Last Friday at IPSO Gallery at Fresh Produce, downtown FSD, a packed room celebrated a lovably quirky fellow and his lifetime of experiences, observations and reactions to people, places and events in his home state of South Dakota. His chronicling of it all is in a new and innovative book, although calling this work simply a book is akin to saying Annie Oakley could shoot a gun.
The show celebrated the new book by Thomas McGill, “The Owl is Great at Being Silent” and featured art inspired by the book and author. McGill is better know to many as “News From Pierre”, a character from the original and unpredictable radio/TV/Information County Highway program “The Rock Garden Tour”. Suffice it to say RGT is not a “version” of some other radio program, and News From Pierre is not a “version” of a type of typical news reporter. The people involved with and attending the event Friday were not ordinary either. Heck, even the food and refreshments were not ordinary. You could tell you were among people who are special, unafraid to take chances on something or someone they believe in. These are not bandwagon jumpers. They are flex fuel hybrid bluetooth enabled bandwagon builders. They choose to not let others define or limit them. They choose not to conform. For me they’re an inspiration.
10 months ago my body and brain were in a dense fog born of anesthesia and the trauma three surgeries in four months removing cancer from my vocal cords. I could barely function, shouldn’t have been driving and was facing the possibility of losing the voice around which I’d built a successful 35 year career. I loved my work and had been told it was “transformational.” I was told to not worry about work while dealing with the cancer. And a month after the third surgery I was told my services were no longer required. When you’ve lived life on the rollercoaster I have, and seen what I’ve seen behind the curtain during 35 years in media, news and politics it’s a wonder I’m not at this minute zonked, naked, perched on Steve Bormes’ “Tatanka Ska” sculpture downtown singing the Broadway hits of the incomparable Ethel Merman.
Its 10 months later, and a friend asked me, “If you could do any job, what would you do?” I couldn’t come up with an answer. I kept thinking about it, though, and the answer finally came to me driving home Friday night: What I end up doing isn’t nearly as important as doing it in a place that’s INSPIRING. No workplace is perfect, but too many are full of cynical and negative people, rife with office politics and uninspired leadership. Live with that for any length of time and you can feel your soul being sucked out of your body. Then your dropped into an inspiring culture full of teamwork, fresh ideas and support for creativity. You listen and read things like News From Pierre’s uncommonly honest observations on life, and see the art inspired by this unique wisdom, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone when you want to be a part of it and not have it end.
The longer you spend time on this planet the more often you are reminded that life is short and not to be wasted. If you know people and places which INSPIRE you, please share that inspiration by leaving a comment. If you know people or workplaces which value inspiration, please share this post with them and encourage them to add their 2 cents. And if you could use a bit of inspiration, some good laughs or some sage wisdom, check out News From Pierre and he book “The Owl Is Great At Being Silent”.