Archive for December 12th, 2022

Top O’ the Heap

GC Myers- Top O' the Heap sm

Top O’ the Heap— At Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA

Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know. Success makes a fool of you, but failure can come only from great effort. One who doesn’t try cannot fail and become wise.

–William Saroyan, New York Journal-American, Aug. 23, 1961.

What is success? 

I guess the definition varies from person to person. Some view it in terms of celebrity or wealth but there are plenty of people who carry the label of success who are failures as humans. They are, as Saroyan points out, fools who have yet to gain the wisdom this life affords us.

I know my own definition of success has changed over the years. It evolves as I learn my capabilities and understand what I am and am not. What I see as the peak of my success now might be a mere foothill in the shadow of someone else’s towering mountain. But the modest hill I inhabit presented me with challenges and obstacles that made getting to its top from where I started feel like I am standing atop the highest peak.

Maybe that’s the wisdom to which Saroyan referred. Wisdom born of failure gives one perspective. So, while it may not be the grand and sweeping view of the highest peaks, it offers a pleasing and comforting vista.

One that feels well earned. Hope you’re enjoying a similar view of your own.

Here’s song to fit the subject. The painting at the top sort of steals its title from a Frank Sinatra line in his hit New York, New York but it actually reminds me of another of his songs, That’s Life. It’s perhaps my favorite Sinatra song, especially its stirring refrain: I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king/ I’ve been up and down and over and out and I know one thing/ Each time I find myself flat on my face/ I pick myself up and get back in the race 

It feels like sacrilege to play anything other than the Sinatra version of the song but here’s a pretty darn good contemporary version from Shawn James. I hadn’t heard it before and was a little apprehensive, but it hit the mark pretty well.

A success in its own right.

Of course, I am including the original just in case some of you only want to hear Sinatra sing it. Either way, or both, it’s a good way to kick off the week.

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