Artists of all media must continually hone their craft and learn from others. Whether attending workshops or galleries, following accomplished artists, or taking classes, we need each other to grow.
The writers I admire and follow enrich and teach me something every time I read their work. Andi Cumbo-Floyd is one of my people. She writes of many things, like telling the stories of enslaved people and how to be the writer you really are. She walks her talk. She is selfless. And she writes from the heart.
I’m currently working through a free course she developed, Discover your Writing Self. It happens through email and posts on a closed-group Facebook page. She asks good questions. Hard questions. She encourages us to contemplate, reflect, and nourish our souls.
She is one of my people.
And, because the course is about writing, and because she is a good teacher, she is transparent. She shares all shades of her writing experiences, including this one, from one of the people (formerly) in the group:
I find your posts to be way too “sugary” and emotive.
He asked to be unsubscribed.
Good golly, Miss Molly…Was it necessary to be so critical? so condescending?
You see that, right there, that mean-spirited and deflating comment about something personal and important. That, my beloveds, is a snapshot of what is just wrong.
It is just wrong that we believe our first job is to make it all about us. We look at life selfishly. One eye looks at the world. The other looks in a mirror. We expect them to match up and make us content.
We spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince people – in bold and subtle ways – that we are smarter or more insightful or right-er than anyone else. Whether it’s the words we say or write, the tone of voice, or the look on our faces, we demand that society be ours alone, custom fit.
But we live in an off-the-rack world.
We hold tightly to the freedom of speech. As we should. As people in a world that shouts down those who don’t agree or do Believe. As people who must speak truth into a lost and broken world.
But should we not hold just as tightly to the Golden Rule? And the encouragement to build each other up with words like apples of gold in a setting of silver? Shouldn’t we?
I’m sure that Andi did not pitch an attitude toward this man. She is far too classy for that. She unsubscribed him without sass and took the stab about sugar and emotion for what it should be worth, and hopefully no more.
But if I had the chance, I’d ask him, “What were you expecting in the course? Couldn’t you have explained that instead of mocking the sweetness so many of us have enjoyed? Did you gain something from harsh words and insults?”
Why did you have to hurt my friend?
This is bigger than unfollowing a Facebook page. It’s bigger than my frustration or how those words stung my friend, Andi.
This is about every single one of us. We need to look in the mirror, not to admire or check the custom fit we expect, but to look into the mirror of our souls.
We are all made of the same stuff. We walk the same earth. We breathe and eat, go to the bathroom and put our pants on one leg at a time. The same way.
Let’s remember that being smarter or more insightful or right-er than anyone else doesn’t make us better. Different? Yes. Better? No.
We are all the same.
We live in an off-the-rack world. Click to Tweet.
Right on target as usual.
Thanks a million for your never-ending support…xoxox
I’m with you Nancy. Those words were stinging.It seems the writer could have worded that comment differently. People will remember the way you make them feel over everything else.
Yes, I love that Maya Angelou quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And thank you, Pat, for making so many people feel good about themselves and the world…xoxox
It is tempting to try and make everything about me. Good reminder that we are all in this together.
In it together while we are FOR each other, right? Thanks, Lynn.
The online world makes it eaven easier for people to be mean, entitled, and feel they can project their selfish, unkind thoughts on others without any direct conflict or consequence. Not that people don’t do this in person, but I feel it is far less likely.
So thankful for all of our unique qualities and talents that build up this works we live in. Much better to embrace those than judge…or just be down right rude.