Friday, January 22, 2021

What Amanda Gorman and Bernie Sanders share in common

It's a new day in America and we've just enjoyed a spectacular Inauguration Ceremony filled with beauty, simplicity, inspiration and poetry.

Just like everyone else, I was mesmerized by Amanda Gorman, the elegant and dignified young woman--our very first National Young Poet Laureate.  Her words of healing resonated and were perfect for this moment in history.  She was impressive--yes, for her poetry, but also for her voice, her stage presence. 

But this isn't what I would like to talk about.  Rather, I want to talk about what she wore--the yellow coat, the red headband that was something like a crown, her hair piled up and her hoop earrings, a gift from Oprah Winfrey and meant to symbolize empowerment and individuality.

Wow.  May I repeat that--empowerment and individuality.

Now, let's talk about Bernie Sanders, our senator from Vermont.  Arms folded, he wore a sensible Burton jacket rather than a dress coat, along with patterned brown and white woolen mittens made by a local Vermonter--a second grade teacher named Jen Ellis.  Bernie had a manila envelope with him and so there was a lot of speculation about how this was just another day--Inauguration, post office, and then maybe a stop to Home Depot, if there's time for the busy senator.  

 It was a no-nonsense monochromatic look, sensible and meant for warmth rather than fashion and yet very representative of the senator and the state of Vermont.

But honestly, I do believe his choice of clothing was just as powerful as Amanda Gorman's brilliant jewel-toned ensemble. 

In their very different approaches, Bernie and Amanda offered us what empowerment and individuality looks like, through a spectacular study in contrasts.  

As creative people I think we have a lot to learn from this juxtaposition of old and new, male and female, white and black, sensible and regal. 

Here are my thoughts--Bernie and Amanda's individual signifiers--the brown mittens and the red headband say a lot about them.  It says a lot about how we can live in this world as individuals and how even when we don't say a word of poetry or prose, the world can still hear our message. 

And so, your creativity prompt this week is to chose your very own signifier--a signifier that represents who you are and how you feel about this world, your individuality, your power, and how you envision your future.  

Once you've done this, honor your choice by writing or painting or even creating a song around it.  Honor the people who have helped you develop your style--the teacher who knit your mittens, the friend who lent you a pair of earrings, the grandpa who gave you his fisherman's cap.  You get the idea.  It's about building the legend, because the legend is you.

Oh, and I would love to see a photo of you in your signifier and hear about how you found your power and individuality!

Finally, have fun.



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