When you believe in something or someone you do something about it.
Today I wrote an email to a friend I haven’t spoken to since high school. I was inspired by another friend who reached out for ideas on how to cope with the various plagues of 2020 and entertaining herself in long winter months. First, for this woman I have nothing but praise, she is planning for her future and investing in those things that will sustain her through the long months – new ideas and old friendships. If that is all I took away from her reaching out, it would be a gift. But that is not all, I also was reminded of a dear friend from many years ago. A vulnerable, beautiful, and talented author who may not be writing – so I wrote to her to find out.
Why was this important? Well, to me when I believe in someone I tell them, I tell them deep beautiful truths out loud. I do this intentionally, because I do have a gift with words and I write often but my work comes of labor, effort, and refinement. That is not the way with talent. With talent, your words will silence a high school classroom of overachievers and lead the teacher to ask your friends if they know how you did it. Talent, is twenty years later someone remembering the lines and the power of your writing. Talent, is touching people’s souls.
While I’m sure I gave support when we were younger and close, I haven’t given support to this woman in a long time. I don’t know what her life looks like, the shape of her days, or where life’s journey has taken her. All I do know is that she has, “It,” whatever it is. While many aspire to that gift, to have it and not use it would be a loss for humanity. Not for her, I imagine she lives a happy life that is fulfilling and rich – but the rest of us who need to listen and learn, we would only know the absence or the feeling of an unfulfilled longing. I cannot put pen to paper on someone else’s behalf, but I can show up, I can remind her of her gift and that I am eager to read her words. I don’t know how the message will land but I do know that my gift to humanity today was to inspire her to write, to share her words, and to trust herself and her talent.
As a creative, I suddenly am completely clear on the need for patrons of the arts. Because artists like Cathleen Collins and T. S. Eliot go to work each day, and make dinner, and pay their bills, and might never have the opportunity to craft the stories that move our civilization, our species forward.
As I write it also occurs to me that I write these words for myself, to align my priorities and to say these words out loud. It reminds me that I have these gifts too. I am not on her level, I may never be, but I have witnessed greatness and I am capable of greatness and I am willing to try. I am willing to show up and give it my best. I hope you are too.
Has anyone sent you a message of support or encouragement that landed just as you needed it? Would you find such a note presumptuous or invasive? My hope is that it lands as it should or upsets you enough to do something about it. Do you like love notes from long lost friends? Do you send love notes to long lost friends? Will you now?