Seeing the world from other perspectives is a good way to start the new year. With that in mind you should pony up the dollar for a download of this episode of This American Life. All its segments were strong, but for me the most affecting was the second act. It revolves around a reading from a book by a developmentally disabled man named Michael Bernard Loggins (published with the help of a remarkable arts program called Creativity Explored).
The book consists of a list of fears, in no apparent order, ranging from the trivial (needles) to the profound (a mother dying). The fears are specific and provide distinct glimpses into Michael's life, but they're universal at the same time; though the details may be different, Michael's fears are our fears.
This really is a powerful piece of writing, beautifully presented by This American Life and actor Tom Wright. You should definitely take the time to check it out and perhaps make a small contribution to TAL or Creativity Explored.
That's also a good way to start the new year.