"Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide." –Napoléon Bonaparte
Freedom can be defined positively, being able to act according to one’s will. It can also be defined negatively, as an absence of what might be important constraint. How do feel about certain people’s and institutions’ freedom, and about how it’s maintained? Is freedom always a good thing?
With the power and responsibility of having choices in mind, Red Room asked bloggers to write last week about freedom. Three posts especially stood out to our editors this week:
Kristi Bernard decided our topic is perfect for February, which is Black History Month. Her post, "Back to the Basics," explains with depth and clarity why she knows that, with all the struggles, there's so much further to go.
Sarah White's post about how identities we impose on ourselves and which others impose on us tend to constrict our freedom. Read "Of Human Bondage."
From the political to the romantic, Mariette Papic stunned us with the tactile prose of her short story, "A Man Called Freedom."
These featured bloggers will each receive a book from a Red Room author writing about freedom. In a 1944 speech, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said there were four freedoms that people "everywhere in the world" ought to enjoy: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Iain C. Martin's new book is entitled With Strong & Active Faith: The Wisdom of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Judith Tannenbaum shares her memories of the years she spent teaching poetry at San Quentin State Prison in Disguised as a Poem. Peter Y. Sussman's latest book is Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford; Mitford was a "tireless political activist, muckraking journalist, and memoirist."
Several other great blog entries also stood out this week:
- There is much wisdom in Peter King's post "Freedom is Dangerous." He notes that freedom usually leads to truth, even unwelcome truths.
- Cynthia Brian's eyes were opened when she visited the Soviet Union and Poland in the 1970s. Read how in "The Gift of Freedom.
- For her first Red Room blog post, Barbara A. Audet shares her erudite understanding of political freedom in the United States as envisioned by Thomas Jefferson and how it's been realized. Read "On the Act of Being Free."
- Harrison Solow also shared a university lecture she gave on freedom and its particular association with America in "Lecture Ten."
- Another first-time blogger, Anna Grace, subtly intersperses a love song with her favorite historical moments where freedom triumphed in "Born Free?"
- "If freedom had a sound it would be an adagio." As usual, Mary Wilkinson lures her reader from her very first sentence into an lyrical place where she starts with autobiography and ends in pure sensation. Read "A Thousand Stars Exploding in Your Head."
- Rosy Cole's faith in God, "who is willing to pour out upon us more blessings than we know how to ask for," is for her "the essence of freedom." Even if you aren't religious you'll love the beauty and devotion in "Where the Lilies Blow."
- Remembrance of Blair Kilpatrick's immigrant forebears reads like a prose photo album in her "Immigration Dreams."
- Having grown up in a culture where women were tortured to limit their mobility, Li Miao Lovett found a special kind of "Freedom on the Appalachian Trail."
You can see all the 70-odd Freedom blog posts here. I hope you'll choose your favorite, and leave a comment letting the blogger know why you enjoyed it. See all of Red Room's past blog topics listed on here, and suggest a few more in the comments. Thanks as always for blogging!
–Huntington W. Sharp, Editor, Red Room