Archive for October, 2011

Letter From New York October 25, 2011

October 26, 2011

Or, as it seems to me…

There is a autumnal nip in the air; frost has held off but it is supposed to come this week with rumors of snow by the weekend. I’m at the cottage, enjoying a rare evening at home, floodlights lighting the creek so I can enjoy it from where I sit writing, a blaze cracking in the Franklin stove after I had stoked the coals back to life and added wood.

The leaves are turning but their color is muted; too much rain, not enough sun, something? But the vivid, vibrant hues expected of the Hudson Valley have failed to appear so far. Driving down from Albany Airport after dropping a friend there, I thought about how muted the colors were and how muted I have been the last few weeks.

It’s the first time in several weeks I’ve sat down to work on a letter. After I finished the last one, I paused. It was, after all, ten years since I had begun to write these missives, asked by Hal Eisner to describe what it was like to be in New York in those weeks and months post 9/11. Perhaps, I thought, it was time to let the Letters go – perhaps they have outlived their time and their usefulness. Some friends have encouraged me to continue writing them. Some have admonished me to do what felt “right” to me.

And that’s what I’ve been thinking about: what felt “right” to me? Don’t know yet. Do know that tonight, I wanted to sit down and work on a letter, I wanted to tap away on my laptop and see if I could organize my thoughts. And I’ve been thinking about a lot of things.

One of them is “Occupy Wall Street” which has spread into a bit of a global movement though almost everyone is casting about in the runes to figure out exactly what “Occupy (you fill in the blank)” is all about. What we do know is that it has become a political force seen by some as a counterpoint to the Tea Party. Though it doesn’t seem as quite clear-cut as that. While I haven’t studied it deeply, it seems there are some things they have in common.

But then the question to me is this: why haven’t I studied them that carefully? Partly it’s because I have been sunk deep into the new media world, prepping several speeches on new technologies and tweeting like mad on the digital world.

But tweeting and the letters serve different purposes and satisfy different things in my soul. The letter gives me a chance to sort the world out a bit while the tweets are a sequential sharing of things I note about the digital world I think should be shared with those who are interested. Both are subjective but one is more emotionally satisfying – and the one that is more emotionally satisfying is the letter I once wrote on a weekly basis but have been a bit of slacker about lately while I have been figuring out its place in my life.

And while I have been figuring out the role “tweeting” is playing in my life. It’s been surprising to me that every week five or more strangers seem to begin following my tweets because they are interested in what I am passing on about the digital world – which has been fascinating to me ever since I had the epiphany that the world was moving digitally into this to be defined universe that will, in the end, change everything.

So, in the end, I guess I will keep on tweeting and writing my “Letter From New York” because they both feed some part of my soul and, hopefully, resonate with some part of your soul also.

Technology+Tomorrow: Implications for Catholic Producers

October 5, 2011

For copy of the presentation please click here to download.

Letter From New York, October 4, 2011

October 4, 2011

Or, as it seems to me…

Outside it is pouring rain and I’m curled on a couch in the cottage, ruminating on the last two weeks, wondering about what I want to write. As I have been thinking about this missive, I have been thinking of people.

Just hours ago, I heard my cousin Marion, whom I always thought of as an Aunt, given the disparity in our ages, had passed away, luckily surrounded by family, including her wonderful sister Virginia, who is so long suffering, gentle, sweet and forgiving that she deserves the sobriquet: saint. She is one of the most loving humans I have ever encountered or probably will ever encounter. She suffered my mother, in all her moods and wonders, lovingly and with persistent kindness, always a wonder to me, a gift we all appreciated. Marion was tougher and more pragmatic albeit loving and between the two of them they allowed our mother to live at home longer than she would have been able to if they had not been present. I’ll lift a glass to the two of them this evening.

I also thought this week of a livery driver who picked me up this week, a man from Ecuador, who loved this country because of the opportunities it would give his children. He worked fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, in order that his daughters could go to good secondary schools and then get into good colleges. Both were doing well and the oldest had just been accepted into the John Jay College of Justice in Manhattan. He was bursting with pride and I marveled at him; I work hard but driving fourteen hours a day in New York? He represented to me the immigrant experience which is America and which has driven us along through history and made me wince when I think of some of the anti-immigration legislation being made in states like Alabama. I don’t know all the rights and wrongs; I do wonder about it all. We are, all of us, after all, children of immigrants and we should remember that heritage.

And mostly, I relished remembering the marriage this past weekend of my friends, Gary and Angel, two men whom I helped meet and who, in their marriage, helped me understand the institution of marriage in a way I had never before comprehended, viscerally. Marriage, to me as a baby boomer, has seemed somewhat redundant, a non-necessity, something, perhaps, a bit archaic and even anachronistic.

But then I attended their wedding and saw the importance and the joy of declaring love to a community and committing oneself to the other in the presence of that community.

Gary and Angel met each other two years ago. From the first date they have constantly discovered new layers within the other that have deepened their respect and admiration of the other and in that deepening have grown to a place where their love is incandescent – a rare thing to be treasured in the human experience and something that is a treasure to all who know them.

Because they are two men they would have not been able to declare their love in this way until recently and now they can and in helping witness their marriage I understood why two people of any combination would want to publicly declare their love and to incorporate their union through the laws of the land, to make it public, legal, not inescapable but more complex to part. They have a love so profound as to dazzle the people around them, including me. And I now understand why people want to be married, to publically and legally declare their love for one another. I was privileged to have been with them as they declared their commitment and were united in marriage.

So, as I finish this week’s letter, I lift my hat to all of us, living our lives, passing through on the great journey called life, to the celebrations at joyful moments and the acknowledgement of the hard ones – the marriages and the deaths, the hard long hours most of us put in to make our lives the dream we dream.