Coloring the Days

Nancy Flynn Apostrophe Blog Archive, Musings, Wisdom, Writing

The Apostrophe Blog

Musings on Writing and Life.

I have begun the annual winter rainy season task of cleaning stuff out. The file drawers are mostly done so now I am on to folders of this-and-that saved over the years for what reason? So I could use what I had stashed in writing of my own? Something I stumbled on that was written nearly twenty years ago: a four-part essay series called “Things to Come” by Michael Ventura originally published in the Austin Chronicle as Letters at 3 a.m. It’s all familiar terrain for me. Way back then, Ventura wrote about the looming convergence of Peak Oil and global climate change; his thoughts could have been lifted from an issue of Stewart Brand’s Coevolution Quarterly, a magazine I read like a religious fanatic in the 1980s. How did we all get so derailed from those idealisms and truths? How did people who came of age in an energy crisis, let alone the injustices carved in sharp relief by the Vietnam war and the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, convince themselves it’s OK to live in a suburb and drive an S.U.V.? Once again, all these years after I first read it, Ventura’s series hit home for me as I contemplate what to do do with the rest of this life. He writes:

“Look…I’d like my cozy, convenient writer’s life to continue as uncharacteristically tranquil as it’s been lately, writing my novels and poems and columns, downsizing as gracefully as I’m able, living with a truly delectable slowness, testifying to the truth of Caroline Casey’s sentence ‘Beauty is abundantly available to the unhurried mind.’ But I look at the facts as I understand them and can come to no conclusion but that these too-convenient days are numbered, and I’d best enjoy the present, behave alertly, and be ready for a storm, always remembering the three qualities that Henry James noted were most important in a human being: ‘Kindness, kindness, and more kindness.’ Life is about to become both slower (with more opportunities for beauty) and more urgent, governed by necessity rather than desire. […] We will be called upon to do more, and be more, than we thought ourselves capable of. […] Once upon a time wasn’t that all I asked of life?”

Food for thought on this 2024 January morning with rain falling loud and heavy from a curtain of clouds and snowflakes in the forecast for the coming weekend.

Nancy Flynn
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