Something came up this week. It’s very simple to some. But it was truly a test of basic intuition.
One day there are four opportunities with different directions:
* Sustainability / Issues * Health / Exercise * Writing / Kids * Diversity / Jobs
And if I could, I’d go to all four.
Health – it’s a personal thing, something I said I’d finish out. ’nuff said.
I even RSVP’d to the diversity one as it’s a great invitation to help the community efforts to get more people of color back to work. Brilliant high profile, public-facing opportunity. But I have several ways of working in this field, if I really think about it.
The sustainability one, ironically, was the easiest to decline – I don’t idolize anyone, not Pollan, not Hawken, not Kingsolver. Appreciate, respect – yes. But something about Hawken doesn’t pull me. Ecology of Commerce – brilliant. Blessed Unrest – didn’t thrill me. Can’t explain it. Just didn’t do it.
Oh but the writing and the kids. My friends, it’s a simple event, but the one that sat on my shoulder all weekend, whispering in my ear that I need to be there. The elementary school near my home where I’m bringing my technical cohorts to do a volunteer activity with third graders? I love this school. Not because of it being my neighborhood, but because of the diversity of its students and commitment of its teachers that I’ve gotten to meet so far, and the experiences I’ve had volunteering there in the past. This week I was visiting with two of the teachers and my cohorts, and one teacher expressed her thanks for the impact I had two years ago – something I thought was small & easy turned out to make a difference. And I remembered when I first went there, and the little girls who ran at me and hugged me at the end. Girls in all their unselfconsciousness at that age – they are tremendous. And kids coming from the most challenging of backgrounds, of all colors and experiences, many not from the local neighborhood as they’ve been shipped over to this school, leftovers. Some a bit seasoned at that tender age, but quick to get back to being kids once encouraged. And the teacher, she asked if I could come to this writing event, this poet coming, this chance to be with the kids. A chance to show them there are a million ways to express oneself, to use words to escape, to resolve, to connect.
Words have saved me in so many ways. You all who have interacted with me on my blogs have saved me in so many ways. Don’t we owe it to our kids out there? I’m not a parent, may never be, but I’ll always have the chance to be a big sister, a mentor, a friend, an inspiration. We all are. How beautiful our stories are, the words that we’ve brought out simply by talking about our lives?
I read Erin’s most recent patchwork of words, then listened to her saying them, and it caught my breath. She is so true, so very much a teacher to me. I read She Writes‘ newest chapter in her short story and it evoked a truly visceral response to one of the characters – like those movies where you start talking to the screen. Now that’s writing. I think about the outpouring of emotion from Wine and Words and how even if I’m just glancing at my phone, I race to open her newest post and experience all that she is sharing with us, the most fortunate readers, and how she bares her soul. There are more, but these three right now have especially been inspiring me as a writer.
So with all my choices, I listen to my heart. I am not closing doors, simply walking through this one first. Everything is connected, everyone is just a degree or two apart. My writing scares me sometimes- how very personal and therefore vulnerable I am. I reveal more each day but still have so many layers. Words, photographs, the earth, the garden, the home, and everything else from food to music to film to books to the plain and simple time spent with those we love.
Today my friend interrupted my random babbling to tell me, “I’m so glad we’re friends”. She tried to buy me a birthday gift and my aching for simplicity wouldn’t allow for it – I asked her to take me to dinner sometime, share her time with me, pardon my weirdness about ‘stuff’ and just spend time together. It’s not that I don’t like the occasional surprise, but I’ll take special time with my friends over something wrapped in a box or a bag – a day at the beach, or a dinner out, or going for facials together on the girlie side to a hike in the woods somewhere new and fun. That, That is what I love, what I want, what I will always treasure.
As I finish out my 37th year, I thank you, my inspirations, my writer friends, near and far. You don’t realize how much you give to the world simply by being honest in your words. Namaste.