We live for the Oh!s

we live for the ohs

There they sit, stacked on the credenza I keep clearing and then cluttering up again – Mark Twain, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, A. Conan Doyle, Ray Bradbury – Thomas Jefferson, Ernie Pyle, Paul Harvey, Elmer Davis – S.I. Hayakawa – voices that have spoken to me long ago, far away, here, and now.

How long have I longed to join them, to be able to assemble words that move the soul so – move the soul where? to action? to understanding? to agreement? or just for show and tell? “Look what I found!” Look what I saw! Look what I heard today!

“Just” show and tell?

Show and tell is how we impart knowledge, how we learn, how we teach.

Something discovered is shared, and something inside thinks, “Oh! That’s how it all connects.” “Oh! That’s where that piece fits.” “Oh! I think I finally understand another bit of the universe.”

We live for the Oh!s. And in sharing, we join the flow, the wisdom of the ages.


with apologies to carly simon

good old days

These are the good old days.

These are the days when the blood pumps so strong with the rhythm and the power and the glory of life, when what we share throbs with urgency and what’s inside needs to get out.

When we’re old and gray we would remember these days with fondness, but we’ll never be old and gray, our limbs will be strong and our lives will stay like this forever – that’s how powerful it feels.

And, stopping to rest near the end of days, this memory will sustain us …

you made you what you are today

“You made me what I am today, Mentor.”

“Me? Are you kidding?” Mentor said. “Haven’t you paid attention? This –” resting a hand on the hero’s chest – “this you were born with, endowed by our Creator with the power to speak, to act, to make your life and the lives of others better with your gifts.”

“But you –”

“I’ve been here to enlighten you to help you discover your gifts and how to use them. I’ve encouraged you to get out there and see what you’ve got. Maybe I’ve entertained you to make sure you were having fun while you learned about yourself. But you did the work, you did the training, you built yourself into who you are, kid. I didn’t make you. I just showed you the way.

“So many others out there are waiting for permission – waiting for someone else to tell them who they are, when the miracle of themselves is right there already, waiting to be discovered. You didn’t wait, kid. You went out there and empowered yourself. Thanks for the vote of confidence – it means I did a good job of pointing the way and then getting OUT of the way – because YOU made you what you are today – and don’t let any well-meaning fool tell you otherwise.”

Every person is absolutely unique

Different - dreamstime_s_1045911

Every person is absolutely unique. Why is this so hard to grasp?

Maybe it’s because there are so many of us, it’s hard to imagine no two are alike. But that’s the fact, Jack.

And yet we keep getting lumped into groups, some of them arbitrary, some of them fixed, and we keep accepting the group-think.

Oh, you’re a woman. Oh, your skin is a certain tinge. Oh, you belong to that church. Oh, you’re that age. Oh, you usually vote Republican. Oh, you read romance novels. Oh, you watch that TV channel.

Oh … wait.

Every person is unique.

Every. Person. Is. Unique.

I can’t assume anything about you because you’re a woman, or because your skin has that tinge, or any of those other things. You don’t think like every other woman, you don’t act like everyone whose skin is that shade, you don’t believe everything that I may think Republicans believe. You don’t, do you?

There is no one else in the world like you. No one else has been through what you have, in the same order.

You. Are. Unique. One of a kind. Indispensable and irreplaceable.

And so is everyone else.

Make assumptions based on a glance, or a brief encounter, and you miss a chance to understand.

Demographics, shmemographics: You can’t predict what the person in front of you will think or do based on studies or your observations of what other people who look like him have thought or done.

Lump people into groups, and you deny their humanity. You miss what makes them unique.

You hate it when someone says, “Oh, you’re a woman.” “Oh, you’re one of those Democrats.” As if the label explains who you are.

No. You have a name. You have an identity. You are an individual.

And so is everyone else.



Breathe in.

Do you feel that, smell that, hear the sound of your lungs filling? Take it all in, all of that air filled with icicles or sunshine or cut grass and lilacs – fill every corner of your lungs – that’s it, breathe in, keep going, those miraculous balloons have a lot of space.

Now: All that is inside you, from every corner of your soul, let it go! Send it winging to its next destination. Share who you are and what you are and make the world a better place. You have so much to to offer us; you have an entire universe of life to share that never was before and never will be again once you’re gone.


Books I must seek out: The Haunted Bookshop

haunted bookshop

“Like everything else, (Truth) was rationed by the governments. I taught myself to disbelieve half of what I read in the papers. I saw the world clawing itself to shreds in blind rage. I saw hardly any one brave enough to face the brutalizing absurdity as it really was, and describe it. I saw the glutton, the idler, and the fool applauding, while brave and simple men walked in the horrors of hell. The stay-at-home poets turned it to pretty lyrics of glory and sacrifice. Perhaps half a dozen of them have told the truth. Have you read Sassoon? Or Latzko’s Men in War, which was so damned true that the government suppressed it? Humph! Putting Truth on rations!”

“You see those children going down the street to school? Peace lies in their hands. When they are taught in school that war is the most loathsome scourge humanity is subject to, that it smirches and fouls every lovely occupation of the mortal spirit, then there may be some hope for the future. But I’d like to bet they are having it drilled into them that war is a glorious and noble sacrifice.”

Those are two excerpts from a book called The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley, which was not written last year but in 1919, just after the Great War to End All Wars. We’ve seen how that turned out.

Read more about Morley and an extended excerpt at this link:

Roger Mifflin reflects on the Great War

The beauty of freedom

national puppy day (crop)

“Tell me what to do,” the young one said.

“Whatever you wish,” replied the mentor. “That’s the beauty of freedom. You do whatever you think you need to do.”

“What if I don’t know?”

“Then do anything. Do something, and see if it fits you.”

“And if it doesn’t? Fit, that is?” the young one fidgeted.

“Then do something else, and something else again, until you find a fit,” the mentor said, patiently. “It’s your choice.”

“I don’t know how to choose.”

“Incorrect. You know how to choose, but you worry that you won’t make the right choice, and so you hesitate.” A pause. “Nothing is difficult about choosing, except working through the hesitation.”

Still inconsolate: “What if I run out of choices and am still unsatisfied?”

Now the mentor smiled, gently. “It is impossible to run out of choices.”

“And what if I refuse to choose?”

“Then you will have chosen nothing,” said the mentor, kindly. “Which will change the mix of choices when you return to a place of choosing.”

“Maybe it will be a better mix,” said the young one, hopefully.

“Maybe it will be,” said the mentor. “But you will have lost what may have been, had you chosen now.”