www.marilynbrant.com

Thursday, April 30, 2009

How to Save a Life

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to the winner of my April contest for the Bartender's Pocket Guide and the Lolita Cocktail Crystals: Maureen McGowan --Yay!! (Especially appropriate since, in addition to her own great blog, she's also part of the blogging trio that comprises Drunk Writer Talk. Maureen, make some drinks for Molly and Sinead now, would ya? :-)

Second, the latest issue of Marilyn Brant News, the e-newsletter filled with scintillating facts and fun (hee!), will be out on Tuesday. And, with it, comes the Very Special Drawing just for newsletter subscribers. During one of my many treks to Office Max or Office Depot (I can't overemphasize how much I love office supplies), I came upon this Italian-made fountain pen with six different color cartridges. Perfect for writing notes to friends or teachers with a flourish...or for signing book contracts! My favorite thing about these colors, though, are their names: Romantic Violet, Friendly Pink, Emphatic Red, Reliable Black, Holiday Green and Inviting Blue. Oh, yeah...choose a color to reflect your mood...or just to confuse people.

Anyway, one person will win it on Tuesday so, if you haven't yet signed up for my free newsletter and you want in on the drawing, feel free to join my Yahoo group . It's information-only, not a chat loop, and I only seem to be able to gather up enough info worthy of newsletterdom about once per season, so it's infrequent.

Finally, a few thoughts I had lately as a result of a random conversation:

Another woman and I were talking about careers, and she said, rather smugly, that she chose her particular medical specialty because she "wanted to save lives."

Now, I have nothing against healthcare professionals. In fact, I've been indebted to them on many occasions. And, despite years of pressure to go into medicine myself--which I staunchly resisted, thank you very much--I believe there are few people who can calm someone down (or stitch someone up) during a health emergency like a knowledgeable and compassionate doctor, nurse or EMT.

But I don't think that's the only way to save a life.

I have memories of times--sometimes weeks or months, sometimes entire years--that were on the dark and painful side. I wasn't physically sick. I wasn't dying. But I also wasn't "fine." And the help I needed to get through those crises couldn't be diagnosed by a doctor, poured into bottle by "your helpful Walgreen's pharmacist" or x-ray'ed by a well-practiced technician. During those gray days, I turned first to novels and to music to get me through and to give me the wisdom, perspective and advice I sought. Those books/CDs/cassettes/records were so vital to my survival, I remember each author I read then, each musician I listened to, and the titles of their masterpieces (whether they were world-famous or hardly known) with a gratitude that's immeasurable, even to this day. IMO, they saved my life a hundred times over, as surely as any antibiotic or medical procedure.

So, I don't want to hear from anyone--whether overtly or implied--that the arts are frivolous. They are not. They. Are. Not.

14 comments:

lainey bancroft said...

Whee, a fun new newsletter to look forward to. Yay!

As for the arts, and the ability of music and great movies and inspiring books to save a life, so very true, Marilyn. A healthy, functioning body is only half a life. A well fed heart, imagination and soul makes for a whole life! Well said.

Leshia Stolt said...

You need a "likes this" button on your blog because, well, I like what you said... :-)

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Marilyn,

I so whole heartedly agree- arts can save a life...more than once. (And I have known many a healthcare pro who could not...)

Great post!!

Marilyn Brant said...

Lainey~"A healthy, functioning body is only half a life."--you summed it up perfectly!!

Leshia~One of the many things I love about Facebook is that "Likes" button! :-)

Nancy~Yes, exactly! Thank you...

Robin said...

Great post, Marilyn! Thank you for sharing it! I so agree that the arts can help heal. The mind is just as powerful (if not more so) than the body, and whether it's a wonderful book, a great song, a poem, a play, a movie - things that get us thinking/hoping/daydreaming/escaping - can often be the best medicine.

p.s. I love the medical field and often wish I'd pursued a career as a doctor. Maybe in my next life?

Pamela Cayne said...

Amen, sister. Amen.

Marilyn Brant said...

Robin~I have no doubt that if YOU were a doctor (in this life or the next :), you'd be one of the compassionate ones...

Pamela~Thanks, hon!! :)

L.A. Mitchell said...

I've actually struggled with this lately. Overtly, returning to teaching affects so many more lives. But my dear sweet CPs remind me, as you have here, a good story reminds us of our humanity (and in our case, hope) What greater gift than that?

Ann Victor said...

1) Have signed up for your yahoo newsletter

2)I ALSO love stationery (and office supplies.) I go into a blind buying frenzy when I walk into a stationery shop (and my behaviour in bookshops isn't pretty either!). Pencils are my favourite office supply. I have literally hundreds of them. :)

3) And a hearty HEAR!HEAR! I support your theory on the arts as instruments to save lives l00%! Medical drugs and treatments may heal the transitory body, but the arts...ahh, the arts heal the eternal soul and that, to me, is the more important

Brett said...

Well said, Marilyn! All different forms of art are important & so good for the soul!

I'm planning to go dancing this Saturday night, and I'll think of you while I'm shaking my groove thing (maybe I'll even pull out a few folk dance moves on the dance floor) ;)

Marilyn Brant said...

L.A.~I hear what you're saying about teachers, and there are some great ones out there. But, in my case, with only a few notable exceptions, my favorite and most effective teachers have been authors I've never met. :)

Ann~thank you for signing up for my newsletter (!!) and for sharing this wild love of stationery/office supplies with me! I swear, half the thrill I get in being a writer is the fun I have printing up postcards and personalized notepaper (and I'm SURE you can special order pencils with book info on it! :-)

Brett~promise me you'll find someone to do the Jitterbug or Charleston with (or shock the crowd by pulling out your Troika moves)!! I'll be on the dance floor with you in spirit...

FrankandMary said...

Love can heal. But not everyone has that. I've worked in healthcare most of my life and I can list roughly 1 mil things that have "cured" patients, including a visit from a happy granddaughter carrying cookies & a big smile.
~Mary

Marilyn Brant said...

Mary~thanks so much for stopping by...and, also, for your wise words. You're right--not everyone does have that kind of love. You must've seen so much--both tremendous joy and heartache--working in healthcare. I'm always in awe of people who can bring hope and little rays of happiness to others when they're sick...the world doesn't have enough of that. (The cookies are a good idea, too. :)

Vesper said...

You're absolutely right, Marilyn.