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.
Magical 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?
Our 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 to 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 DrLoni.com and SistersReadingSisters.com for more information.