"Follow your passion" is New Age-y prescription that usually makes my hair curl. It is the correct definition of the life of Kevin Clash who discovered puppets as a little boy, learned to sew puppets on his mother's old machine, withstood bullying at school -- thanks to understanding parents who never disparaged his love of puppets, and went on to a life work that brought him, and millions of people joy and delight.
Kevin Clash lived in Baltimore and was so in love with puppets that he wrote to the people he admired and eventually had an opportunity to meet and then work with the makers of the Sesame Street puppets. To his enormous joy he eventually met, and then worked for, and then became a friend of Jim Henson. He became Elmo when Elmo was invented and traveled the world as Elmo, entertaining children everywhere.
This was the documentary we saw yesterday in my class -- "a light change after How to Die in Oregon" as the coordinator of the course said. It was heartwarming and beautiful to see a person who knew what he wanted to do in life, was supported by his family -- a family of modest means, but one that was loving toward their children -- and succeeded. Heartwarming too was the impression given of most of the people involved with puppets, not only the Henson ones but others -- people who have found work they love and share their pleasures with others, mostly children. Yes, emotionally rewarding work can happen, and possibly happens more than many people realize. Our media is mostly filled with unhappiness -- the positive seldom becomes widely known. Because the emphasis is usually on the negative, far too few people even seek joy in the work they do. They think work is drudgery and are always unhappy with their remuneration. Very sad.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!