I am participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thanks to the co-authors of Two Writing Teachers for creating this supportive community.
Last week I noticed that Kevin Hodgson over at Kevin’s Meandering Mind sometimes responds to a slice by lifting a line from it and creating a poem as his response. It reminded me of a technique Linda Reif suggests and often uses in presentations – lift a line from a poem or piece of prose and use it as is or let it speak to you in some way to give your writing a start. Yesterday Kevin wrote about how his neighborhood gets together as the final days of winter begin to wane to reconnect and celebrate spring. I lifted this line: We even helped an elderly neighbor, who has trouble walking, to the event… And then I remembered this:
Last fall I attended a weekend workshop on writing at the Highlights Foundation. A few days before the event I got a call from one of the organizers asking if I might be interested in giving another attendee a ride. “She doesn’t get around well and doesn’t drive, so she will have to take a bus unless she can get a ride, and I noticed you live in a neighboring town.” Of course I would take her. Thus began several phone calls back and forth with Jacqueline, my rider, which made me wonder just what I had gotten myself into. I picked her up at the agreed upon time along with her suitcases, canes, and walker. As we settled in to our three hour ride, I learned that Jacqueline, at 84 years of age, was a practicing marriage counselor (even though she herself had been divorced for about 40 years). I heard about her children and grandchildren, her experiences (she had just gotten home from a cruise!) and the children’s books she was working on. Her stories were delightful, as was she, and I marveled at her desire to create and try new things even as she got older and life got a little more difficult. By the time we reached our destination, I knew I had found a new friend.
The accommodations at Highlights are cabins and walkers do not really work well on the gravel paths. We decided that the canes would be better, but Jacqueline needed an arm to guide her. So every morning, before breakfast, I helped an elderly neighbor, who has trouble walking, to the event.
That weekend I learned a lot about writing, and so much more – persistence, patience, trust, and the importance of living life to its fullest.
Thank you, Kevin.
Thank you, Jacqueline.