the Listserv: Chosen for a Day

September 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

I was pleasantly surprised  (and a bit panicked) to be chosen for the Listserv. I mentioned this organization a while back. One person a day wins the opportunity to send out a message to 24,000+ people. You hear from people all over the world and from all sorts of backgrounds.  I still highly recommend joining it.

I didn’t think I’d ever be chosen to write the daily message.  600 word limit to say what I felt was important. There was so little time in my busy days, but here’s what went out:

The Listserv message for September 12, 2013

“Now, before I start my message, relax. Whenever I get the Listserv, I’m in midday mode. My face is tense, my shoulders are scrunched, my breathing is short. Maybe this isn’t you. But if it is.

Relax.

Take a moment and a deep breath.

——

The combination of anonymity, a fleeting power to amplify my voice, and a word limit to simplify it makes me feel both safe and significant for today. I can open up to strangers. I can say something important. I can say the most important thing—if I could only realize and articulate it within 48-hours. But it’s the first weeks of my PhD. So I cant. And in the absence of Best, [though I don’t believe there is one], I leave you something good:

“In the center of [the city called] Fedora, that gray stone metropolis, stands a metal building with a crystal globe in every room. Looking into each globe, you see a blue city, the model of a different Fedora. These are the forms the city could have taken if, for one reason or another, it had not become what we see today. In every age someone, looking at Fedora as it was, imagined a way of making the ideal city, but while he constructed his miniature model, Fedora was already no longer the same as before, and what had been until yesterday a possible future became only a toy in a glass globe.The building with the globes is now Fedora’s museum: every inhabitant visits it, chooses the city that corresponds to his desires, contemplates it, imagining his reflection in the medusa pond that would have collected the waters of the canal (if it had not been dried up), the view from the high canopied box along the avenue reserved for elephants (now banished from the city), the fun of sliding down the spiral twisting minaret (which never found a pedestal from which to rise).On the map… there must be room both for the big, stone Fedora and the little Fedoras in glass globes. Not because they are all equally real, but because all are only assumptions. The one contains what is accepted as necessary when it is not yet so; the others, what is imagined as possible and, a moment later, is possible no longer.”

– Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino

If we are not careful, we can spend so much time building the world of our dreams
that we miss the world around us.
And if we are not careful, we can watch the world around us so intently
that we never enjoy the dream to make it better.

“There must be room both for….Fedora and the…Fedoras in glass globes.”

Now, I treasure passion and purpose. If asked what I see as something beautiful, I would say the sight a person in the act of their passion—be it painting, wandering, debating, laughing… If asked what I feel feeds my depths, I would say the moments that I engage my own passions—but I would also say the knowledge that I am making the world better, even if only for one person. In some ways, these two concepts are Fedora and the Fedoras of the glass globes.”

For inspiration:

YouTube the black&white version of ‘Shake the Dust‘ (Anis Mojgani).

Look at the sky, often.

Where Am I?

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