Particular Passions

Particular Passions: Talks with Women who Shaped our Times


Lynn GilbertComment

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi

A cliff, in geography and geology, is a significant vertical, or near vertical, rock exposure.  The cliff on Tianmen Mountain in China is famous for one of the world’s scariest roads and for its Skywalk. On one side sheer rock face, on the other, a 4700 ft (1,430 m) vertical drop to sea. The only thing that separates the intrepid traveler from a deadly plunge is a 3ft (.9 m) wide, 2.5in (6.35cm) thick, 200 feet (60 meters) long walkway made of… believe it or not, glass, which allows an utterly crystal-clear view of where one false step can take you. – Summary Wikipedia

The media is blitzing us now with another type of cliff, “ ‘The Fiscal cliff,’ the popular shorthand term used to describe the conundrum that the U.S. government will face at the end of 2012, when the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 are scheduled to go into effect.” –

How many of us totally grasp how this potential catastrophe might impact each of our wallets. If you walked down a Manhattan street after Thanksgiving, holiday shoppers loaded with stuffed bags were out in droves pushing through crowds to get to the next bargain. We seem clueless about an unquantifiable impending disaster.

Stand on a real cliff and it will evoke utter terror: high in the Himalayas a small van whipped around hair pin turns with no guard rails, honking non-stop to alert oncoming trucks or cars, on impossibly narrow roads; in the Grand Canyon flying through turbulence in a helicopter constructed with Plexiglas sides to see spectacular views ….who could dare look. Grinding one’s teeth and holding on for dear life seemed a better bet. But what emotion can one feel for the unknown and abstract.

Some people can’t budget, have difficulty balancing their bankbook and rack up credit card debt without being concerned with the consequences. So how is it possible for someone like that to budget for a whole government, or for that matter anyone.

A terrifying path is also what our leaders are faced with to keep our country safe. We need leaders who are finally mature enough to rise above partisan politics, be willing to compromise, be financially savvy, and certainly have a hefty dose of common sense.

“All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter. “ Edmund Burke

The qualities essential in our leaders: vision, leadership, compromise, and perseverance brings me to something dear to my heart: the same characteristics of the women in my book, “Particular Passions: Talks with Women who Shaped our Times,” truly inspiring oral histories of 46 women who really did help shape our times.

One review said: "This is a wonderful book. . .The book is recommended reading for anyone — no matter what political or sociological background — who wants to know more about living history." — Santa Cruz Sentinel

Check out the book on Amazon or Apple. You will not be disappointed.