Anyone who writes — whether they do it for a living or just for the hell-of-it* — appreciates those individuals who read their works. If writers say they do it for themselves and don’t care about feedback (or sales), they are probably lying.
When I write about a book on More to Come, I try to give positive feedback, highlighting the insights gleaned from these works. If I don’t find the book to be terribly helpful, I tend to follow the advice I learned from my parents: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
In recent weeks I’ve been deeply touched by the positive feedback from friends and strangers alike who have sent comments or notes, usually through social media or email, concerning something I’ve written. This letter is my way of capturing a sampling of that thoughtful feedback while saying thank you to everyone who takes the time to read.
On December 20th, I posted a short piece of reflection after our twins reached their 30th birthday (Thirty years go by in the blink of an eye). On LinkedIn I added an introductory note to suggest that as we work to build our careers, it is too easy to neglect other very important pieces of our lives. Recognizing and celebrating life’s milestones is one way to ensure a healthier work-life balance.
That post brought forward a number of heartfelt comments, and a former colleague’s note really hit home.
David, its as if you were in the room with me 30 minutes ago as I sobbed about the pressure for my family to take a back seat to my work. I feel firmly about the work life balance but I was starting to second guess it today. Then your post appeared on my screen by what I suppose is just happenstance. Know that it had an impact on me at the exact perfect moment. Cheers to you, your family, and your life perspective!
I told her that getting the work-life balance right is hard and I failed many times during my career. But her note certainly brought a tear to my eye.
Yesterday I posted my annual New Year’s reflection on the rules I use for how I want to live my life (We live remarkable lives). It considers the eight rules I developed a decade ago and points toward posts that reinforce their importance.
A friend who was one of the early pioneers in expanding the reach of the International National Trusts Organisation wrote to say that he found the “we live remarkable lives” comment to be “so true.” He passed the post to a mutual friend, along with encouragement to continue blogging.
Another former colleague wrote,
I love reading your annual posts, and am reminded every year how much I agree with your eight rules — particularly the reminder to live with gratitude, and to move six days of the week. Mental and physical health are essential to living well in other parts of your life. Thanks for sharing!
This comment pleased me immensely…and not only because she agrees with my life rules! Another friend told of how he contrived “Four F’s” for his life: Family, Faith, Finances, Fun, and later added Friends and Fitness.
Among the most moving was a friend who wrote to say this writing touched her after a “humdinger of a holiday season.” Her health — ironclad for 55 years — suddenly took a difficult turn, with surgery this week and treatment that was to begin later this month. She ended by noting that she was grateful and thankful. I am also grateful and thankful — more than she can ever know — for her note and our friendship.
When I posted my annual list of the books I read (The 2022 year-end reading list) on LinkedIn and Candice’s Facebook page**, I asked readers to suggest the best, most memorable, or most surprising book they read during 2022. The response was immediate and wide-ranging. Here are the more than 35 titles (and counting) my readers suggested, in alphabetical order:
- A Portrait of the Scientist as a Young Woman
- Aha! 10 Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit and Find Your Great Ideas
- All My Rage
- All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis
- Amen? Questions for a God I Hope Exists
- Athens: City of Wisdom
- Cloud Cuckoo Land
- Demon Copperhead (from two readers)
- Five Little Indians
- Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals (from two readers)
- How High We Go in the Dark
- How the Word Is Passed (also on my list of books and highly recommended)
- Justice Rising: Robert Kennedy’s America in Black and White
- Mary Jane
- No Cure for Being Human (And Other Truths I Need to Hear)
- Play All Night! Duane Allman and the Journey to Fillmore East (from two readers)
- Project Hail Mary
- Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story (from two readers)
- The Acrobat
- The Book of Form and Emptiness
- The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain
- The Midnight Library
- The Sentence (from two readers)
- The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music
- The Thursday Murder Club
- The World
- Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know
- Time Wise: Powerful Habits. More Time. Greater Joy.
- Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow
- Tropic of Cancer
- Unceasing Militant: Life of Mary Church Terrell
- When We Cease to Understand the World
- Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography
These examples don’t account for the regular conversations I have with a range of individuals: a retired psychologist, priests, writers, mentors, a development professional and rabid reader, a former Division Director at NEH, professors, editors, a book publisher, Candice’s childhood friends, my childhood friends, former colleagues, current clients, a retired conservationist from the Getty, a Main Street enthusiast, recipients of my monthly email newsletters.
You all enrich my life with your thoughts and feedback. I can’t thank you enough. But I’ll keep trying.
More to come…
*If you haven’t noticed, I fall into the latter category.