My 93-year-old grandmother, Lottie Kulpa, likes to tell the story of how when I was little, each time I heard the song lyrics, "When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, everything your heart desires will come to you…" I would turn to her and say (in a very serious voice - while shaking my head), "Oh, Grandma. That is not true."
Wishing on a star doesn't cut it.
We often long for a sense of adventure and romance in our lives. From a civic perspective, it’s easy to just sit back and "wish," or to focus negatively on what our city lacks or how it isn’t providing enough excitement for us.
That kind of thinking is problematic. Romance isn’t something from the outside that descends upon us; we must each do our part to cultivate it-- to activate the people and places in our environments.
On Thursday, Andy Schor commented in reply to my first post here. He said that in addition to spreading the word about Detroit we also need enough stuff to do here, to attract people. I completely agree. To that end, I think a romantic approach not only promotes our city, it is the energy that drives creativity and development, thus creating more to be excited about. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.
A perfect example of this: My friend Gregg Newsom expressed to me the other day that his intense mythology about Detroit fuels everything he and his wife, Angela Kasmala, are doing at the Detroit Evolution Lab. Their spirited belief drives their business model. It’s also creating positive change and new things to do in our city.
I’ll leave you today with what I read this morning off the side of my Starbucks cup:
"The most important thing in life is to stop saying 'I wish' and start saying 'I will'. Consider nothing impossible, then treat the possibilities as probabilities."
Tomorrow: Is your relationship with your city in trouble? How can you tell?