Life Should Winnow the Superfluous

Thomas McGuane is an American author, of Irish descent, who migrated his way from Massachusetts to Montana.

His quote below was shared with me by my friend and colleague, Myron Wingfield. Myron is Associate General Secretary for the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry in The United Methodist Church. Along with my partner Teresa Posakony, we’ve be in touch with one another  much these last two months. To host an event. To create and share documents that give the work traction.

What I love in this quote, and in the way that I know Myron, is that it is a call to refinement, to the most essential, and simple. It is a call to touch the center of one’s heart and to welcome meeting of others in that same place. I don’t hear it as stubborn or rigid. I hear it as a celebration of clarity.

“As you get older, you should get impatient with showing off in literature. It is easier to settle for blazing light than to find a language for the real. Whether you are a writer or a bird-dog trainer, life should winnow the superfluous language. The real thing should become plain. You should go straight to what you know best.”

Ah, it is good to have friends that can call out this quality, this winnowing together.

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