Birth and the Renewal of Life

Birth and the Renewal of Life

by Dr. Loni

Welcome to October 13th, the 286th day of the year, in 1902 the day Arnaud “Arna” Wendell Bontemps, an American writer, was born and, in 2010, the day all 33 Chilean miners were rescued after surviving 69 days underground during the Copiapó mining incident.

Arnaud and Chilean minersMagical eventful things happen every day, but to preserve our own sense of equilibrium, we are not able to react to them with all the intensity they might merit. Like many, I have been guilty of not making much of my birth. The days, years, and decades have come and gone, without celebration. My 50th birthday was commemorated right here, with my debut into blogging; significant, but far from the celebration I believe the mid-century mark deserves.

As writers, we have the power to make the ordinary extraordinary and the amazing more magnificent. Along with the rest of the world, I prayed for the miners and their safe rescue, but I could not help but wonder… why do we care more deeply for life dangling at the precipice of death than when it is within our control and the bounds of preventive measure?

birthday_thoughtstoreOur birth and its celebration can be subjected to this same sort of passive, and then assertive, attention. We coo at babies the first few years of life and then, almost universally, remain generally indifferent about birthdays until a person is toward the end of their natural life. Having uneventfully marked my own mid-century, I am calling upon my fellow writers to help shift the tide.

What might happen in the world if we used our skills as writers to advocate for the celebration of life, before it is in jeopardy? The American writer Arnaud “Arna” Wendell Bontemps was a prolific, award-winning writer. While he excelled academically very early in life and showed remarkable talent, he struggled to support himself and family with his writing.

In honor of the many talented writers who preceded us, some able to support themselves with their writing, most not, now is the time for writers renewalto unify and elevate our profession. Our predecessors did not have the Internet, Twitter, Goodreads or websites to help advance their agendas. Because we now have these things, we have a professional responsibility to write with the life-and-death intensity (at least on some subjects) that these times necessitate. Honoring and celebrating our own birthdays, our annual renewal of life, might lead to our offering more insightful contributions about the sacredness of life.

The 13th day of each month, I pause to celebrate my Date-of-Birth-Day, a personal holiday I created. Although far from the intensity of the 69 days the miners were forced to spend considering their own mortality, it is nevertheless an opportunity to reflect. Should you join me in celebrating your Date-of-Birth-Day, I hope your writing will be informed by how fortunate we are to have your unique voice among us. And so it is.

Dr. Loni is the author of For the Sake of My Sanity: One Woman’s Journey of Speaking Truth to Power and Ignorance. When not engaged in a creative pursuit, she dedicates her time to growing the Sisters Reading Sisters organization. Visit and for more information.

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2 Responses to Birth and the Renewal of Life

  1. Reading this article caused me to think back to my own mid-century date-of-birth-day, and I was “brought up short” by the realization that the day actually heralded a major life change for me. I had made a frightening decision to say goodbye to a tenured professorship at Purdue University, leaving my core family behind, striking out with a new (fourth and final) husband to start a new life in Arizona, a land so very different from my home state of Indiana. This last half of my century (assuming I make it from 75 to 100) has been full of the joy of discovery, the warmth of new friends, and the realization that life CAN begin at 50.


  2. ckthomas63 says:

    Dr. Loni, when we think about the harshness of childbirth for both mother and child on the frontiers of our country early in its settlement, it certainly is apparent that we need to recognize what a miracle accompanies the birth of any child today. I seldom reflect on the miracle of the day I was born. It was on the 29th of April 1945 right at the close of WWII. I write my blog post on the 29th of each month because it’s an easy date for me to remember. As Mary Ellen relates in her comment, I too made major life changes around the age of 50. I quit my job of 16 years, sold my house, bought an RV and toured the West and Midwest of the U.S. on my own. Somewhere in there I hopped on an international flight to London for a 10-day visit with a friend. I’m from Indiana as Mary Ellen is and attended Purdue my freshman year. The protagonist in my Arrowstar series of books is also from Indiana and moves to Arizona for a fresh start after her husband dies unexpectedly. Looks like Mary Ellen and I have some serendipity going on! One of life’s small, but happy miracles!
    Great blog post. Thanks! Sincerely, Cheryl


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