Saturday, May 28, 2022

This is how we can begin to heal.

This is a photograph taken when I was eight years old. My brother and I are posing in front our new car. Our old Ford had been totaled in an accident. You might notice I am not smiling. That's because I went through the windshield and broke my front tooth. I also broke my finger. My mother was still in the hospital.

Here's what I remember. It was August 1962. My mother and I were on the Connecticut Turnpike. We were on our way to Caldors in Greenwich to buy an iron. My brother was at the beach with his friends. My father was away in Indiana for Naval Reserve training. There was an Arms Race and a Cold War. 

But in August in Connecticut, it was hot. My mother was driving and I was in the passenger seat. My mother was nervous. She was teaching me to sing "My Baby Don't Care for Shows." A lot of things were happening all at once. Then there was a truck. It was honking its horn. It was passing us. The windows were open. Hot air streamed into the car. My mother told me that I was singing out of tune. And then the sounds of screeching tires and glass and steel and everything in my little world changed forever. 

I won't go into the details, because while this was a life-altering event, I survived. But I wanted to tell you this story today because as a nation we have just gone through a kind of collective car accident. We're in a state of shock. We're angry. We're grieving. Confused. We're hurt. Grieving. Angry. Did I mention confused?

As an creative person, you are sensitive and vulnerable and you may be having a particularly hard time. Nonetheless, we need you in this conversation, because you have the unique gift to transform tragedy into something shining and new and beautiful. Something that might just save us and leave us just a little less confused.

Creative friends--your assignment for his week is to bring light into the darkness. Take one image that stayed with you from Robb Elementary School and do not turn your gaze away, but rather get close to it, and then closer, and closer. See this thing--perhaps a sneaker abandoned in the parking lot, or a child's painting of a cat and a dog, or a rainbow on a backpack, perhaps the tiny voice of a child calling 911. 

And finally, I want you to open your heart and write or sing or dance or paint. 

This is how we can change the world. And this is how we begin to heal.



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