Jump in the lake

Jump in the lake if you must, but at least choose a nice one. Lake Louise, September 1999

Jump in the lake if you must, but at least choose a nice one. Lake Louise, September 1999

“The writer is only free when he can tell the reader to go jump in the lake. You want, of course, to get what you have to show across to him, but whether he likes it or not is no concern of the writer.” — Flannery O’Connor

I admire Flannery O’Connor, but I was somewhat taken aback by her stark advice.  Not because I disagree with it, but because my first thought was, “I NEVER want to tell anyone who reads my blog to go jump in the lake.”

On second thought, though, maybe I do.  If any of the people reading this blog are cruel or mean-spirited, they can go jump in the lake.  Those who refuse to open their eyes and be grateful for the blessings that grace their lives can go jump in the lake.  Those who want to bring us all down to wallow in the mire of despair and hopelessness: jump away.

But I hope they won’t stay there. I hope the water in the lake will be of a bracing temperature, waking them up to life.  I hope they will swim vigorously if they know how, or learn to dog paddle if they don’t.  I hope they will emerge from the lake feeling a little happier, saying to themselves, “What was I THINKING?!”

To the rest of you, the majority who are here because you have faith, or tenacity, or courage, or good will, or all of the above: I do sincerely hope you like what I write, even if O’Connor thinks it’s no concern of mine.  And if someone tries to sabotage your determination to defeat despair, well…you know what to tell them.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Yay!
    I’m choosing to not jump in a lake, but I’m jumping up and down with delight! Thanks for this fun perspective on attitude, Julia!
    Love to you and Matt!

    • Susan, I’m so happy you like it. 😀 ❤

  2. Dorothy

    Dear Julia, I look forward to reading your blog every day. How are you and Matt coping in these crazy times? Here we’ve been doing fairly well but the recent surge in cases of covid in Victoria has other States on high alert. Because I’m in the vulnerable age group and travel to school twice a week via train for two and a half hours I’ve been giving piano lessons online from home. I do worry about my son and family who live in Mumbai but are well at present. They have been in lockdown since March and with a very active three year old haven’t found it easy. I hope you and all your family are well. Keep safe, Dorothy.

    • Hi Dorothy, thanks for checking in. I’m glad you are well! We are doing fine thus far. I imagine it must be hard to have children and a grandchild in Mumbai, so far from you and with travel all but impossible. Do you ride the train to school to teach piano, or is that in addition? I didn’t realize you had to travel so far. How is the train system in Australia? Good, I would imagine. My sister and another friend and I keep planning our imaginary trip to Australia, but it keeps getting pushed farther and farther into the future! Sometimes I wonder whether we’ll ever be able to travel as freely as we once did. I thought 9/11 and the TSP but a huge stopper in it, but nothing like this! But I try to give thanks for all that we do have, and the blessings remain abundant for most of us. Thanks so much for being here! It is always a joy to hear from you.

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