If Willy Wonka’s factory churned out Mind Candy: a Dispatch from the Department of Healing Truths

It’s been one of those weeks where there’s much to write about that it’s hard to know where to start. 

Sometimes when it’s all too much, you want to curl up and take a nice nap.

Michael Cohen paid a visit to Congress and refused to promise not to profit from a book or movie about his adventures and misadventures in the Land of Trumpelstiltsken. For which I can’t say I blame him. It’s his story and he should get to tell it. (That doesn’t mean I’ll read it.)

Cohen answered every question put to him, sometimes instantly, sometimes unpacking and processing it before saying anything, sometimes asking for clarification and occasionally getting testy in the face of open contempt from some of the Republican Committee members. 

He testified like a man with nothing to lose. Watching him interact with members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform was like being in the passenger seat of a car crawling past a car accident. With one major difference, specifically that we’re all involved in the accident. 

As the Cohen family is certainly aware, when things get complicated, it’s all too easy to get on the Misunderstandings Superhighway, hit a Communications Roadblock and end up in the Land of Angry Hurt Feelings.

Some of that happened in my own family this week, albeit not around anything as monumental as enabling a wannabe authoritarian kleptocrat. 

Friday was my day off. I was at a meeting of a group working to address access to mental health supports here, particularly in and for communities of color. Five of us were seated around a conference table big enough to easily accommodate three times that number.

At one point, Terri started talking about food culture and the evolution of cooking traditions in the African-American community, and I said, “You sound like Michael Twitty!”

She hadn’t heard of him. As I put down my knitting and picked up my phone to see if he had anything I could show her on youtube, I told her (and the other meeting attendees) about his blog and book, “The Cooking Gene.” 

“I just started it and it’s really good,” I said. “He gave a talk at the library last month.”

She looked at across the table. 

“You make the library sound like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory!”

In the microsecond it took to process it, Terri’s comment brought me up short before immediately loosening a rush of internal joy.

I’d never considered it before. But she was right. I do talk about my library as if it’s a palace of delicious wonders. Because I think it (and most every other) is Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory – the mind candy version.

It is a gift to be seen and understood by another person. And when that person utters words to describe your own feelings that are exactly the right ones you never thought to conjure, the best possible course of action is to savor the moment.  

And, of course, to tell the truth. I grinned big at Terri from across the table.

“That’s the nicest thing anyone has said to me all week.”

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