“It takes a long time to become young.”
“Life is playfulness. We need to play so that we can rediscover the magic all around us.”
“I TAKE THIS GIFT ONLY TO GIVE IT AGAIN.”
Simplicity can often be mistaken for a lack of substance. In quickly glancing at poetry or prose, briefly listening to a piece of music with a rush to judgment, we may deprive ourselves of a life-changing experience. “It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you deeper understanding.” Vincent Van Gogh Spending any time with the High Art Michael Jackson created, we soon realize that he gives language to our deepest emotions. Sometimes that language is in the form of words, sometimes it is in the form of music, and, sometimes it comes to us in the beautiful body movement of dance. All are stacked like clouds, created as if done with layers of oil paint…dripping with wonderment and magic. Each deceptively simple, but surprisingly complex, sharing Michael’s ultimate goal…LOVE. It is innocence wrapped within complicated human struggle…reaching for truths, understood in childhood, but lost over time. Defying skepticism and cynicism, Michael’s deceptively simple foundation of love dedicated itself to reaching and keeping the wonder of childhood, harnessing turbulent emotions with a childlike wisdom…pleading with us to rededicate ourselves to the wonders of being a child.
Michael’s art was thematic in scope and complicated in meaning. At the surface level, there is always the pure joy of his musical genius. The tapestry of sound weaves itself into our consciousness and thrills us. With each listen, we are gifted more. Moving deeper inside the sound and words, we start to understand the message…simple at first, complexities growing with each hearing …companionship and togetherness of support, pivotal. The music is everything. The message is everything. Action is required. However, at the core of it all lives magic and mystery and wonder…those characteristics of childhood. Tackling human struggle with a child’s heart. It does take a long time to become young and Michael was appealing for humanity to understand that the “innocence and wonder of a child’s heart are the seeds of creativity that will heal the world.” Teachable moments that come from child wisdom, taught to adults…revealing the forgotten child living inside. Simple and highly complex. What a beautiful paradox.
Brenda Jenkyns has just published her new book SMILE EFFECT, beautifully illustrated by Cecile Duteil. Having spent a career with children, one of my favorite memories is STORYTIME. Those who have the stunning gift of being authors of children’s books provide our world with astounding adult opportunities. Michael often referred to the importance of taking the time to read to children. Not only is this massively important to the child’s learning, it is equally critical for the adult. Teachable moments for both.
Brenda’s book tells a delightful story of an eleven-year-old boy struggling with life. Michael is his imaginary friend, and, being Michael, he is specific in his messages to Wylie. Imaginary playmates invented from the yearning for shared creative adventures. Teachable moments for both children and adults, whose child lives inside. At first glance, the simplicity of the story may be all that is seen. But, as with all of Michael’s creations, Brenda has a universal theme…collectively coming together with love. A simple smile leads to a ripple-effect that can change our world…all starting with one person.
“It’s the butterfly effect,” Michael said.
“What is?” Wylie said.
“It’s the answer to your question about how smiling can help to change things. It means that whatever one person does, affects everyone. It’s like dropping a stone in a pond. The stone makes ripples on the water that go all the way to the edge of the pond. If you had your feet in the water, you might not know where the ripples came from but you would see them and feel them.
It happened all the time at my concerts. There were thousands of people, sharing joy and love. There was a connection between all of us there. It was the BEST feeling ever!
Music can do that. When people feel good, they are kind to one another, they help one another, they have the courage to follow their hearts and do what they love to do. Smiles work that way too. They make a connection between people.”
A simple message that is profoundly complex. “Childhood is the greatest gift of life that must be preserved.” Michael Jackson The wisdom of children must be preserved. The more we believe in that dream, the more the dream will be ours. Michael’s stories, Brenda’s stories…good stories should be shared. Storytelling with a child’s heart, through a child’s eyes…simple in its profoundness.
Trusting in Michael’s message is a feeling, a believing, a knowing. Some skim the surface…we plunge deeply into Michael’s waters, swimming to our freedom.
I love you, Michael.
I love you, Brenda.
I love you all.