As a freelance writer, I often receive payments in my mailbox after completing a client’s resume or Linkedin profile or finishing the edits of their book. Of course, I’m always grateful for the checks. And sometimes clients will attach a sticky note to the check saying how pleased they were with my work. I love when that happens. I was not expecting what I received in the mailbox today, however, and it had me feeling appreciated for the rest of the day. A repeat client sent in her check. On her envelope she had written my name and then underneath, “The Best Freelance Writer.” The fact that it was written in purple pen was even more uplifting. Then there was the beautiful flowery stamp. Not just your regular American flag. What a gift my client gave me. Probably without even realizing it.
When you resurrect your participation in childhood activities you loved – which I highly recommend, by the way – you automatically summon happy childhood memories. Joining a new church choir did it for me, bringing me back to one of my favorite moments: the Sunday morning my mom murdered me while I sang All Things Bright and Beautiful with the church youth choir.
How is Murder happy, you ask? Let me explain, starting with the present. (more…)
I wish there were an 800 number at the end of the newspaper that you could call to do something about the horrific things you’ve just read.
I would call on Sunday. I imagine it would go something like this:
“The New York Times how-to-make-the-world-better-hotline. May I help you?”
“Yes, I’m calling because I feel really bad about all the terrible things in the world that I just read in your newspaper.”
“Wonderful. We appreciate your call.”
“So what can I do to make the world a better place? The problems are so big and I am just one person.” (more…)
So the other day I was in the library researching people who have sailed around the world solo for a novel I’m writing. One of the characters in my book has a crippling fear of the ocean and I wanted to find out about the other kind of people, those who don’t have a fear of the ocean, for comparison. That’s when I came across the cutest little book by Lynne Cox: Grayson.
I checked out the inside flap and found out that Lynne Cox is a long distance swimmer who was only 17 years old when she was training (alone) in the ocean off the California coast near Los Angeles. That fact alone got my attention. She was swimming for miles in the ocean in 55-degree water all by herself! Who does that?
Then she felt the presence of something huge swimming underneath her and, instead of sprinting towards shore, she just told her self to “refocus” and stick with her training program. Ok, I’d have been out of there. Actually, who am I kidding? I’d never have been in the ocean alone in the first place. As you can tell, I share a fear of the ocean with the character in my novel.
So, the big thing swimming under her turned out to be a gray whale and its calf swimming up the coast to Alaska. But the baby whale got separated from its mother and started to follow Lynne on her swim, even after she turned around to swim back home. This was bad because the baby whale depended on its mother for milk and protection and could die without her. The baby whale just wanted to play with Lynne and got close enough that she was able to touch it. For the next several hours, Lynne swam with the baby whale out to the oil derricks near Long Beach and along the coast, in order to help it find its mother. She dove through kelp and saw all sorts of other sea life that make me shiver while sitting here in my desk chair: stingrays, tuna, turtles, anchovies.
I won’t ruin the ending, but lets just say things turned out well and Lynne obviously lived to tell about it. Lynne Cox is very inspiring and brave. I could never do what she does, but I loved reading her story. And that’s why I’m thankful for brave people like her.