I’m composing these thoughts after a talk I had with my flat-mate, who is decades younger than I, on what was almost the darkest night of the year.
As we shared our sentiments and personal stories over dinner, I was reminded of the value of honest personal exchange. I know such exchanges are happening all over because of the many inspired writings reaching me online, though I’ve otherwise been shying away from the media. A recent one of special portent was an essay titled “We Were Made for These Times” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.
“Ours is not the task of fixing the world all at once,” she writes, “but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.” She also says that one of the most powerful and calming actions one can do to intervene in a stormy world is “to stand up and show your soul.”
I’m a working-class girl from New Jersey who grew up craving the cafe culture of Paris in the 1920s, and wound up co-creating an international counterculture in San Francisco in the 1970s. I’ve mostly worked in theater collectives and created productions with communities based on the telling of personal stories, and so I know the power Estés speaks of.
The sharing of vulnerability, truth and creativity leads to great strength. There is a groundswell happening now that is exciting and familiar, and it is drawing us together and shaping itself through us as pieces of a larger picture.
I encourage everyone to have more get-togethers, salons, dinner parties, potlucks, or whatever you want to call them. This means creating safe places to break bread and look each other in the eyes to share dreams, creative works, ideas and simple stories. It means finding ways to reach outside ourselves and to remain open-minded and open-hearted.
My goal is to keep things intergenerational, intersexual, interracial, international, interpolitical, interspiritual and interspecial. Invite friendly pets for sure, and even planetary aliens if you know any.
Michele Linfante lives in Sebastopol.
Open Mic is a weekly feature in the ‘Bohemian.’ We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected].