The big white dog wanders contentedly outside in the early morning rain falling gently on the trees. It seems like overnight, the trees have come into full foliage. Perhaps it is because the past few nights have blended together into one giant blur. There is so much to be done.
Yesterday at work, we said good bye to a work study student heading off on his next great adventure. A week before, we said good bye to another co-worker who had also left in search of her path. Inevitably stories of my trips hitchhiking around the States and Europe and living on a sailboat afterwards came up.
On Thursday evening, I drove up to hear one of my daughters present her Masters Thesis, Don't Make Art, Just Make Something.
It provides an interesting contrast to all those commencement speeches so many of us will be hearing over the coming month; "but then the next day comes". There have been over twelve thousand next days since I left college, and what have I made?
After work, I went to a baby naming ceremony followed by a gathering of friends. I've made friends, I've helped make a family. I've made my careers. I've made many blog posts. But is it enough? Perhaps its not art, but it's something.
As a proud father, I thought Miranda's thesis presentation was the best, but there were many great presentations. They all focused on various aspects of creativity and education. What role does, or should art play in the schools? How do the arts relate to leadership? Where does creativity fit into daily life.
I've been thinking about various aspects of this for the Connecticut Health Foundations, Health Leaders Fellowship. Next month there will be a discussion at the foundation about leadership and social media. What is your digital footprint? Leaders need to think about how they are publicly visible around the issues they lead on.
I remember reading one paper about the difficulties that teens face today. The teenage years are about creating an identity, and now, teenagers now need to create not only the identity as seen in school and at parties, but also a digital identity. It isn't just teenagers that need to create this. We are all, either consciously, or unconsciously, creating digital identities. What's yours?
Writers and actors may have some experience in creating characters, but what about everyone else? And how does the fact that we are creating ourselves, and not something fictitious complicate the process?
Later today, I will head up to Middletown to participate in the Middletown Remix project.
It encourages people to 'hear more, see more'. How much do we really see or hear? How much passes unnoticed in the blur of daily life, like the sudden appearance of a full canopy of leaves? How does this relate to the creative process, to our creative process, as we create our lives?
Keep making something, every day. It is the start to making art, the art of our lives.
Slowly, the electronic devices recharge. It has been a long day. I think Foursquare may have congratulated me on the miles I traveled today. It does that too often. My first event of the day was an Institute of Medicine meeting, Achieving Health Equity via the Affordable Care Act: Promises, Provisions, and Making Reform a Reality for Diverse Patients. It was a thought provoking, jam packed day. It took place at the Mark Twain House and Museum. I've been to other events there, but this was the first time I got a chance to take a brief tour during the lunch break. I did not realize that history of publishing in Hartford, nor various aspects of Mark Twain's finances. It was an odd juxtaposition which I'm still pondering.
From there, I rushed to Orange, where the Ken Lenz declared his candidacy for First Selectman. I got to know Ken a bit during my campaign for State Representative, and I'm glad that Ken is running. He's a good guy and hard worker.
My next stop was the Woodbridge Preliminary Budget meeting. The turnout was light and there was little for comments. One person did ask about police activities beyond the motor vehicle information listed in the budget. I mentioned the What's New section of the police department website.
Now, as my devices recharge, I'll head off to bed and recharge my own batteries as well.
Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
I have been too busy dealing with the little dramas of my own life to speak up recently. My blog, which has been an important venue for my voice has not been updated in several days. But tonight, I cannot sleep. Rehtaeh is dead, and I most stand vigil. I must speak up.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?
As I read the news, it struck me how close we all are to a tragedy like this. Rehtaeh could easily have been my own daughter or the daughter of a friend or neighbor.
The first article I read started off,
Rehtaeh Parsons had a goofy sense of humour and loved playing with her little sisters. She wore glasses, had long, dark hair and was a straight-A student whose favourite subject was science.
What if Rehtaeh went to Amity? Maybe played sports or sang in the musical?
The horror of a teen hanging herself because she was raped at a friends house when she was fifteen and the school, society, and law enforcement officials doing nothing to help is striking; a pretty young white successful girl, with so much to offer.
Yet what if it were a young black kid in the city, with his dad in jail and his mother on drugs, getting screwed by a system that doesn't give kids like him a chance. What if he's in a school reformers want to privatize, where they want to focus on a core curriculum of filling in little dots on standardized test forms instead of gaping holes in his personal life and the fabric of his society?
What if it were a fifty-one year old woman, working in a male dominated department who was being bullied out of a job? Would we simply call it a 'personnel matter' and try to work out an agreeable severance package? Maybe some folks would even dismiss the bullying as boys being boys.
The article about Rehtaeh ended off with a reminder to all of us, with a call to speak up, to do something:
On March 3, Rehtaeh posted a photo of herself on Facebook next to a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.:
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
I just read a question on Facebook, asking, “What would Jesus carry?”
Based on Isaiah 2:4, I am guessing that Jesus would opt for the Bushmaster AR-15 semi-automatic ploughshare.
“The AR-15 is a lightweight, semi-automatic field cultivation device, with a rotating-lock tines, actuated by direct impingement gas operation or long/short stroke piston operation. It is manufactured with the extensive use of aluminum alloys and synthetic materials.”
He might also carry a Glock 19 pruning hook which is ideal for versatile use through reduced dimensions compared with the standard pruning hook size.
Now is the time to take up our ploughshares and pruning hooks as we tackle the big issues facing our nation, like planting, weeding and pruning.
The latest news from the Supreme Court is that they are considering eliminating certain political campaign limits. The ‘logic’ is that money is speech and limiting the amount of money that can be spent on campaigns is limiting the free speech of wealthy individuals.
Following this argument to its ridiculous and irrational conclusion, extremely wealthy people should be able to say who the Supreme Court justices should be. Let’s open up Supreme Court seats to the highest bidder. Since the Supreme Court has used similar logic to determine that corporations are persons, we should include naming rights to the seats, similar how sports stadiums are now being named after corporations, or should I say ‘persons’. For example, Justice Scalia could serve on the AT&T Supreme Court Seat and Justice Thomas could serve on the Exxon-Mobile Supreme Court seat.
Each seat would be held until the justice dies, retires, or some other ‘person’ enters a higher bid for the seat. This could be a short term gain for the U.S. Treasury as the seats get initially auctioned off, but longer term, it would most likely have a negative effect as Supreme Court decisions would be bound to reduce wealthy ‘persons’ tax liabilities to the government, as well as other liabilities and responsibilities to the society they are part of.
At least, this would make the Supreme Court more transparent and help cement Justices Roberts, Thomas, Scalia, and Alito place in history as the Supreme Court justices that have sold the American Dream and all it stands for to the highest bidder.