Talking stick 103

“I JUST FINISHED WITH NINE months of treatment for cancer. First they poison you, then they mutilate you, then they burn you. . . . And when it’s over, you’re so glad that you’re grateful to absolutely everyone. And I am. The trouble is, I’m not a better person. I was in great hopes that confronting my own mortality would make me deeper, more thoughful. Many lovely people sent books on how to find a deeper spiritual meaning in life. My response was ‘Oh hell, I can’t go on a spiritual journey–I’m constipated.”
Moly Ivins,
journalist, The Progressive (Oct. 2000)

“WE CAN TAKE IN the visual, we think, with one look, and I’ve often been humiliated by realizing how easily I do this. When I’m filming, in between times when they’re setting up for the next work of art, I’ve got to sit somewhere, and often I’ve been parked in front of something that I would not have looked at twice. But forced to sit and contemplate it, I begin to warm to it and it opens up to me. . . . I can’t think of any work of art that, given time, won’t open up to some extent. It might never be something that we would choose as our first love, but it can speak to us. It’s that giving time, looking at art peacefully, that matters.”
Sister Wendy Beckett,
nun and TV host, Image: A Journal of the Arts & Religion (#27)

“TOO OFTEN, THE MEDIA confuse being tough with being heartless. Just because you have the right to publish something doesn’t mean you have the obligation. I know this well, because I’ve been heartless myself and regretted it. Early in my career I wrote a story that referred in passing to ‘a rather plain woman in a styleless blue dress.’ I got a letter from a man who said that woman was his wife and she was not plain and did not wear styleless clothes. He went on to ask just who did I think I was, and where were my manners? I’ve never forgotten it. He was right. Why hadn’t I just written ‘a woman in a blue dress’? The husband’s rebuke has affected my writing and my editing ever since. I despise cheap shots.”
Gregory Curtis,
editor, Brill’s Content (Nov. 2000)

“THE HYPE SURROUNDING computing is nowhere more intense than in prophecies of its economic potential. For true believers, computing is the business equivalent of Viagra–or perhaps more precisely, it is a 21st-century snake oil, something to alleviate any obstacle to productivity. . . . [The catch] is often the insistence that we must all adapt, willy-nilly, to the demands of a computerized world. Workers unprepared for computerized work will have no one to blame but themselves if they find nothing to do; schools that fail to make computing central to their instruction might as well be training producers of buggy whips or carbon paper.”
James B. Rule,
technology writer, Dissent (Fall 2000)

“WE DON’T HAVE TO LIKE, let alone love, those we tolerate. The truth is that even spiritual teachers do not always like one another; nor do they necessarily get along. Many respected Zen masters and swamis, ajahns and sheikhs, lamas and rabbis have powerful disagreements. Some have a distaste for one another’s teaching or style. Yet the wise among them embody a genuine tolerance, knowing that another person’s reasons may be invisible to us, that another person’s way is as worthy of respect as our own.”

Jack Kornfield, Buddhist author, Shambhala Sun (Sept. 2000)

DISCLOSURE IS A RIGHT, inscribed in the Americans with Disabilities Act and immanent in the U.S. Constitution. It can’t be stolen from us–not by a raised eyebrow or an ignorant comment by a radio talk-show host. I cherish this freedom. And more, it makes me feel a sense of feisty patriotism. These rights come with responsibility, of course: the responsibility to be involved, to be aware, and to vote against those who may tamper with them. And my right to declare who I am is a blessing–not a spoiled child’s 25th Christmas present. It’s the best gift of all, and I alone can choose to unwrap it.”

Emily Carter, author, on disclosing her HIV status, POZ (Nov. 2000)

“I’M AN AGNOSTIC because I’m not arrogant enough to be an atheist.”

Julia Cameron, spiritual author, God Is Dog Spelled Backwards. (Tarcher Putnam, 2000)

“TAKING ACTION IS SIMPLE. Ask your friends if they’re aware that the CEO of Gap, Millard Drexler, made $41,500 an hour last year. And that the young women in Honduras who are making the clothes for Gap work 14-hour days for 50 cents an hour. Then you could each call Gap’s 800 number and say, ‘I like your clothes, but I’d feel a lot happier if the women who make them earned a living wage. I wouldn’t mind paying a little more, but it could also come out of Millard Drexler’s salary.'”

Ellen Schwartz, self-improvement author, Hope (Summer 2000)

Compiled by Kelly Harms, Brendan Kramp, and Sanhita SinhaRoy

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