Hey everyone. I just wanted to let you know, I’ve been asked to be a judge in a writing contest. Today is the last day to enroll, so if you’re interested in joining, check out the info here.
For those following along, the month of November was National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short. The goal was to write 50,000 in a month. It was to be a rough draft of something, not necessarily something ready for publication at the end of the month.
This was my fourth year participating, and while what I wrote this year was more a cathartic experiment than an actual story, I successfully wrote 50,814 words. It took shutting up my inner editor, who has a nasty habit of popping up at the most inconvenient times, and a lot of time spent in front of the computer, but I did it. What will become of those 50,000 words remains to be seen. But for now I can say, the experiment was a success and I’m back to working on my regular project that I hope to have done by spring.
Stay tuned, more to come on that later; once it’s made it past the second draft stage and I figure out how exactly to end the story.
This morning while shopping at my local grocery store, I encountered an employee who was the epitome of how we all should be acting these days. What he did wasn’t a grand display or over the top gesture that caught my attention, it was simply a “good morning” and a genuine smile that you could tell that it began from within him and radiated out to the world. That was it. We had no other interaction, other than my returning the smile and reply of “good morning” to him as well. But in that brief moment, it was a ray of sunshine, in a rather normal day of running mundane errands.
Such a simple thing changed my outlook for the day. I, in turn, greeted everyone else that I came in contact with in the store in that same manner. Expecting nothing in return, just passing along a simple greeting and a smile. And you know what, everyone I met, did the same.
Imagine what the world be like if we chose to practice such simple acts of kindness every day.
After watching, reading, and talking with others over the past days I am left with one question. Well more than one, but this one is front and center on my mind right now.
Why can’t we have different beliefs? Do we have to agree on everything? If we disagree on something, why is what you believe right and what I believe wrong?
My sixteen-year-old daughter and I were having a conversation the other night and she came up with this analogy. I thought it was very insightful and addresses this question in a non-political, non-religious way.
She said, “I thought about this when I was eight years old and we were out for dinner somewhere. I wanted to order chicken fingers because I like chicken fingers. I saw someone else order spaghetti and I wondered why did they do that? Why didn’t they order chicken fingers? Because chicken fingers are so much better than spaghetti.”
She went on to say, “I couldn’t understand why someone would choose something other than chicken fingers. But then again maybe they were craving spaghetti all day and so that’s what they ordered. But how could they possibly like something different? I thought about this for a very long time. It made me wonder, were they right and I was wrong? Or was I right and they were wrong? Eventually, I realized everyone has different tastes and that’s okay.”
Side note – she has since moved on from her love of chicken fingers to expand her palate to enjoy many other foods, including spaghetti.
But it brings me back to the question I hope you will take the time to consider and share your answer.
Why can’t we have different beliefs, opinions, views, and still get along?
I am a writer, this is my voice and I’m going to use it. I will not tolerate bullies. I will not tolerate hate. I will not tolerate discrimination.
I will not be silent. I will not sit idly by on the sidelines and watch. I will call you out if I see or hear it coming from your mouth, your page, your actions.
To everyone, can we please return to a civil society and respectful discussions? Instead of gloating, boasting, disparaging, and name calling, can we respect one another, agree to disagree, and move forward? Enough with the meme’s, the “let me help you pack” statements, the name-calling because of one’s appearance, it’s not funny, it never was.
It all comes down to one thing, respect.
If you want to have a discussion, where we engage in a sharing of ideas, without name calling or raised ires, then I’m here. Let’s talk.
If you are going to shout at me that I am wrong and you are right, I’m not going to listen. And you certainly won’t change my mind with that sort of behavior.
This is my voice and I’m going to use it.
I’m sitting here this morning, my heart pounding in my chest, my brain spinning uncontrollably, trying to find words, having a difficult time putting it all in an order that makes sense to my brain and my soul.
I am trying to find a way to calm my daughter’s anxiety. I am trying to answer her questions.
How do I explain to her that people now feel they have been given permission to judge her based on the color of her skin?
That they can openly harass and deny services to her family members because of who they chose to love?
How do I try to calm her fears that old white men are going to tell her what she can and can’t do with her body?
Please, someone, offer me the words to explain this to her, because right now, I have none.