GUT REACTIONS…Is this really the best we can do?

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Plah!  Phooey….

Originally, this post was just to announce my upcoming exhibit, Gut Reactions: November 6-17, 2017; @ University of Pittsburgh, Student Union, Kimbo Art Gallery; sponsored by the Pitt Program Council; Meet the Artist, 6th November, 5-7pm. You are welcome to visit and view.

Now, my “gut reactions” have been triggered by several items which I discovered in print and on-line.

As is my habit, after skimming the New York Times front page today (Thursday, 2nd/11/2017), I turned to the opinion/editorial spread. My gut clenched as I read Jennifer Mueller’s letter to the editor, “Growing Up Amid Fear and Lockdowns,” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/01/opinion/manhattan-terror-scene.html?ref=todayspaper 

Basically, Ms. Mueller described her son’s response to spending part of Halloween in lockdown at Stuyvesant High School because of the danger resulting from the nearby attack and deaths. He said, “No kids died.”  That is where I first became upset.  But, Ms. Mueller’s conclusion was the clincher. “….I am (also) so sad that the world he is growing up in has children accounting for friends to be sure they are alive and safe.”  So, I say, is this really the best we can do for our children?

As an antidote to considering this toxic future for our families, I thank my friend and gallery owner, Sandra Trimble, http://theartistshandgallery.com/   for her recent post. Australian comedian, composer, musician ( and much more, I have discovered) Tim Minchin, an alumnus of University of Western Australia, spoke to UWA’s 2013 graduating class. His speech is tenth on this link, https://www.amolink.com/greeting-cards/best-graduation-speeches.html. Listen to some of the others.  I have.  If not always positive or uplifting, they offer new twists on old ideas.  And, new ideas as well.

In his speech, Mr. Minchin outlines his 9 life lessons in a most unusual and ear-catching way. I will share a few of my favorites.  But, please view the video, or at least read the transcript. Consider Number 7. “Define yourself by what you love” instead of giving in to our “tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff.”  Then, he closes with a true challenge. “Finally, don’t rush….(L)ife is meaningless. It was not a flippant assertion….There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence and that is fill it. Not fillet. Fill it….life is best filled by learning as much as you can about as much as you can.”  Learn about ourselves, our family, friends, neighbors, and the larger world.

I try to practice what I preach. So, I am following Mr. Minchin’s urging each of us to learn-learn-learn. I am devouring the book, WILD THINGS: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, by Bruce Handy, http://www.npr.org/2017/08/20/542469703/sweet-generous-wild-things-is-a-playful-survey-of-kid-lit This is a book that both tickles my funny bone and caresses the child which I still hold in my guts.

So, I guess that my current gut reaction is that I will try to do better. And, I hope that your gut leads you on your own learning journey.  Have fun.