Monthly Archive: March 2017

The Things I Find–#2

Here’s something I found on Brain Pickings, a newsletter that is a work of love for its author, Maria Popova

Each week, she publishes this ad free newsletter filled with all manner of interesting things related to topics of her choice. Links within each edition take the reader to the sources that inspired her comments. Most of the sources are either in the public domain or available through a public library. So although there are some commercial links, this newsletter is designed, not to sell, but rather to prompt readers to think, perhaps to pursue some interest they find in the material presented.

This one caught my interest because of the recent increase in mass protests related to political concerns. It was the opening lines of a piercing poem titled “Protest” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850–October 30, 1919), from her 1914 book Poems of Problems (public domain | public library), written at the peak of the Women’s Suffrage movement and just as WWI was about to erupt.  “To sin by silence, when we should protest makes cowards out of men.”

Seeing that the poem was written back in the early part of the 20th century, by a woman, made me wonder if I could ever fully appreciate the importance of our right to protest. Beyond that, I reflected on occasions when I might have “sinned by silence when I should have protested.”  That took me a while as those occasions have been more numerous that I like to admit to myself.

I also thought that the word protest most often calls to mind action by groups, making public statements—marches, petitions, acts of civil disobedience—all of which can produce powerful results. But protest can take other forms. That poet, a female writing during the Women’s Suffrage movement, may have marched in public protest. I don’t know whether she did. But I do know, from reading that poem, that she “spoke” through her art, an important way in which protest can be lodged.

The link above (public domain) takes you to a fully readable, free edition of that poet’s work. “Protest” is on page 154. Once there, you’ll find in her art a strong voice raised in protest.

What are your thoughts on the forms protest can take, the issues that demand protest, and the value of the right to protest, personally, professionally, publicly? Use the comment icon on this post to open a comment window. I’d love to hear from you.

The Things I Find

This is the first time I’ve written a “real” blog post. Maybe it will be the last. That depends on whether there’s a good reason to post. There are plenty of words, thoughts, ideas, photos, and all manner of other diversions available to any who use the Internet. The only justification for my adding to all that content is if I have something useful to say. Because I spend a lot of time writing and reading, I do find things that others write and some that my characters may say or think which might be useful. So the theme of this and any other posts I make here on my website will be things I find. They will be things that give me reason to stop and reflect, to wonder, and sometimes to smile or even laugh aloud. Because I am fascinated by how we humans tell our stories, some of the things I find and will pass along may be bits of conversation (like most writers, I eavesdrop) or dialogue from the things I read. I offer them to you with the hope that my “findings” might do for you what they do for me—make you wonder, reflect, or even smile or laugh aloud.

Here’s today’s. Lucy Moore, a friend whom I admire, has written of her work as a mediator and facilitator in Common Ground on Hostile Turf 

She speaks eloquently of mediation as a process. In the introduction, she offers the definition of mediation that she prefers. Lucy attributes the definition to Peter Adler…”what he does is simply help people tell their stories to each other. Once the table is set, the ground rules are in place, and parties take their seats, the mediator’s job…is to help people express themselves honestly and to ensure that others are genuinely listening.”

What did I do when I found that? I reflected on the times I was responsible for attempting to bring differing sides to agreement on solutions. I wondered if there had ever been a time attempting that when I “helped people tell their stories to each other” or if I been more focused on my own version of the desired solution or worse yet, perhaps I’d told my own story rather than listening to theirs. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you. If you’d like me to share more of the things I find, I’d appreciate knowing that, too.

If you’d like to read more from Lucy Moore, go to