Lynn Harrell is a professional classical cellist who travels
all over the world to perform. Traveling as a cello soloist means a lot of
flying and trusting airlines with a delicate, multimillion-dollar instrument as
checked baggage. Thus, like many cellists, Mr. Harrell has to buy a second full-fare
ticket for his instrument to travel in the cabin with him.
Over the course of his career, Mr. Harrell has been accumulating
miles for his cello’s second full-fare ticket, and those miles have helped
reduce the cost of the flights for the instrument.
Then Delta Airlines abruptly terminated his membership in
their frequent flyer program, cancelled all his miles, and permanently banned
him from their program. His offense? Nothing more than accruing miles for the
full-fare tickets purchased for his cello.
Mr. Harrell responded by saying he was taking his business to an
airlines that would allow him (and his cello) to accrue frequent flier
miles. But the story doesn’t end here for me. This kind of corporate stance makes me indignant and, in
silent support of traveling cellists all over the world, I will no longer fly Delta.
Said succinctly, my relationship with Delta has ended on a sour note. I applaud Mr. Harrell for carrying on without missing a beat.
I’ve never fainted from excitement while reading, but I must
admit the image fascinates me. A woman was said to have had this response when
she read French Renaissance essayist Montaigne's work. I love the possibility
that people can experience such strong visceral reactions to what they’re reading
that they faint. New ideas are thrilling, and they should energize and excite
the writer and the reader. Why don’t we have more excited readers? Maybe it’s
because we don’t have more excited writers.
There are a breathtaking number of possibilities and experiences
in front of us each day; yet we often find ourselves thinking the same thoughts,
seeing the same things, and responding in the same ways. An excited writer has
the power to awaken us to the possibilities, breathe life from the page, and encourage
us to live like the bases are loaded—with enthusiasm, intense curiosity, and passion.
As an excited reader and writer, I’m fascinated by ideas and
simple concepts under complex surfaces, and I’m always looking for connections
between disparate things. Being a student of life is required if our words are
going to have the power to shock into truthfulness, help others to see things in
different ways, and create a highly reflective surface that shines others’
brilliance back at them.
One of my favorite quotations is from Ram Dass, who said, “We're
all just walking each other home."
What a lovely journey that can be when we’re walking with those who reflect and
enhance our brilliance. Don’t forget your smelling salts.