From time to time I suggest to my readers other blogs/websites that I think might be of interest and provide the links here. Often they are art-related. Many of you click over to them, others do not. But today I would like to make the strongest recommendation ever for another blog read.
Rick and Emily are dear family friends. Rick is actually my brother Chris’s oldest friend, and therefore one of my oldest friends as well. Chris and Rick’s friendship dates back to PS 178 elementary school in Queens, and our families lived a block away from each other. For Chris and I, the Louis house was a seconds-long walk “down the hill” in Holliswood. Rick and his wife Emily recently received some devastating news; their 9-month old son Ronan has been diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease, a rare genetic disorder which is incurable and fatal. I cannot possibly imagine what it is like for a parent to cope with something like that, or how one processes the brutal reality of it. Emily has started up a blog for Ronan called Little Seal in which she is sharing her experiences, thoughts, and fears. Her writing is stunningly honest, eloquent, and expressive. Emily is a writer. It’s what she does. Her introductory blog post is one of the most moving pieces of writing I’ve ever read. She sugar-coats nothing, and sorts through her pain, frustration, and incomprehensible sadness in a way that is brilliant and brave, genuine and intimate. I have added Ronan’s Blog to my blogroll. A profound and harrowing journey lies ahead for Rick, Emily, and Ronan. Love and strength to all of them.
Today we commemorate the Martin Luther King holiday, a great inspirational figure who confronted his own share of trials and tribulations – tribulations of a different kind from what Rick and Emily are experiencing, but still symbolic of the struggles humankind endures, in varying forms and degrees, every single day. Some philosophers would argue that the entire human condition is nothing more than constant, inexorable struggle – struggle for peace, struggle for understanding, struggle for order out of chaos, justice out of injustice, love in the face of so much hatred. Even the struggle for personal happiness can sometimes seem insurmountable. But we seek out coping strategies wherever and however we can. Writing is one of the best. Emily knows that, as do I, as did King himself.
Martin Luther King sitting in his jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama:
The “soundtrack” to the civil rights movement was dominated by gospel and R & B. I am a huge fan of gospel music, and one of my favorite recording artists of that genre are The Staple Singers. Mavis Staples’ voice is, in my opinion, something otherworldy. For today’s “Music Monday”, in the spirit of King’s legacy, this is “Great Day” by the Staple Singers: