The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia
27 January 2010
What is best in life?
What is best in life? “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women,” says Conan in the 1982 movie “Conan the Barbarian.”
We’re writers, not berserkers and thieves, so our answers are a little different. To finish a manuscript. To polish that manuscript until it shines. To sell that manuscript. To hold our published writing in our hands. To see our friends finish and polish and sell and hold their writing. To read our friends’ stories and books.
Writers' joys are often long to fruition and are not always under our control. Today I’d like to remind everyone of the small "bests" we can enjoy every day and that no one can take from us.
What is best in life? I answer: To hear the birds sing outside my window. To laugh at the silly antics of cats and dogs. To see the happiness of birds after their feeder is filled. To walk barefoot in the grass on a warm day.
To plant seeds. To smell a flower. To stroke a rose petal. To harvest vegetables. To drink a cold beer on a hot day. To eat satsumas in the fall and strawberries in the spring and chocolate in every season.
To go to Home Depot with my husband to get stuff. To touch his hand, his face, his hair. To laugh together. To laugh with my critique group. To read the funnies in the newspaper. To get an email or Facebook message from a friend.
To do a kindness. To receive a kindness. To see a kindness done.
To see fresh-fallen snow and hear the snow-silence and smell the ice and cold.
To strive for perfection. To sometimes achieve it. To sometimes fail and still be happy with myself.
To listen to music. To play music. To dance in bare feet with my friends.
To smell a new book. To write a sentence that dances. To find the perfect strong word to end a sentence or a paragraph or a chapter.
To walk the streets of New Orleans. To see the ancient, twisted live oaks and the flower-filled balconies. To come upon a camel or musician or a parade where you weren’t expecting one.
To walk under the sun.
What is best in life? It is everywhere around us.