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New Year’s “Sprezzatura” 150 150 Michael Hemphill

New Year’s “Sprezzatura”

I remember very little from my academic life, save the word “sprezzatura” from a Renaissance Literature class at Birmingham-Southern College. 

We were reading “The Book of the Courtier,” published in 1528, by Baldassare Castiglione, who defined the Italian word as “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.”

While “a certain nonchalance” certainly defined my attitude towards college classes, there seemed to be a distinct lack of sprezzatura once I started my career. 

Through the years, showing “effort” – as I observed in colleagues and, in truth, in myself – seemed much of the job description. The striving, grasping, busybodiness of it all, calculated by meeting minutes, office hours, frantic phone calls, number of emails/texts/posts … the appearance of doing the work was as much the point as the work itself.

Since launching Buzz4Good in 2020,  I’ve seen time and again AAF Roanoke members like Bruce Bryan, Carrie Cousins, Bill Gilmer, Tony Pearman, Theresa Passeretti and William Nelms seemingly effortlessly incorporate pro bono nonprofit projects into their existing workload. 

And I’ve seen nonprofit leaders like Pedro Szalay, Pamela Irvine, Jim Drader, Chris Sanchez, Melissa Woodson and Carol Young calmly execute their organization’s complex missions – whether inspiring art and learning or fighting homelessness, hunger, racism, depression – to better our communities. 

All of this during one of our country’s most challenging times in history.

Here at the end of 2021, I want to thank all who have helped me professionally give flight to Buzz, and for the personal lessons in how to do difficult things with “a certain nonchalance.” 

In an age when grace is in such short supply, I offer up more sprezzatura as a resolution for 2022. Happy New Year’s to you all!

Always buzzing,
Michael Hemphill
Creator of Buzz4Good