I’ve been using this space to write about the power of creativity, and never has it been on brighter display than Amanda Gorman’s recitation of her poem “The Hill We Climb”. If you haven’t seen it yet, drop what you’re doing and watch.
In lieu of something eloquent to say (I’ll leave that in her capable hands), here are some random thoughts that occurred to me in no particular order:
- The lesson of 2021, at least so far, seems to be the power of words. It was only painfully recently that they were used to incite and divide, and now Amanda reminds us that they can be used to inspire and unite. Everything used for evil can also be used for good, if we choose.
- She is 22 years old. I don’t know what you were doing when you were 22, but I know what I was – and it wasn’t that. This is a gut-punch reminder that you’re always enough – old enough, young enough, experienced enough, skilled enough, smart enough, talented enough to do something creative, meaningful, and important. Stop assuming you need to be more. Just do the thing. You’re ready.
- I was captivated by the visuals of it all – she shines like a sunflower on a sunny day.
- She clearly incorporated recent events in her writing. Which led me to realize she didn’t have her poem finished until the deadline, let alone memorized and rehearsed. As a creative person for whom deadlines are stressful, my stomach tied in retroactive knots for her.
- The young women of the world today, my daughter, my nieces, my friends, have amazing, brilliant, talented role models. I grew up in the age of Barbie dolls; they’re growing up in the age where a young black woman Youth Poet Laureate is an internet sensation. Don’t think things can’t change for the better.
I think we need a do over for 2021. Restart the year, right here. It got off to a rocky start the first time. It’s feeling much better now. I’m willing to buy a new planner.