Lately, I've been waking up while I'm talking. I'll start a speech in a dream and feel myself rise to consciousness. Recently, I haven't been stopping and in that place I think is called Twilight Sleep, I just keep on talking. It's amazing the angst I've been able to work through without actually having to talk when someone else is listening.
But then there's my shower speech. You know how some people sing in the shower? Well, I practice speeches in the shower. When I'm awake and thinking through my day, I hear myself rehearsing the speech I really want to give.
You know, there are a lot of causes in this world that are important for us to care about. Almost all of the causes that come to mind right now without thinking too hard involve standing up to oppression. Oppression snuffs out so much potential life on so many levels. You may not consider my speech on par with some of the most worthy causes. I guess that's ok, but this is a cause I want to own, not one I can just try on. It's one that makes me practice speeches in the shower. It makes me want to cry hot angry tears and if I'm really honest, have the freedom to say, "You're wrong."
Here's one of those speeches.
STOP oppressing stories. Please. The cost is too high.
Please stop oppressing stories because you think they're too immoral. I understand that we all have lines in our own lives we don't want to cross. But I need you to understand that it is YOUR line, not society's line. And I do think your line needs to be able to stand up to a strong challenge from someone else. If defending your line makes you feel tighter as a human being...watch for it in your body language...I want to suggest your line needs to become a bit more blurry. If your line is not blurry and teenagers are involved, I do hope they are blurring them for you.* Oh, do I have a long speech I want to write and deliver about that one, too.
Please stop dismissing stories because they're for nerds, which thankfully are more in fashion these days. The jock mom who dismissed Shakespeare back when I was teaching it? Ouch, that one still stings. She also grimaced at the "nerdiness" of choirs, but in doing so she dismissed the transcendence that results when we create a symphony with only the human voice. I wonder if she could experience the rich and transcendent choirs at Harry and Meghan's wedding last weekend? Yes, like Shakespeare, choral music can be difficult to understand. BUT IT'S JUST A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE! That's it! When we refuse to at least try and learn a little bit about someone else's language, the us/them divide increases instead of having a chance to be bridged. Even the Queen of England had to do that last weekend.
Please don't oppress a beautiful story or artistic expression with ignorance. Please. My heart can barely take it. I can feel almost desperate for your own heart to receive the gift you're dismissing! But I can barely breathe when you have influence over others and assigned yourself as their gatekeeper.
Don't do this. Don't dismiss stories.
Learn the rules. Study the masters. Break the rules.
The good stories in our cultures, the ones that remain over centuries or from deep and wide impact, were written by the masters. They might come in the form of Shakespeare in the park, a choir concert in a cathedral, or that classic everyone still talks about that you've never tried to read. YOU MUST AT LEAST CONSIDER THEM. Please study and teach the masters. PLEASE don't dismiss them. If there's been lasting impact in our cultures by a work of art, there's a reason. Search for it and expect to find a treasure you have not yet known.
Time to get out of the shower and head into my life's work which sometimes includes being gracious to the gatekeepers who visit the bookstore.
But oh, I also want to make them listen to my shower speech.
What's a story or work of art that you love that others have dismissed?
What's the treasure you want them to know they're missing?
I'm going to share some of my responses to these questions in a future post, but I would really like to know how you might answer.
*If you want your children to create great art, they have to be able to study the masters and then break the rules. Let them as they become young adults. Please let them. They will do it anyway, most likely.