“In the time of your life – Live!” -William Saroyan
A professor once said to me, “We don’t take time to think about the things we think about” A few of my brain cells no doubt tied themselves in a knot; but to good purpose, I remember the statement still! It was one of those nuggets that are tossed our way and which succeed in rocking the boat.
In the brief span of a dozen words a question is posed that demands an answer. The first thing to consider is the urgency of the question. In reality, it is urgent. As posed by my professor it does not rank with “Why can’t we all just get along?”; “What is love?”; “Does anybody really care?”. This riddle turns us inside to a place we share with others – our thoughts. We have many random thoughts in the course of our day, some worthy of reconsidering, developing, perhaps even setting down with some degree of permanence. In our media rich world, however, I suspect we are more likely to react to the constant slings and arrows of outrageous media. It’s defensive! Our thinking is defensive, a condition that surely becomes weary.
Dumb, and Dumber
Kathleen Parker recently wrote about a retiring congressman from New York. She asked him if more than thirty years ago, when he first came to Washington, were congressman more collegial. He said no, but they were friendly. Now it’s treasonous to step across the aisle. She then asked why is this so? His response, and I still don’t believe I read this, was “People are dumber.” He qualified the remark by saying he would never say that if still running for office. Only in retirement is there honesty?
The Time of Your Life
People may well be dumber and I do believe my professor needs to be heard again. “We don’t take time to think about the things we think about.” If we did, life would be slower, our critical thinking… well, more critical!
For me, this journey of reinvention through writing and journalizing on this blog does exactly that! I slow down to think. In doing so, I become more closely tuned to my own inner life, resulting in an improved writing voice. Numerous comments, other than from my wife, mother, brother, and grudgingly from my sister-in-law, make the point that they enjoy the writing.
There is no curriculum in the country that teaches voice in this fashion, only YU, Your University! Voice can be found in William Saroyan’s epithet “The Time of Your Life – Live it!” That’s the only way to find a voice, explore, develop it, use it.