Anyone remember Robert Fulghum, he of “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” fame? I loved his books when I was in college! At some point I lost track of his writing, or lost interest, but was reminded of him this evening during the ongoing holiday clean-up project to straighten out the bookshelves. I poked around on the internet and found that he has a website where he publishes occasional journal entries, if you’re a fan.
The quote and artwork above, which Fulghum calls the Storyteller’s Creed, were included on a postcard that came with his second book. I liked it and it’s hung beside my desk ever since. In the preface to that second book Fulghum requests that readers approach his book like the game of Show and Tell. He says his essays are like the odd treasures that children bring to school to share with their classmates. He asks that when we find something that resonates strongly – we share it – because he believes that, like children playing show and tell, there are some things that we as individuals attach a strong amount of importance to, thinking that we are the only one who values it, or cares about it, or thinks it to be true. But, he says, once a thing is shared, we oftentimes find that we aren’t alone in the meaning and importance we’ve attached to it.
I tried to remember things that as a child I might have brought to school for Show and Tell because they were so important to me or worthy of showing off. I can’t remember a single thing, of course. But I have to wonder if I were to play that game today as an adult, what one thing might I slip into a paper bag and bring to show off to my friends? What would you bring? What if it weren’t a *thing* that can easily fit in a bag or a box, but instead a *quality* – a way of thinking or feeling or being?
I’d like you to play along with me and share a quality that you value. I’ll go first. I value imagination. I don’t have a picture to show you what imagination looks like, but instead share this quote from J. Ruth Gendler, copied onto looseleaf paper and tucked in my wallet many years ago:
“When Imagination walks, she writes letters to the earth. When she runs, her feet trace postcards to the sun. And when she dances, when she dances, she sends love letters to the stars.
Some people accuse Imagination of being a liar. They don’t understand that she has her own ways of uncovering the truth. She studied journalism in junior high school. It gave her an excuse to leave school early and interview interesting people. She was surprisingly good at writing articles. When in doubt, she just made things up. More recently, Imagination has been working as a fortuneteller in the circus. She has this way of telling your fortune so clearly that you believe her, and then your wishes come true.
Imagination is studying photography now with an eye to making films. She has no intention of working in one of those factories where they manufacture images that lull us to sleep. Her vision is more complex and very simple. Even with the old stories, she wants us to see what has never been seen before.”
Your turn. 😉
That myth is more potent than history.
I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts-
That hope always triumphs over experience-
That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death.” – unknown