We’re currently creating pass-along journals in the Crossing into Creativity program. Participants exchange journals at each meeting, add to it or otherwise change it, then pass it on at our next gathering.
The journal I got last week had $2 pinned into it, with a note: “Ok, could you do yourself a favor? Take these two dollars and spend them on something your soul wants but which your secretary will not allow. Report back.”
I imagined buying some special $2 bead at Nomad. But in a thrift store the next day - shopping for clothes for another current program project - a young woman nearby started talking to no one in particular about a little evening bag covered in shiny pink plastic scales. Then she put it back on the rack with a sigh, saying “Well, maybe one day…”
Without thinking I went over and asked her if she’d buy it if she could afford it. She said...
Recently a friend and I went for a lazy Saturday afternoon drive through Rocky Mountain National Park, near where we live. It was a sharp-cold, bright winter day, not long before Christmas. We were cruising along enjoying the snowy wilderness, idly looking for a place to pull over and go walking from. Then we saw a number of stationary cars up ahead, so pulled up behind them.
There was half an elk herd on the mountainside to our left - the one old stag there grazing peacefully with obviously no concern about the situation below. The others, grazing in the meadow on our right. Most were within fifty feet, a few within ten feet, including one or two at a time immobile in the road, in front of or between cars.
A couple of them spent a few minutes licking salt off of an SUVs’ tires. One of them stumbled and nearly fell, stepping onto t...
It occurs to me that no matter how discouraged I get, never to give up – for Charlotte’s sake. She never had the opportunities I have. She would be incredulous at my having them, let alone at my then giving them up.
So I’ll do it ‘for Charlotte,’ whenever I feel discouraged.”
Charlotte was my maternal grandmother. She died of cancer at 50, twenty years before I was born. I have one photograph of her, in which I see that she also died of exhaustion, despair, and a broken heart.
Charlotte was born in a slum in Victorian London. Census records show she was a live-in nursemaid before she was 14.
She would have been illiterate, and unable to vote. She spent her life doing the most menial of work - like scrubbing other peoples’ floors on her knees - a virtual slave to her circumstances. Her husband left when...