It's 2:30 a.m. on Friday morning. I've missed my printing deadline by one day, something that I've been down on myself about for the past 18 hours or so, and I had better get a move on or another day may pass by before the paper comes out. And the negativity I'm feeling about myself at the moment doesn't exactly help the writing process. Doubts creep in and one voice deep inside whispers to me to just forget the whole thing.
      But as I look at the contents of this issue, I can't help but have a good feeling in spite of myself. I truly have to be one of the most blessed people in Madison. I may live in a junky, drafty old house. I may drive a vehicle that is beginning to feel and perform its age. I may wear the same style of clothing day in and day out -- people really notice the few times that I dress up. I may have relatively few earthly possessions. And I may work all the time on paid and unpaid endeavors and fail to get my photo on the society pages. But I am one fortunate human being.
       I have always tried to seek truth during my lifetime, an endeavor that is so much larger than I. As I have probably said before in this column, truth is an elusive thing that no one can catch and claim as their own. And it is something that you have to seek always, for you cannot pick and chose when to see it lest you lose sight of truth forever. I have always been afraid of that.
      I've always been a pretty sensitive person, very much aware of the people around me. And for a good part of my life, that sensitivity would mess me up from time to time as I lost sight of myself as I reacted to and felt the opinions and feelings of those with whom I came in contact with in an oftentimes hostile world. But as I learned to control my sensitivity, it truly opened up the world to me.
      I've always felt that God's truth is reflected in the faces and lives of His people and we are all God's children. And once I understood how small I was in God's universe and got over the "depression" of knowing that the universe did not revolve      around me, the universe -- and many of the people who live within it -- actually opened up to me. And the world -- despite the pain and violence and the degradation it oftentimes offers -- became a beautiful place for I could then understand and celebrate the beautifully diverse people within it.
      Now as a writer and a sensitive individual, I had the opportunity -- if only for an hour -- of leaving my world behind and seeing the world through different people's eyes. While an objective, camera lens view of my life would reveal an aging man with disheveled hair spending an inordinate amount of time staring at a computer screen and incessantly banging on a keyboard, my  mind's eye would soar throughout the world to the beaches of Sierra Leone or the streets of the south side of Chicago. For a moment in time, I can feel someone else's life and by the grace of God, put it on paper for others to read and experience.
      I have often told friends that my writing is so much bigger than myself as a person. Now I love people, no doubt about it, but anyone's ability to fully embrace the world 24/7 is hampered by the physical limitations of their existence. But our spirits can soar through the world and embrace it endlessly.
      Through the eyes of the hundreds of people whom I have interviewed, connected with, and felt through their recounting of who they are has allowed me to grow and better understand in a very imperfect way God's truth and my spirit soars to the heavens. Ignorance isn't bliss. It is merely a brutish existence unknowingly impacted by the world around it.
      The last two weeks have been quite a whirlwind as I have interviewed people from many age groups and professions and cultural backgrounds. To interview Marc Bamuthi Joseph and Lauren Woods within a week's time gave me hope for the new leadership that is emerging. To sit in on a very candid discussion by the Nubian Women's Book Club opened up my eyes to many of the challenges that emigrants face in this country and women's views of relationships. To stay quiet and listen is a blessing indeed.
      The greatest challenge in writing the stories about the diverse group of people whom I continuously meet is to keep it fresh story after story. My greatest fear is that I will begin to write in a manner that will blur everything together and make everyone sound the same. But then, I merely have to open myself up to the truth that is in their lives and the world once more becomes large before my eyes. How blessed can one person be.
VOL II No. 4                      February 21, 2007
February 21, 2007
stories/columns

*
The Literary Divide: Bush's surge loses steam as Congress reacts,
by Dr. Paul Barrows

Judge Paul Higginbotham: Leading the way (Part 2),
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Lauren Woods: Knocking on the Council's door,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Politicas de Hoy: Irak el matadero,
por Alfonso Zepeda Capistran

*
Dept. of Civil Rights division heads,
by Laura Salinger

*
Asian Wisconzine: Forum explores culture in legal defense (Part 2),
by Heidi M. Pascual
(
www.asianwisconzine.com)

*
Simple things:
Swimming
,
by Lang Kenneth Haynes

*
Voices: Sojourner Truth,
by Dr. Jean Daniels

*
Marc Bamuthi Joseph: A fusion of expression,
by Jonathan Gramling

Johnny Winston: Budgets and other issues,
by Jonathan Gramling

Ken Black Interview  (Part 2):
A view on Iraq
,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Starting a dialogue on environmental justice,
by Pacyinz Lyfoung

*
China Dispatch: The beginning of the journey,
by Andrew Gramling

*
Indian Storytelling:
Retelling words of wisdom
,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Delta Sigma Sorority's Heart & Soul Scholarship Dance
[Center Spread]

*
Nubian Women's Book Club discusses "So pretty an African"



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Writing and truth