Why is it that we typically seem to learn about great people until they have died and our gone from our lives?
Today, I raise my glass to the hosts of Blogging University courses and the Daily Post at WordPress, including Ben Huberman, Michelle Weber, and Cheri Lucas Rowlands. Ben, Michelle and Cheri inspired me to write more, to experiment with new writing styles, and to interact more with the writing community at WordPress.
This year I learned about Scott Dinsmore and his work at Live Your Legend only after his death. I learned about Scott’s death through his friend Leo Babauta, whose words of wisdom I follow through his site Zen Habits. In the hours and days following his death, I learned about how Scott inspired many to follow their life aspirations by example. He was killed while he was pursuing his own lifelong dream of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. In Scott’s last blog post, Scott wrote about the need to avoid being overly digitally connected, “Stepping back is important. The pause is where the magic happens. That gap between stimulus and response is where the real world takes place.” Scott feared that our most intimate spaces, rincones, were disappearing,
“The pause is disappearing. That priceless space that allows us to think big, to reflect, to plan, to create – it’s becoming harder and harder to find. Which means our responsibility to save it is greater than ever.”
This year I also discovered the poetry of San Francisco poet, Justin Chin, also only after his death due to a stroke. Justin was a soft-spoken man of strong words. In an interview of Justin Chin by Gerry Gomez Pearlberg for Frigatezine, a now inactive zine, Justin Chin is quoted as saying, “What I hope is that the arts, poetry, writing and literature, will allow us to train our minds to think, so that we can question all the stuff, all the information, all the babble shoved at us in the name of “American Life,” and “Progress” and “The Millennium” and all that hooey.” Below is an except from Justin Chin’s poem, Grave.
I want to be the blameless
victim in this canceled puppet show,
the marionette every mother loves, the one
souvenirs are modeled from.
In the next few months, I will be writing about some of the amazing people who I met in 2015, including poet Pamela Taylor from a Poet’s Double Life and writer Jimmy Recinos from Jimbo Times. I interviewed them earlier this year and will be featuring them in a series about emerging writers of color whom I met at a VONA, Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation, writing workshop in July of 2015.
I encourage you to write about a living, breathing person who is doing good in the world through their work or art on your site or via a comment to this post.
Let’s spend 2016 celebrating life!