I’m assigning an essay by Thomas de Zengotita to the College Writing class for reading this weekend. It was originally published in Harper’s (one of my favorites), and is summarized in a blog called How to Save the World. (The same entry also mentions “Carnival of the Capitalists” and “Warren Buffett pays his taxes,” both of interest.)
de Zengotita asserts:
He continues, “Remember that T-shirt from the eighties that said “High on Stress”? It was sort of true and sort of a way to bluff it out and sort of a protest – it had that ‘any number of meanings’ quality we now prefer to depth. That’s because the any-number-of-meanings quality keeps you in motion, but depth asks you to stop.”
As I’ve been thinking about how to continue blogging (a.k.a., how to continue writing), I find inspiration from my students and other writers. (It doesn’t hurt that a friend actually confessed to reading my blog once-in-awhile, a secret he has been keeping because he doesn’t want me to ask him to become more involved, as if I would ever do such a thing!) Natalie Goldberg encourages us “to say a holy yes to the real things of our life as they exist” (Writing Down the Bones, p. 43).
“Our lives are at once ordinary and mythical. We live and die, age beautifully or full of wrinkles. We wake in the morning, buy yellow cheese, and hope we have enough money to pay for it. At the same instant we have these magnificent hearts that pump through all sorrow and all winters we are alive on earth. We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important. Otherwise, if they are not, we can drop a bomb and it doesn’t matter” (emphasis added, p. 44).