What Chevy Chase Taught Me This Week

Anyone who knows me for a matter of moments will likely know I am obsessed with Saturday Night Live. I know more than a normal person should know about the history, the behind the scenes, the statistics (are there SNL statistics?). I love the show, and I always have. 

A few months ago, Rolling Stone released a special issue about SNL, and it was very great. They essentially reprinted articles they had written throughout the years since 1975. In one of the first articles there was an interview with the original cast (still my all-time favorite). When they interviewed Chevy Chase, he had the following to say about writing.

"Listening is central to writing, and you're not doing it, its all me-me-me and you've stopped listening...Not listening equals not understanding equals not feeling, and when that happens, f*#% it, you might as well hit the grave."

This quote has been very insightful to me the last few weeks. I keep thinking of the interplay of listening to writing, which is my most creative outlet. This means it also has me remembering the interplay of listening and any creative outlet you might have. I also think of how this quote speaks to the way we interact with our world.

Listening leads to understanding
If you are not listening to the environment, culture, and people around you, everything has to be left to assumption. Your assumptions are formed in your own perception of the environment, relationship, and culture at hand. You are missing entire possibilities when your understanding is so limited.

Understanding leads to feeling
When you actually try to listen in order to understand your culture, environment, and relationships it allows space for you to actually feel something. If you have never reached a goal of understanding other people, other perspectives, you are refusing to feel anything else. Locked up ears lead to locked up minds leads to locked up hearts. 

When not feeling happens, hit the grave
Honestly, if you have made no effort to hear, understand, and feel me, then how can hear your tirades without a stonewall? Inability to feel is not a superpower, it is a debilitating disease. This culture we live in refuses to listen without speaking, understand without stonewalling, and ultimately cannot feel for other people. We have a debilitating disease in our culture, and we may as well hit the grave.

PC Walker

Speaker.Author.Poet, whatever comes through the cracks is all grace.