I know it’s the weekend, and most people don’t want to work, but I have a short easy homework question for Musing readers, so please be good kids and answer my question.
I’ve never assigned homework before, so please indulge me this once; I’m happy with a one-sentence reply, or write more if you like. It’s easy, I think, to answer one question with a single sentence answer;
In a sentence answer, how has this daily column impacted you?
My reason for asking - I am fleshing out our Welcome Message on Substack before Monday’s debut on its new platform to provide new subscribers with a preview, background and context. To test this idea, I posed that question to Hazel, and she did her homework, sending her answer the following day:
“Reading the day’s Musings gives me a glimpse into how someone I know well sees the world; it can be enlightening, humorous, emotional, or just plain fun.” HM, Calgary, AB.
Now, that’s only one person’s opinion, sentiments I appreciate, so please tell me your thoughts, what you like, what you don’t like, why you read it and what it does for you.
I posed a similar request nineteen years ago.
That answer, from a terrific writer, friend and mentor, Kathy Taylor – was written at my invitation to be a preface to the book I was thinking about to be distilled from that first year of Musings columns. Now, after twenty years, the book is still an idea without form or outline, without a clear vision of who would buy it or which section of the bookstore shelves it would call home.
It is twenty years of material, safely stored and backed up, with a working title, a dedication to my dad, and a working title:
It ain’t about you, sweetheart!
This generous preface gobsmacked and humbled me when I first saw it and describes this daily habit, practice and ritual of writing my thoughts out loud and sharing them with strangers continues to be one of the most gratifying things I've done.
My gratitude to Kathy goes beyond appreciating her generously expressed kindness, but for another important reason.
Every time I've waivered or felt self-doubt about the value of this process of divulgence, rebuke, angry criticism, or attack - I re-read these as a warm and welcome reminder of a friend’s kindness, candid nudging and consistent encouragement …
Not all friends enlighten, but the good ones lighten - a day, or the sky or your load - they always do.
“Mark’s decision to walk and talk each day to a disparate group of friends, family, business colleagues, romantic interests, and just plain folks can be viewed as either vanity or generosity. Musings began like this…a plan to get outside and walk each day, to turn off the phone, to connect with nature, to exercise body and brain. But he also imposes this daily discipline upon himself to exercise the craft of writing. Writers write. As Mark connected with nature, stilling his often-frenetic energy and absorbing the subtle shifts and nuances of nature, there is less observation of distractions, and more musings. It is said that when a human being is deprived of one of the five basic senses, the others are heightened in a compensatory effort. Mark cannot smell. But he has a heightened sense of compassion, humor, awe, and inquisitiveness. That he chooses to share this with his musing pals is a daily treat.”
So, readers, please do your homework – give me a word, or give me a paragraph, or a simple sentence – what does this mean for you? Why do you read Musings? (if you prefer your comments not to be shared – please mention that in your response).
And please check in tomorrow, the last day of winter and the concluding episode of 20 years of Musings …