(Issue #609) Never Stop Looking for What’s Not There

As you look down the road, what don’t you see?
What confounds you?
What is absent that, once present, will make your community a more compassionate space.

~~~~~

His words made me sit up in my chair and write a post-it note to myself.

Never stop looking for what’s not there.

Monte Wildhorn, an aging and disgruntled novelist, begins his first lesson on imagination for Finnegan O’Neil, an elementary-school-aged neighbor in The Magic of Belle Isle.

Never stop looking for what’s not there.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

At first blush it sounds counter intuitive. How do we see what is not there? Shouldn’t we look at what is in front of us—what is there—and then describe it?

Well, that may help to establish context, but it doesn’t move the story along—on the page or in real life. When we look for what is not there, I believe, we can then begin the journey of creating a better story, a better world. In our mind’s eye we can see what a better scene looks like, a better vision of our community.

What should we never stop looking for when it’s not there? A short list could include:

  • Accessible and affordable healthcare
  • Critical thinking
  • Deliberative dialogues about difficult issues
  • Civility
  • Complete streets for a community
  • Supportive relationships
  • Personal purpose
  • Age, gender, and racial equity
  • A living wage
  • Justice
  • Peace
  • No more homeless people
  • No more homeless pets
  • Mindfulness
  • Mentors
  • Love

In the opening pages of his novel Mr g, Alan Lightman states,

Sometimes, the absence of a thing is not noticed until it is present.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Indeed.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

In this scene (https://youtu.be/2haHRRfKLJ0) from The Magic of Belle Isle, Wildhorn asks Finnegan to look down the road and tell him what she does not see. It confounds her.

As you look down the road, what don’t you see? What confounds you? What is absent that, once present, will make your community a more compassionate space.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

About stevepiscitelli

Community Advocate-Author-Pet Therapy Team Member
This entry was posted in Life lessons. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to (Issue #609) Never Stop Looking for What’s Not There

  1. marianbeaman says:

    I often try to hear what a person is not saying. I’ll bet you do too.

    Liked by 1 person

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