Writing I Love – We flatten the topography of their lives

topography

I post every Tuesday on “Writing I Love” and every Wednesday on “Movies with Meaning”. Why do I do this on a site with writings themed around leadership ?

As I wrote recently when reworking my home page :

“I write daily posts highlighting various leaders, doers, dreamers, leadership methodologies and related themes that inspire me.

Writing allows me to share thoughts, ideas, insights and wisdom from people I admire, also adding my own ideas and musings synthesized from such inspirations.”

The key phrase there for me is “that inspire me”, and reading and movies often inspire me.

In our busy lives, it is important to leave room for inspiration, whether than be reading, movies, being in nature, being active, talking to friends, listening to brilliant people share their wisdom. Whatever inspires you, do you do as much of it as you wish ? If not, what is lost ?

A key part of leadership is inspiring others, and to do so we must also keep “topping up our tank” ourselves with what inspires us.

So, recently I woke up one lazy Saturday morning , lay in bed and scrolled twitter, then saw a tweet from a thinker, speaker, writer who has inspired me for years, Nilofer Merchant.

(Do watch her TED talk on walking meetings and read “The Power of Onlyness“).

Nilofer had shared an article on Shondaland on “The Sanitized Words of Complicated Women” by Dianca London, talking about how we have reduced the richness of work and human story of the likes of Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde to inspirational memes.

In the article, this stunning line leapt off the page at me :

“We flatten the topography of their lives”

I nearly leapt out of bed at the resonant brilliance of that line.

How often do we flatten the topography of our own lives, live a flat life, look to simplify, give the answer “fine” when people ask how we are, etc etc.

Our lives are meant to be lived to the full, letting our light shine, and also being brave enough to look at our shadow, at the fullness and wholeness of life ! Don’t flatten your topography.

As you can see, I am inspired by this one line, this beautiful writing.

I then flow into thinking “what an amazing opening line for a book that would make !”, and then to considering great opening lines.

I’ll give you just one, and it is from one of my absolute favourite books, a masterpiece of magical realism, where one gradually lets go of the need to understand plot, timelines, narrative flow, and simply surrenders to the fantastical magic that flows from the pen of one of the greatest authors we have ever known.

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

Gabriel Garcia Marquez – One Hundred Years of Solitude

Do more of what inspires you !