East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


For nothing, even a dog won’t wag its tail

The title of this piece is a phrase that my mother used to say quite often, and she meant it most of all in a moral, emotional sense: everybody likes to be told they are doing a good job.
Everybody likes been told they’re good, they are doing fine, what they are doing is important.

Yesterday, out of the blue, I was given the most heartwarming acknowledgement I have received in the last ten years. It was unexpected, instinctive and moving, and it came from an unanticipated direction.
It was, I don’t know, maybe ten words and an exclamation mark, but it came in a very bad moment, and it saved my day.
Quite a few days, actually.

Because we need to feel acknowledged.
Granted, we need to pay the bills and buy food, and we need to be read, and both are immediate, physical needs.
But being told we are respected as human beings is also a life-saving thing – and strangely it does not happen that often, does it?

So if you have the opportunity, go tell somebody you respect their work and their attitude. You don’t need to write a poem about it, but tell them.
It’s free, and they might be at the end of their rope, and badly in need of a breath of fresh air.