30 November

Hard Times, Good Times

by Jon Katz

Dogs of Bedlam Farm, on the path. 100 mm macro, Automatic Focus

   November 30, 2009 – I often think of Dicken’s notion of the best of times, and the worst of times, because I have come to believe they go hand in hand. Nobody’s life is perfect, or free of fear, challenge, disappointment or pain. The therapists say we need to struggle, because that is the only way that we can know that we can take care of ourselves, and garner the strength and confidence to live our lives. I’ve already been through a number of recessions, so I know they come and go. There are always new realities – 24 news cycles that pour bad news through our psyches in a never-ending stream, divisive and angry politics, the pressures of technology and overwhelming connectivity.
  Life on a farm teaches one about cycles. Life and death, beauty and ugliness, warmth and cold. Good times have no meaning without the bad, and it is the challenging times that defines us. The best work I have done has been connected to challenge, disappointment, sometimes fear. Pain and fear are great motivators.
  The important thing, for me, is not to quit, and not to despair. Each bad time makes me stronger, wiser, and more confident.
   So many cliches are true, which is why they are cliches. For the writer, every experience is money in the bank, because that is what we drawn from when we reach out for anecdote and detail.
  I prefer good times. I cherish the bad. It defines me.

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