think contributing is important and when simply observe we are not necessarily being active participants. I want to actively participate and therefore, I will write.

Two additional thoughts: First, Anne Lamott is my hero. I mean that. I remember the first time I read one of her books and it was like someone switched a light bulb on for me. There was this way of talking about life, and religion and love and sex and I was always so afraid of going there, but she was fearless and through her fearlessness I felt enabled. I'm still working on not being a scaredy cat, and I am a long way off, but she inspires me to be honest.

Second, the title of this blog is meant to be cheeky. I'm actually going to focus a lot on "things," or at least, I want to use them as a catalyst for other thoughts. You'll see what I mean by that if you continue to read... so, try me.