Saturday, December 24, 2011

How to Start a Revolution

Vaclav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic, was laid to rest yesterday.

Often we don't find these words used in tandem: president and playwright.

Throughout time artists have been rebels, the outliers, stunning the populace with their "weird" ideas that, eventually, get integrated into the mainstream--as even more "weird" ideas are getting introduced. This is the cycle of which the artist is essential. As a rebel and a dissident, Vaclav Havel changed his country, changed the world--by the jangling of keys, with thousands of BIC lighters held high in the square. By promoting art and peace, lightness and brightness through performance, he took his plays to a wider stage.

Can you and I start a revolution today? The wall of commerce/commercialism/the general appetite for MORE OF THE SAME is a wall, a fence that can either keep us in or we can decide to break through.

I grew up in a home that didn't especially value books or story--when all I ever wanted was to read and invent. I had to step outside that environment and find a new tribe, a home of my own making where if left to ourselves my husband and daughter and I would read and write all day. Okay we also like movies and sitting around talking, and we do own a TV. But the number of books far exceeds the inches of the TV.

How to start a revolution--start by keeping literacy alive, staying open to new ideas, listening.

Thank you Mr. Havel.

People light candles and lay flowers at Vaclavski square to pay respect to former Czech president Vaclav Havel. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images) from the Wash. Post

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