Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Messages (#1) June 12, 2010

“It’s the person, Ma, not the place. If you left here, you’d have been the same anywhere else.” It is truth enough, but I can’t stop now. “If I ever leave this place”–I swallow–“I’ll make sure I’m better here first.” (Markus Zusak. I Am the Messenger. p. 283.)

The narrator of I Am the Messenger has a mother who is unhappy with her life because she married and stayed in the small town where she’d grown up. She wants a bigger life. Her son hits upon a significant truth when he gives her this message. He is addressing the idea that, “Wherever you go, there you are.” What a profound truth that is.

You need to be the best you on the planet, because you are the only you on the planet! If you find that everywhere you go, trouble follows, you need to think about the leader. If you consistently end up hanging out with jerks, why do you keep finding them? If your boyfriends are always nasty, why are you constantly dating nasty guys?

In Grace Awakening, Grace is told, “You are the common denominator in all your life experiences.” Think about that. You are the one single consistent factor in your life. You can’t blame anyone else for your problems, because your response to the events around you is what is important. Action is power. You are the only one who can change your life.

Markus Zusak, whose The Book Thief has become a huge international success, has crafted a completely different book in I Am the Messenger. This much lighter novel is about helping those who need some small intervention for their lives to be improved.

Each of us has a responsibility to make a difference. We don’t have to help everyone on the planet, but we can help someone. We can visit a shut in, write a note to someone who needs some encouragement, drop off groceries to those in need, cover tuition for someone who otherwise could not better her life through education.  We can share a smile and a positive attitude.

It’s Me to We in action.  What will you do today to care for those in need?


Ecstatic Ideas May 4, 2010

Filed under: Commentary,Literature — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

Last year by recommendation of my student Robyn, I read Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. As I read, as is my habit, I dog eared the pages where I found wonderful thoughts. When I finished the book, I went back through all those dog eared pages to copy down the quotations that had struck me as being particularly profound. When I finished, I returned the book to Robyn.

A few days later, I went to post all those quotes, and they were gone! Somehow the computer had not saved them. Only the first two quotes remained. That means all the brilliance of Zusak’s prose was distilled into two thoughts. That is profound in itself.  Of the two, here’s the one that strikes me most deeply today:

“He was…enjoying the ecstasy of an idea, not daring just yet to envision its complications, dangers, and vicious absurdities. For now, the idea was enough. It was indestructible. Transforming it into reality, well, that was something else altogether. For now, though, let’s let him enjoy it.” (Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. p 128)

So what is the idea that fills you with ecstasy? What indestructible idea of a dream tantalizes you between waking and dreaming?

Stay away from complications, dangers, absurdities and realities. Allow yourself to bask in the euphoria of possibility. Where could those ideas take you?

My ideas have brought me here.

Reality is a dream awoken.


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