I’ve loved history and studying anything from a historical perspective, whether sports, religion, music, etc. for a long time. History and sociology are parallel threads that run through most of the reading that I’ve been doing for the past several years. Aiming to read 25-35 books a year and this year, with a late season push, I’ll probably finish near 30, has had a profound influence on me and on how I view the world, or perhaps better, the United States. This self-directed course of study has also helped me enter a post-ideological phase of life that I’m rather enjoying.
Speaking of reading, one of the lasting gifts that my mother gave me as a child was taking me to our local library in Lisbon Falls, introducing me to the way that a library works, and signing me up for my first reading program. That was probably during the summer of 1971 or 1972. Interesting that my little corner of the world and that special town would be so profoundly affected by the events that were occurring at that moment in time that have brought us to our current place in history.
The subject of today’s post is hope. Living without hope is psychologically damaging, in my opinion. Human beings need hope to thrive and live healthy lives. Robbed of that, we all suffer.
So what’s the solution? Certainly, it’s important to remain grounded in reality and I’m not advocating any sort of psychobabble sleight of hand, either.
We can all choose where to look and how we receive information. For most, their information comes from channels that are narrow, offer talking points designed to keep us fearful and divided, and offer little hope and a message of redemption that requires us to spend and consume gratuitously. That’s the message of the advertisers and the flim flam men We rarely benefit from shopping therapy.
I’m currently in the midst of teaching an 8-week class designed to guide a group of writing students through the steps necessary for writing and ultimately, publishing a book. After my first week of meeting my 12 students, I’m pleasantly surprised at the quality and passion that most of them have about moving their book idea forward. For me, their teacher, I view this opportunity as a chance to refocus my own energies on what I’m most passionate about—books and writing. Whenever I teach, I often feel I come away with more than my students do, although I strive to give as much of myself and share my own experiences as a writer/publisher with them. I’m hopeful about my own book project for the first time in months. I sense that it’s finally rolling forward.
So what does all this mean? What does reading, sociology and history, flim-flam men and writing a book in 8-weeks have to do with hope? I’m not exactly sure other than to say, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be.