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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Smart And Foolish

Aside from awe, what is your predominant feeling when encountering art of towering brilliance? I veer from genuine gratitude to pure joy to mild despair, sometimes within a span of minutes.

 If it hadn't been a book club choice, it's doubtful I would have ever chosen to re-read Thornton Wilder's 1938 play "Our Town". Although I can't clearly recollect my young-in-life reaction when first reading it, I'm sure it wasn't a favorite - too little Drama. The younger Pat was too literal a reader to understand how much is contained in Wilder's three short acts. Much kinder than saying I was dense.

After re-reading this masterpiece (and letting my mild despair dissipate), a few things became clear:
* Wilder was a remarkably wise 41 year old. I'm also guessing he would not have objected to being called a Buddhist.
*  Requiring young students to read "Our Town" is smart & foolish in equal measure. Smart because it is a timeless piece of art; foolish because the lessons can not be fully apprehended by most young people. Smart because the few young people who grasp its brilliance might be inspired to create more great art; foolish because some young people who read it may unwisely decide to abandon reading.

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