To Kill A Mocking Bird. To Shine a Light.

Bleeding Heart from Thread Magic Garden

I’m always astonished by media that changes who we are. I’ve always maintained that we are artists simply by our human birthright. It is simply part of a human soul to sing, dance, draw, write, tell stories, and share the state and circumstances of your life.  If you are a person who lives by and with your art, you hope that is resonates with others. When it does, it is transformative.

I was nine when “To Kill a Mocking Bird” came out. I know I didn’t see it as a small child. I grew up later with it. And this incredible scene has always been my favorite part. Where Atticus, who has just made himself a poster boy for every ugly name a  white person in a small town could own, gets ready to walk out after an epic fail and everyone he has fought for knows what he did, and honors it.  It’s become, in the way of good art, a symbol for me of the cause you have to fight, win or lose. It still leaves me in tears, but tears of pride.

Good art makes symbols for us. It takes us past ourselves. It reminds us of our similar humanity. It can take sides, but it’s real side is someone’s honest face in full light. It’s the illumination of someone’s truth.

Last night I stood in church at the Easter Vigil. It too, shines the light on truth. It’s done, wisely enough, at the change of the year when the cold and bitter time transforms itself into warm breezes and green new growth.

So my prayer and my hope for us all is to find a spot in the sun and grow with the new life, and to find a way to reflect that truth in the art that simply springs out of who we are.

Happy Easter!

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3 Responses to “To Kill A Mocking Bird. To Shine a Light.”

  1. This is my favorite book of all time! I read it (the first time) in the 9th grade as one of 4 African-Americans in my school of 160 in Birmingham, AL in 1979. It was uncomfortable, moreso since I knew that the children of klan members also attended that school. I don’t know if they ever got the point of that story, but I found it beautiful and compelling. I re-read it often over the next few years.

    When my son read the book for school, I re-read it, too, after an absence of about 30 years. I was once again moved to tears. That’s what makes a classic. Thank you for sharing your memories on this Easter Sunday.

  2. Marilyn says:

    This year was the 50th anniversary of TKAM. The entire state of Vermont used that book as the “Vermont Reads” program book. All around the state townspeople and libraries promoted reading and had discussion groups of the book and replayed the movie. It was amazing the effect on new readers and us revisiting the classic. Whenever I hear the word Scout, I remember the story. I read it in high school. Now I have bi-racial grandchildren and it has even more meaning. It was the only book the author ever wrote, but what a story for the world! It would be nice if each of us leave some legacy that is meaningful, even if we don’t know what it is. Mr. Smith goes to Washington is a similar movie of living your principles though with a less real ending. I sometimes wonder how many of us would have the same integrity to face such consequences and hang in there to the bitter end. I’d like to think I would, but who knows.

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