Category Archives: Thankfulness, Gratitude, Appreciation

Give your words

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Some of the encouraging mail that’s arrived in recent weeks.

Like a lot of creative people, I’m comfy with my own company. As a writer, in particular, my introvertuosity is an asset. Just me and my muse, that’s it. (That is, IF Edna isn’t too busy getting her bunions buffed or some such fiddle faddle.)

It’s one thing to choose solitude. It’s quite another to live in pandemic-necessitated government-mandated isolation. Oh, yes. Quite. a. nother. You know that for yourselves, don’t you my little mini muffins.

Despite our natural desire to go solo in our shells (crisis or no crisis), empathy compels us to seek ways to reach out. I want to suggest one such way we writers can make a difference and you can do it all on your own–you can give your words.

I got a squirrelly postcard!
Original artwork by Rebecca Van Slyke

Over the last three weeks, more “no special occasion” cards and little surprises have arrived in my mailbox than I might receive in six months. In addition to encouraging notes, a friend who is an illustrator created a custom made activity book, and a writer friend made me a hand painted postcard–featuring a springy squirrel! On top of those came gifts of note cards designed by the sender and pretty note paper (Mmmm. I do love paper.) Even my cat, Finny, received a kind card with a birdy on it and catnip tucked inside. As you can imagine, being the recipient of all that sweetness pumped helium into my heavy heart. How did I get so lucky?

I’ve been sending personalized doodles, notes and silly surprises too. Taking a moment to center my thoughts on someone else while I write a message and imagine the smile (I hope!) it will bring, is a welcome antidote to these dreary, disorienting days. I want you to experience that too.

You might enjoy sending an unsuspecting someone a silly card, a sweet postcard or actual letter. No fancy stationery? No worries. You say you have the handwriting of a 4th year med student? No sweat. Type a message and print it out. (Have fun with the fonts!) When it comes to sending NSOIJTOY (that’s No Special Occasion I’m Just Thinking of You) mail, anything goes–so long as you give your words. That’s the best part, my little apricot tarts.

If you’re not up to writing, even a letter, you’re not alone. And listen, there is zero judgement here. The brilliant Emma Dryden shared this article on social media that explains why it’s okay to resist the pressure to use these unexpected extra hours to be productive (aka, write, do a major revision, create new art, etc.). It really is okay. Please don’t feel pushed.

And if reading this post all the way to here —-> is all you can manage today, my little warm buttered toast, that is 110% okay. Honestly. And I’m not just saying that because you chose to expend your energy and ebbing ability to concentrate to read my blog post. I’m saying you’re 123% okay. (I’m terrible with numbers, but that sure seems like a lot of okay to me.)

If you feel like writing a teensy bit (like .5%), you can leave a comment below. And then, if some flabberjabber has the nerve to ask you what you’ve written lately, you send them on over to Frog on a Dime, and say “Looky there!”

In the event you should feel an energy shift and get a hankering for something writing-related as a distraction, here’s a whole list of options. Please enjoy, and again, no pressure. Your pace is up to you.

Whatever you choose to do, in whatever way you do it–and whenever you’re ready to do it–please, give your words.

There is no small act of kindness. Every compassionate act makes large the world. ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

Happy Thankslisting, No. 2

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Photo by Vicky Lorencen
  1. I am thankful for seconds, as in second chances.
  2. I am thankful for librarians and teachers. So long as there are people who devote themselves to the tender loving care of children and of books, I feel like we’ve got a reasonable chance at a smart and civil society.
  3. I am thankful for friends who make me offers I can’t refuse. Who am I to decline a generous offer of thoughtful feedback or to teach me a new writing technique or (better still) tell me where to find a new brand of writer refreshments?
  4. I am thankful for the opportunity to revise. If only life always gave us that option.
  5. I am thankful to be a fool. When you don’t have a clue how hard novel writing will be, it sure makes it a lot easier to dive right in.
  6. I am thankful for long-suffering manuscripts that allow me to fiddle with them until I’m finished. Okay, I mean, really finished. Well, almost. I am a literary glacier. 
  7. I am thankful to present at schools and spend time with curious, uninhibited kids who love to read their stories aloud and show their artwork to anyone with eyes and ears. They inspire me.
  8. MOST MOST MOST of all, I am thankful for YOU. There was a time, just after the Earth’s crust cooled, when I didn’t know a single soul who wanted to write for children. And now, here you are, my little cranberry cupcake! I am always grateful for you.

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. ~ James Allen