God Trying To Get My Attention

Not that it matters, but:

I previously mentioned that I heard a whole bunch of political speeches last Saturday. One of them [complete video] was by Senator Rand Paul. Near the end of his speech [clip], he advocated a sunny approach to political messaging:

We've gotta do it with a smile. We gotta do it with optimism.

There was a painter by the name of Robert Henron [sic] and he wrote: "Paint like a man coming over the hill singing."

I love the image of that. We need to proclaim our message with the passion of Patrick Henry, like a man coming over the hill singing, with optimism. And make sure that it's a message for all. No matter what walk of life you are.

When I heard that "man coming over the hill singing" phrase, the image that leapt into my head—oh, you too?—was Julie Andrews' opening scene in The Sound of Music. OK, fine. Imagine you are Maria. Good advice! Perhaps. Where appropriate.

The very next day when I was reading one of the essays by William Zinsser in his recent book, The Writer Who Stayed. And right there on page 72, Mr. Zinsser reports on an address given by the historian David McCullough to a small graduating class of a Connecticut fine-arts college. And:

He had written a talk specifically for those newborn artists—a talk generously furnished with helpful admonitions by great artists of the past. The one that I wrote down was by the American painter Robert Henri: "You should paint like a man coming over the top of the hill singing."

And I thought: Um, hey.

What are the odds that I'd get exposed twice, within a span of 24 hours, via very different channels, to a quote I'd never before encountered from a painter I'd never heard of before?

(Yeah, sorry, I'm a Philistine.)

There's a semi-accepted term for this: the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. (When I say semi-accepted, I mean: its Wikipedia page has been deleted.)

But Keb' Mo' has an alternative explanation, which I think I prefer:


Last Modified 2014-08-06 9:15 AM EST