Last month I had the honor of listening to a collection of readings by the Haitian-American novelist, Edwidge Danticat. I like being in the presence of artists whose work I enjoy, and I also consider it a lesson, of sorts, on the various ways creative people show up and interact with their audiences.
On January 13, 2020, the day Ms. Danticat came to speak at DePaul University, her readings were sad and somber, not exactly what I had been anticipating. The day of her readings, however, occurred exactly one day following the 10th anniversary of the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti that killed over 300,000 people. Given that, it’s little wonder that her chosen readings would mirror the state of her mind and spirit.
At the start of this week, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among the nine passengers killed in a helicopter crash in California. The news shook me with its abruptness, tragic finality, plus the knowledge that the deep wave of sorrow that consumed me, a mere fan, was miniscule compared to the pain and sorrow I imagined their families and friends experiencing.
I tell these stories to illuminate a fact that we all know intellectually, but conveniently choose to forget: Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.
I took an unplanned break from writing and blogging as a result of experiencing a rough patch in my life toward the end of 2019. At the start of the new year, I put some processes in place that will, hopefully, better help me get through the difficult times in life so that I no longer completely cease doing the very thing that brings joy and satisfaction to my life.
What is the gift that has been placed in you by your Creator? Whatever it is, use it. Now. Don’t let your gift die within you. When life knocks you down – and it will – take time to lick your wounds if need be, but get back up and keep it moving. You owe it to yourself to make manifest all of the goodness that is within you, and in your own unique way, leave your imprint on the world.
Oh, and if you love someone, now would be a good time to make certain they know it.
Next: Organizing your writing and starting the editing process