Thursday, April 9, 2009

Extreme Etchings 4/09/09

We have left our thumbprints in the thick, moist clay of each other's lives.

Hugh Elliot
Good day to you.
One of the traits of an experienced actor, or, in fact, any artist or thinking person, is a careful observation of the world. An actor will glean images and experiences from human life to use as raw material. Now I find myself doing the same thing in my writing. I often think back to moments when something someone did made a lasting impression on me. Sometimes it was a friend who did or said something that had an impact. At other times it was just a moment observed in passing. Why do I remember some things and not others? That's a mystery.

But an even greater and perhaps unknowable fact is to what extent I have impacted other people. Unless I'm told I will never know if something I said or did stayed with someone as part of a collection of memories that changed that person's life in some way.

But the realization that just as others have affected me without their even realizing it, leads me to understand that I have a responsibility to those I come in contat with to try to leave an impression that is good, not just so I won't appear negatively to them, but also so that I don't adversely affect their lives.

Who knows to what extent someone's behavior may be due to negative impressions they have received over time from people they don't even know? I may respond poorly to someone, not because they deserve it. but because something they do brings up a reaction I once had to something similar from someone else.

It is unforgivably self-indulgent for me not to hammer out on my anvil that gross metal and make of it a positive tool.

As we skip and trudge through our daily lives we are always leaving thumbprints in other's lives wherever we go. We can't help it. If you think about the people who affected you somehow, even if it's just a flash of a thought, realize at the same time that others are thinking of you in the same way. Some part of you lives in someone else's thoughts. It is impossible to always leave a good thumbprint but it is possible to be aware of the fact that we do leave one.

May you always have a song to sing.


Jon said...

This is beautifully written ....and it made me think about how many negative thumbprints I may have left in the past. Unfortunately,they always seem to be more vividly remembered than the positive ones.

Anne said...

I am remembering the thumbprints that are so vividly etched in my mind. These are such wonderful thoughts. I often wonder if my adult children will ever know me as a person insead of only their mother. I've just found you via Lori (Dusty Pages) and Jon (Faux Cowboy) All in all I think YOU are a great find! Fondly, Anne

Gerry said...

Have been experiencing a complete meltdown of someone in the complex that has by now affected almost everyone in here. He almost seems like one of these suicidal men who takes some kind of perversse pleasure in beating up on himself in public. Who sometimes carry this behavior on into acts of inexplicable murder of strangers. All faith in civilized behavior seems to have disappeared in him, which is why his behavior has been so troubling to others who have this same problem when under the influence of some substance well known for breaking down civilized behavior. I have been thinking about how much damage this can do, and how to try to escape the effects of it, protect one's self from the corrosive contact. Gerry

Anonymous said...

Lori gave you an award, so I hopped over to read & says congrats.

I can readily think of several defining and transformative experiences inspired by simple, kind things others have done for me or have said to me. Sometimes just a very little push, hug, word...

pacifica62 said...

A powerful entry. It made me squirm. Today I will be especially mindful of the effect my thoughts and actions have upon others.

Beth said...

One of the many things that Ken and I have discussed and agree on is the impact we might have on others, and that we will always try to leave the person with a positive feeling. This is true in our everyday lives, but we especially put it into play when we travel. We are mindful of the fact that when we travel, we are essentially ambassadors of our state, and if we're going out of the States, of our country.

Hugs, Beth