Be Strong, Be Smart –an excerpt

Below is an excerpt from my new book, “Be Strong, Be Smart –a father talks to his daughter about sex.” The 10,000 word book, published by Booktrope and available as an e-book or in print, is divided into sections. This is the section on:

Attitude
A wise man told me when I was in my twenties that the most important sexual organ I had was my brain. I nodded my head, thinking I knew what he meant, as a twenty-year-old will, but it took me at least twenty more years to fully integrate his wise words into my behavior.
What I want to say to you is that your beliefs and attitudes about yourself, men, and your sexuality will govern you, so you better learn what they are and make friends with them.
I see the openness and wealth of information our world now has about sex that did not exist in my youth. You have access to so many words and images now. You can learn things in a few moments that it took me years to find out, and you can see things that I didn’t even imagine.
And I wonder how our basic attitude in American society has changed, or not. It seems to me we still have some Victorian-age shyness about sex that causes us to hide, snicker, and, beyond all reason and taste, continue to burp out raunchy jokes about women.
While your mom and I have not been very strict and haven’t restricted your freedom very much, we have tried to instill certain values—respect for yourself and others and a healthy, open relationship with us among them. But it seems that we too have neglected to engage you before now about sex, and for that I apologize.
I want you to come to terms with that fear and awkwardness. While I appreciate a good sense of humor as well as anyone, I think it’s a serious mistake to make remarks and tell jokes about the opposite sex or about an act that has the potential to be quietly spiritual and certainly ecstatic. The longer men engage in that sort of exchange with their peers, the more they poison their own experience. I’d like you to learn an effective way to respond, as a woman, to what is essentially men’s fear of women.
So explore your thoughts, and decide what place in your life you want sex to occupy. Does that sound strange? I think we give that kind of thoughtful consideration to food, homes, money, religion, our careers certainly, …why not sex? Do you want your sexual life to be private, open, funny, sacred, productive, spiritual, informed, romantic? Think about it. Do some reading. Talk with others. Expand your consciousness, and slowly build a stance about your sexuality that you will carry into your primary intimate relationship.
An attitude is an ongoing set of feelings and thoughts about something. Of course I’d like to you to experience freedom and joy in your life—all of it, including your sexual life. The sexual phase of your life lasts a long time, and I’m suggesting that you start with a healthy foundation that has to do with your attitudes, values, beliefs, and desires. Those are things you and I can talk about.
A creative, optimistic outlook will take you a long way in your sexual life. Sexual frustration, frigidity, and impotence are definitely related to a person’s worldview and view of self. Do you have a sense of meaning and purpose in your life? Do you have the feeling that you matter, that you are full of life energy and are ready to interact with the world in a joyful way? These questions are important. They address the spiritual nature of making love and making love happen.
That attitude folds into your feelings about your own body and your sexual urges. Get clear, accepting, and strong with yourself first; then you can take that to someone else. There is nothing about your body or urges to be ashamed of. Your body – your only body — needs to be kept clean, healthy and in harmony. Don’t make the mistake of separating the sexual from the spiritual.
One of the most important things I can tell you about sex—and about relationships, period—is work to manage your judgments. What I mean here by “judgment” is setting yourself up as a judge of someone else (or of yourself) and deciding whether others are good or bad, right or wrong. It is an imposition of your own morality on another, and it is one of the biggest obstacles to intimacy that I know of.
In the course of the coming years, you will discover how different you are from the one you love. Perhaps you will discover how different your non-romantic loved ones are from each other as well. Your job is to refrain from judging the differences and appreciate your partner for who he is—just him, there in front of you, growing like a daffodil in the garden. He has his own path, just as you have yours.
Some say that the appreciation of differences is the foundation of intimacy. We tend to love people who are similar to us, but not too similar. We love people who are different from us, but not too different.
The process of becoming intimate is a process of the discovery, acceptance, and appreciation of those differences.
Often what we do instead is try our hardest to change the person across from us, to make them something we want them to be. This leads the mind to construct a kind of self-contained bible of what is right and what is wrong. We might want a spouse who speaks to us in the right way, does the things around the house we want them to do, drives the way we want them to, and makes love in just the right way. If he does not, we will work hard to change him. Believe me, both sexes do this.
Appreciating differences means dropping that way of thinking. It means you do not have God in your pocket, continually informing you of what is good and what is bad. It means seeing another person who has a different past and a different future than you do. He has a path and he will live that out as he wants (I hope), and he is doing his best to do that every day.
A large part of intimacy—sexual and otherwise—means being humble enough to truly see someone else and learn from them, instead of insisting that something be done or expressed the way you would do it.
If you have the attitude “My way or the highway,” you will end up alone.
The sexual act gives us the ultimate opportunity to let our judgments fall away and drop into pure appreciation and joy. If you are in your head, constantly thinking about how big or small or pretty or ugly you are, or evaluating each part of your partner’s body, you will miss that opportunity. The gift you will give yourself and your partner is the acceptance of who you are, just for yourself—not in relationship to anyone else—just who you are. In other words, you are not in this life solely for him, and he is not in this life solely for you; you both are here to live your own lives and be companions on a long journey.
Sexual joy is about letting go, surrendering yourself to a union that is more than both of you, and you can only get there by surrendering your ego, your insecurities, your self-importance, and your judgments. When you can do this for yourself, you will find it a lot easier to do for others.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Freedom people, Freedom

Freedom!

If there one word that sums up the reason America is a nation, it’s got to be this one.

But the current attitude regarding freedom among libertarians, red staters and
other conservative camps is mind bending. I’m just going to call them ’the right’ so I can use two words. The right seems, on the one hand, to want less government interference in our lives. That was the thrust of the original Tea Party slogans. But if that is inconvenient, they want the government to intervene so that a man cannot marry a man, a woman cannot marry a woman, a buyer can decide whom to sell goods to and persons in general cannot do what they want in the privacy of their own bedroom.
Religious beliefs cover a lot of ground. It gets pretty damn weird when you think of some of the implications of refusing a person something because of what you believe.
What if my religion unequivocally states a man shouldn’t eat red meat? What if my minister tells me that it’s absolutely forbidden to hang out or do business with someone who symbolically eats the body and drinks the blood of their savior? What if I believe it’s wrong to worship snakes? (I’d have to check for holes in your arm.)
I mean, we could eliminate a lot of business here people. We could have Wal-Marts just for Muslims, Starbucks for Christians and Burger Kings for Jews. We could have airlines for the Amish.
If we, in any way, decide to refuse service or goods to a person because of our belief system about the world or any god, we are trashing the one concept that must go along with freedom. That word is tolerance.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SPLITTING WOOD

My brother and I used to say that wood will warm us twice—once in the splitting and again in the burning. And it did, as we strained and dripped sweat, maneuvering our saws, axes, wedges and mauls to put up some firewood on a snappy autumn afternoon.
In the process of cutting (really ‘butchering’ is a better word) a 100-year-old oak that had been split in two by a massive charge of lightening in a summer storm, we discovered the tenacity and obduracy of this wood. One of our splitting wedges would disappear into the middle of the oak, swallowed up in a short piece of the trunk and nearly followed in by our maul. We drove another wedge into the heart of the tree and it too was lost among the ligaments and strands of the core of this tree so long in the making. A third wedge followed.
Finally, the 18-inch piece would yield, split and pulled apart, and the wedges would flop out onto the grass like small animals that had been taken into the mouth of a large beast and released only when the beast died.
We went on as long as our arms and backs would take us and realized that we could make a winter out of this, that we could swing and split and groan day after day for months and not finish off this great tree, this quercus quercus. And we did not. But there were more cold days to come and more occasions for splitting wood.

All days are good for splitting wood. Warm, with my shirt off, collecting sun and throwing off sweat. Snowing, in a warm hat and good gloves. Crisp and clear while the sounds of the ax finding its home in the middle of the wood ring through the trees standing around me. Ah the sound; the swing, the downward flight, then the sound.
The ax, balanced easily in my hands and then swung back in a graceful arc behind my back, over my head, racing down toward the cylinder of bark and watery tissue, then “Thok.” That is a good solid sound and there is a tearing too, as the wood separates, divides in two and drops dead on each side of its companion piece.
And the smells. In the fall, the earth is damp and sends up its own sweet perfume that must compete with the pungent oak, the sweet cedar or the fresh fir. Each entry of the steel into the wood brings a breath from the tree. Often I stop and hold the split wood close and breathe it deep into my lungs. Each day outside splitting wood bring some new sound, smell or feeling. It may be the ax, the maul, the wet leather gloves, the noisy jays that review my performance, the damp leaves on the ground or the sun in the dry dust.
There is no better day than this one– a chilly, foggy morning with no promise of sun. There is enough mist in the air to wet my hair and color the wood more intensely. It is a weekday, quiet and still. Several alders have been felled alongside a seasonal creek and then sawed into lengths that will squeeze through the fireplace door. Gray and green bark, dotted with black and white fungi, frames a wet orange circle of wood. No two pieces are the same.
Small dark branches, knots, scars, small limbs, slots from the chain saw and crotches in the trunk give each round a different look, a different invitation to be split. They stand each in their own way on the splitting block, which is one of their own, and ask for their own angle, stroke and strength in the down stroke.
The splitting wedge, eight pounds of steel hung out on the end of a hardwood handle, employs considerably less nuance than the sharpened ax. The wedge depends, like a Sumo wrestler, on its weight and bulk. It is neither polite nor clean and does not apologize for the crude way it divides the alder down the middle. Alder, compliant, fresh and innocent compared to the old oak, surrenders easily to the repetitive swing of the maul. Again and again, the short log divides and falls easily to the wet grass.
Thok.
Thuk.
Whok.
No other sound. The dark wet bark parts on each side of the steel and reveals a clean, white middle that nearly glows in the morning mist. The shiny green grass, laden with rain, surrounds a growing pile of gray, black, orange and creamy white. These are the short strokes on the artist’s palette.
My breathing becomes steadily heavier and louder with the rhythm of the steel maul. I lay it down alongside the wood. Then I begin to grab the slippery, short pieces of wood and toss them into the dull blue wheelbarrow and they “thong,” “sprong” and “thunk” against the metal sides.
I dream, as I push the wheelbarrow across the field, feeling the water run down my nose and cheeks, feeling my heart beat. I dream of the evening and of laying the fire, of hearing the first crackles as the small pieces catch. I assure myself that I will remember each piece I put on the fire and how it split in two and how it fell.

John Thomas Wood

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

REMEMBER:

C A L M

O  P  E  N

STRONG

A  W  A  R  E

Remain calm amid the high emotion and drama of the rest of the world. Be at peace and accept what is. Maintain the clear pool at your center.

 

Open yourself to your own deep experiences. Be honest and straight with others. There is no reason to hide. Experience the freedom and the energy of transparency.

 

Know and hold to yourself. You can be powerful without being rigid. Dwell in what you know and maintain your mental, emotional and physical strength.

 

Deepen and broaden your awareness of yourself and the world around you. Awareness is the necessary first step to change. Keep your senses sharp and receptive. Listen and watch.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A work in progress

Understand that everything is a work in progress.

That is just another way, maybe, of stating Darwin’s statement about evolution, but he was not thinking about relationships, work teams, organizations or politics. I am.

I think a lot about love and power. I write about them and I have recently – at this latter stage in my life – rediscovered the fact, the idea, that love is a work in progress.

Maybe you think it’s foolish to have believed anything else, to believe that love, once put in place, would stay there. If you worked hard to plan and build a house on a piece of land, you expected the house to stay there. Well, maybe not forever, but you get the idea.

But love is not like a house on a lot. If you think of all the metaphors that have been composed about love, not many of them are static. Love is not a rock. Love is not the sky. Love is not the Lincoln Memorial.

Like it or not, love is alive. Love is more like a river or a primrose. It is born, it changes and it dies. How could it be different? Everything is the universe has a cycle, even the universe itself. It has a big bang, it shrinks, it grows and, sooner or later, it implodes.

At this point you may think the subtext is discouraging: Don’t expect too much, don’t expect love to last. Maybe. Expectations are hard to manage and maybe your love will last all of your life and maybe not. My message, today, is best said by someone I have admired for a long time:

be of love(a little)

More careful

Than of everything…

 

Cummings wrote that and Sister Corita Kent plastered it on a poster and I have read it and re-read it for fifty years.

Love does need nurturing. It needs attention, tending to, fertilizing, honoring, repotted and guided to change. It certainly is admirable when you can do this to and with another person, but I am focused on doing these things to love itself – the way you love and the love that in that space between you and another person. That process needs care.

It’s very possible that love can die prematurely, for a hundred different reasons: neglect, strangulation, abuse, imbalance—you know the reasons, you know the feeling when that space between you is polluted, muddy and tense.

One of the saddest things about our education is we don’t have any training in love. We seem to learn by osmosis, by watching our parents, by meeting someone who knows a way of loving we don’t or — most of us – by trial and error.

From the chair I sit in today, love is still a little mysterious. There are still doors to be opened and things in the corners that need a light shined on them. Love is still a work in progress, a long trip that is often exciting and frequently boring. Sometimes there’s a rest stop, sometimes a dinosaur museum, a beautiful sunrise and an afternoon of singing along with the radio.

Love requires change. It needs a balance between growing on its own and being tended. What I wish for you and me is that we have the opportunity to practice this ongoing, sometimes elusive, often sacred space between ourselves and another person.

What else is there?

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

BE STRONG, BE SMART

Following is the beginning of my new book, published by Booktrope in Seattle.
In coming weeks I’ll publish excerpts and I welcome your comments.

BE STRONG, BE SMART

A father talks to his daughter about sex

PREFACE

I am the father of three children and, for reasons I cannot explain, have not talked to any of them about sex. I wish I had of walked bravely into those kinds of conversations and might of, if they’d asked for them. I had a good open relationship with all three of them and can’t think of a concrete, specific reason why I did not share more. No excuses, but maybe regrets.
It’s something that is missing in our culture: a broad and loving dialogue about sex between children and their parents, but I can’t assign blame to our society. The responsibility lies at my feet. While we have had great talks about a lot of other things, the deeper conversation about sexual behavior has gone wanting, a product of my embarrassment, I guess, and that of my kids too.
What is the root of that embarrassment? I asked myself that more deeply as I began this “assignment” I’ve given myself. I suppose it’s shame, some kind of leftover Victorian shame about the body and it’s natural functions and the various acts of sex that most people still think are very private. Even after the so-called sexual revolution and the explosion of information and images available to young people, a meaningful dialogue between parent and child is still lacking in most households.
And so, here is this minor effort at correcting that in my family. This, I hope, will begin a dialogue, although, at this writing, I really don’t know if anyone of my kids will carry on the conversation with me. I may be suspect as a source or it may be, in the end, just too embarrassing to talk with their dad about such matters.
This is not so much an attempt at sex education as it is a statement about how I would like to see my daughter, in particular, treat herself and the men in her life and how she will get what she wants. If I have any wisdom at all, I’m going to try to stumble through the awkward moments and pass it along. The remainder of this is addressed to her, with love.
Maybe you could call this the conversation I wish I’d had.

A Beginning

Here is what I’ve been waiting to tell you about your relationship with the man in your life. This is centered on sex, but not exclusively, as you will see. Even though I’ve really wanted to talk with you about this, I have not found the courage to be as open and explicit as I will be now.
I have a belief, something I learned from a love of mine a long time ago, that my sexual life is a microcosm of the whole of the relationship with my beloved. How we are in our sexual behaviors and attitudes is a direct and accurate reflection of the power, love, fear and communication in our ongoing, everyday relationship. You will see this belief reflected in what I will share with you in this volume.
At the risk of embarrassing you, some of what I write here will be about my personal experience. And some will be lessons I have learned, from a variety of sources, that have rung true to me but I have not necessarily experienced first hand. The difference between what I’ve experienced and what I’ve learned from other sources is not really important, because anyone other than you will take what they will from the words alone. I just hope it rings true for you.
You didn’t ask for this to be written, but, as I am nearing the middle of my life, a certain feeling of responsibility and duty rose in my chest. I am sure this is not only about you, my daughter, but is also directed to the men who will meet and bond with you and eventually be the father of your children. So this is for you and for them and perhaps for young men and women everywhere who are at, or near, the starting point of their sexual lives.
So let’s begin.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A crisis reveals a system

 A crisis reveals a system.

You will see this played out on the evening news nearly every day. A hurricane, rising gas prices, child abuse in a school, a scandal in government – each event/crisis will lead to a closer examination of the system which gave birth to the crisis. Reporters will swarm and dig and report to the public how public agencies responded, how we are too dependent on foreign oil, why children are left alone during hours of the day and how lobbyists influence government. The crisis itself will open a door to understanding of a system that was heretofore hidden or misunderstood. Likewise in an organization, a breakdown, a failure or a threatening crisis will draw immediate attention and attempts to discover how things happen –how the I.T. department really works, why distribution is inefficient and how advertising is completely off base.  A healthy organization will not live the “unexamined life.”   Leaders will maintain a vibrant curiosity about how things work, how things are changing and continually communicate these things to everyone who needs to know. Do not accept the status quo in any part of your organization. Do not wait for the crisis to reveal to you what is not working.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dignify the Ordinary

“He did each thing as if he did nothing else.”
Charles Dickens

Thirty years ago I read an article about a coffee house in Vienna and there was a sentence in the story that has stuck with me all these years: “The Viennese café dignifies the ordinary.”
What a lovely idea, to dignify the ordinary. I then began an application of the phrase to my own life.
How could I dignify the everyday, ordinary objects and behaviors that are part of my experience?
What is it that I do, see, hear, taste, touch and smell over and over again that I do not celebrate?
Not only do I not celebrate them, I virtually ignore them, relegate them to that dull slave of habit. What a waste of time and energy, what a misapplication of attention. What would happen if I brought my full attention to everything I was doing: driving, shaving, dusting, washing the dishes and, of course, having a conversation.
Later in life I learned that this concept is a part of Buddhism, the idea that we can learn to grant dignity to everyday objects and “chores.” Essentially we can elevate the “lowest” tasks to the highest order. The simple and mundane act of sweeping can capture our attention, our awareness in a way that enlightens – brings into light – the task, the broom and the sweeper.
Work is a great arena in which to practice this art because much of work is bound up in repetitive tasks and carries a familiarity with what we are doing day in and day out. We get good at what we do and then it gradually sneaks into habit and routine and can become, at some point, mindless.
Why not, when you consider it, honor to the things we spend so much time on? What we usually do is perform without attention. This is our duality, our ambivalence. We act and we think of something else – thus we are pre-occupied –something else is residing in us while we are living out our lives.
Then this very habit – that of preoccupation – spreads as a virus into the rest of our lives and now we are nearly always doing two things at once. Our bodies are performing a task and our minds are galloping along like wild dogs in some other meadow.
We think we can efficiently pat our heads and rub our stomachs at the same time, and we even think we must. The truth is when we do both of these at the same time we do neither well and we are not at peace when we do. Attention to two things is distraction which is fragmentation of purpose and focus, which is energy divided. The wise woman centers herself as she addresses a task, or a group, and devotes all of her energy to what is exactly in front of her in that moment. The result: she is more efficient, more effective and more at peace.
This is a source of satisfaction.
John Wood

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Essence and survival

ESSENCE AND SURVIVAL

For those who think about their own lives, to live out of one’s essence is a conscious goal. To live from one’s basic, necessary, natural essence would seem to be the ideal — simple, yet attainable by a small percentage of people.
Most of us would like to live from that core of our being, to be ourselves, rather than doing tasks that have little meaning to us. Most of us would like to be self-directed rather than react to the whims and desires of others.
What exactly is an individual’s essence and how can we fully “remember” it and fully embrace it? Moreover, does a group or an organization have an essence? How can a family, a company, or a government act from essence?
Let’s start from the belief that all human beings are born with similar urges and desires: to survive, to feel safe and secure, to affiliate with others, to have some significance in the world and to live out who they are. In some areas of psychology it is believed that we all have a “self-actualizing tendency,” that is, we all have the urge to manifest, or live out, the essence of who we are to the fullest.
If we all have this innate urge, why don’t more of us live it out? That seems to be the $64,000 question.
What if we look at essence as the core of who you are and that core is very present and exposed at birth. As we experience the world — trying to meet our needs of eating, feeling safe, bonding, feeling significant, accomplishing something, learning more about the world – we also experience frustration, being ignored, feeling pain and being punished. All of us experience satisfaction and frustration, pain and pleasure, reward and punishment, love and fear, to some degree.
We can look at these “negative” events as layers of insulation, like layers of bark on a tree, that eventually began to cover our core, our essence. As we grow and learn about our world these layers of insulation become patterns of responses, habitual ways of acting and reacting in relationships.
Fear is a good example of a “layer of insulation” that becomes a pattern. Fear can be said to be a prediction of future pain based on pain that we have experienced in the past. All of our fears that we now have in relationships have been learned. As an adult in a marriage, we respond with fears that are based in our childhoods. We can say that we are responding from that layer of insulation as a way of protecting, or defending, our core, which in the moment seems vulnerable.
In this light, many things can be seen as protection, or defensive patterns that keep us from fully being who we are. Some call these defensive patterns “survival mechanisms” because subconsciously we believe our survival is at stake when we resort to them. Anger, suspicion, hyper-vigilance, confusion, retreat, conflict avoidance –all these, and more, can be patterned behaviors that serve the purpose of defending our core or, put another way, stifling our essence.
We were put on this earth to love and to be powerful. Anything else, while we may justify it and believe we need it, is a distraction from that journey to love and power.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Give me something

You’ve heard the (by now) cliché: perception is reality.

How we perceive something is what we act on. How someone else sees me forms her “reality of me,” though it might not match my own view of myself.
You could say that perception is made up of the glasses and the earphones that we wear all the time. What we hear, see, taste, smell and feel is continually shaping and governing what we think, feel and want for ourselves.
Our perception is shaped by many things: our parents, our physical environment, our education, our genes, our culture, the things we put in our bodies, and the things we choose to read and watch.
We watch television. A lot. We watch TV news and TV news, like it or not, goes a long way toward shaping our perceptions of our neighborhoods, our cities, our country and our world. If we stretch the point, we could say that we become what we watch. (Scary isn’t it?)
I believe it is terribly important to be aware of the mindset and the perceptions that are in place in television and in TV news. If television news were a man standing on a street corner selling us something (and it is), we would want to know something about the man and why he was doing what he was doing. Consider the source.
Let’s talk about TV news for a moment as if it were a man. First of all, he is very visual. He wants to show us something and the visual, when it gets down to it, is more important than what we hear. This is different than a newspaper. Take a typical winter “story” about an ice storm. On TV we will see, over and over again, pictures of cars sliding down streets, crashing into other cars. And we apparently can’t see it just once; we see the same shot five or six times. In a newspaper we would read about the ice storm and closed streets and the number of injuries or death, but we wouldn’t read the sentence “four SUV’s slid down a side street and sideswiped other cars.”
He’s visual, above all. He shows us.
Second, he wants to be important to us and he wants what he says to matter. Terribly. TV journalists (and to some degree all journalists) want what they say to be so important that we can’t not listen or watch. How could it be different? What if what they showed us was completely irrelevant? What if what they said didn’t matter to anyone at all?
So there’s this guy on the street corner who is a very visual guy. He’s well dressed, maybe got some bright colors on and he’s certainly more attractive than your average Joe. And he has this heightened desire to be important to us. Maybe we’re listening to him, watching.
Then, interestingly enough, we notice a woman on the corner across the street. And then a guy on the other corner, then a fourth. Then there are men and women on the side street. All of them waving their hands and raising their voices, striving to get our attention, striving to show and tell us something that will impress us in some way.
There is, lo and behold, competition. And, we discover, these men and women are employed by a company that is making lots of money by grabbing our attention and impressing us. The stakes are raised.
We might listen to one of these broadcasters more than another. One might convince us that she has “breaking news,” a phrase that, if any has, has become obsolete from abuse and overuse. Other words are in vogue for a while and become meaningless from overuse. That word for 2010-11 is “huge.” And the use of that word underscores the point. Imagine someone standing in front of you and repeatedly trying to convince you that what they’re about to say is HUGE. “This is huge folks, listen to me.”
OK. These TV people are visual. They want very much to be important. And they compete for money. Let’s add one more wrinkle that shapes the perceptions of our guy on the street corner.
They do not take part, these news people. They enter a neighborhood, they record and they leave. They are looking for a story, and not a small story. They are looking for a story that will impress a large number of people. If it does not impress a mass audience they are not interested.
I’ll give you a recent example.
Some time ago a pipe bomb was discovered in a backpack on a street in Spokane. It had been left there along a parade route and luckily discovered by municipal workers before there was any explosion. NBC had a brief story on the discovery and Bryan Williams said as the pictures of the backpack faded away:
“(This) could have been a major news story.”
But it wasn’t. Ta ta Spokane. See you later. We just heard of something that may be huge down the street.
Nothing visual. Nothing important. Nothing our competitors will talk about. We’ve lost interest.
These are the people we listen to and watch. These are the people who have something to do with forming our perceptions, with shaping our worlds.
Here are my questions for the guy on the corner in the nice suit with the colorful tie:
What have you added to my life?
What can I learn about my fellow human beings by you telling me this?

How have you enriched my democracy, my community by showing me these pictures?
Stop showing me the darkest side of the human race. Stop scaring the shit out of me on a regular basis and help me get better. Help all of us get better. Give us something we can use. That would be huge.

John Wood

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment