My heart is heavy over the loss of the beloved and incredibly prolific children’s book author Amy Krouse Rosenthal. My daughters and I met her through her wonderful works, which I read to them often and will continue to do.
The obituary about her passing in the New York Times noted that her “favorite line from literature…. was in Thornton Wilder’s play ‘Our Town,’ as spoken by the character Emily as she bids the world goodbye: ‘Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it — every every minute?’
It makes me feel even more kindred with and connected to her, since it’s also one of my all-time favorites. I even mention this line in The Philosophy of Childing:
What should you expect—of yourself, of your life—when you’re childing? To live life with more purposeful abandon. To be a co-creator of the universe. To craft a story about yourself that is more intentional than aimless, more colorful than monotonous, more open-ended than predictable. To give life everything you have, but to temper earnestness with playfulness, even whimsicality, knowing full well, as Puck puts it, “what fools these mortals be.”
…..When I decided in 1996 to change my life radically and, among other things, start Socrates Café on a wing and a prayer, I almost ended the adventure before it began. [But then] I dispensed with further hesitation and delay.
Ever since, I’ve become more adept at realizing life while I live it. Yet Emily Webb, a central character in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, after having the epiphany that most of us never really examine how we go about living out our days—wonders whether this is possible: “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?—every, every minute?”
Amy Krouse Rosenthal is one human being who did, who thoroughly realized life — who ‘childed’ — in the 51 years of her mortal moment so much more than many of us who live far longer, and fritter away far too much precious time. She sets an exhilarating bar that we should all strive to come close to reaching.
Every every minute.