For years I misquoted Thoreau. I thought he advised a person to march to a distant drummer, when in fact the word he used was different. In my defense, I would like to point out that my misquote is not terribly wrong, because in the very next sentence Thoreau attaches both temporal and spatial components to the basic idea of difference: "Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."
Errors such as this one can be enlightening. A different drummer might be standing alongside you, playing into your ear. But what if the drummer is standing five hundred feet upwind on the opposite side of the hill? To follow that drummer, you must concentrate to separate out the thump thump from all the background sound.Even if you are successful in replicating the cadence in your own movements, smartly picking up your feet in a march, you must continue to listen intently to keep pace.
Wising Up Press Writers Collective and Universal Table are trying to hear and follow a distant drummer. What initially attracted me to Wising Up Press was its emphasis on what it means to be truly human in the face of illness, aging, psychological and sociological challenges. Many publishers prefer books that are easy to pigeonhole from a marketing standpoint (e.g., medicine, economics, self-help), etc. That is not true of Wising Up Press Writers Collective or Wising Up Press, whose anthologies, including Illness & Grace, Terror & Transformation and Families: The Frontline of Pluralism, defy the attachment of a single label. Neither can a single label be attached to my book of essays Keys to the Kingdom: Reflections on Music and the Mind to be published in the near future by the Collective. My sixth published book, Keys to the Kingdom is unusual because it is about music, neuroscience, stroke, physical therapy, philosophy, and history, but most of all it is about the power of friendship. I am glad the book has found a home, and I have found a community.
Writing may be a solitary affair, but to reach readers with the best writing possible, the vision of the writer must be supported by the combined efforts of editors, designers, and other writers. I think Thoreau would have approved of the Wising Up Press Writers Collective. I like to envision him as a solitary individual meditating beside Walden Pond, but in fact he had a broad circle of friends who encouraged his writing and helped shape and disseminate his work.So in closing, I am glad for my error. No matter how distant we may be from each other, the Wising Up Press Collective helps us hear and maintain the beat. Look inside Kathleen's Keys to the Kingdom: Reflections on Music and the Mind.