Aha! Moments Stories

Unearthing a Vonnegut treasure during National Volunteer Week.

Hey, it’s National Volunteer Week! Thought I’d share one of my favourite examples of servant leadership (and then a handful more below). While it seems Kurt never received a reply, his heart was in the right place, and he sure was humble 🙂 “On occasion, I write pretty well.” (And yes, he actually did write this letter. Archivist Stacey Chandler stumbled across it when she was combing through files at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Vonnegut was 38 at the time, and still a struggling writer.)

You don’t have to be big to make a difference. You don’t need a lot of money, or time, or any special skills. And believe me when I tell you that you get a whole lot more back than you ever really give!

I love volunteering for a bunch of reasons. It gets me out there meeting new people (especially people who share my interests and values). I’ve learned some cool new skills. It lets me pay it forward for the countless things people have generously invested in me. My mum and dad were living examples of how easy it was to get out there and do something that made a difference in the community and how you really were helping yourself along the way.

Some folks may feel inspired to help, but are crazy busy. The great thing is you can do it even if you don’t have a lot of time! Shovel snow for an older neighbour when you’re doing your own (though I hope we’re done with the snow for this year!). Donate some plants to a community garden project when you’re putting in your own, and maybe even get out there and get your hands dirty with the folks doing the same. You don’t need any special skills to help, and there’s something each of us has that we love to do, that can be of use to others.

Want to see just how easy it is, and how much fun it can be? Read on …

Aha! Moments Stories

Rockstar moment: finding your kindergarten teacher on Facebook.

Just stumbled across my kindergarten teacher on Facebook. It was a rock star moment. Isn’t it incredible the influence they have on our lives? 48 years later, I can still vividly remember so much of what went on in her class, right down to the day she gave us index cards on a steel loop, and told us we could choose a new word to learn to spell each day — whatever word we wanted — and she would write it on one of our cards. I should have known then I was destined to be a writer, because you’d think she’d have given me the winning lottery ticket that day 😀

Spotlight Stories

Graphic Novelist, Scott Chantler

I had the chance to meet and chat with graphic novelist, Scott Chantler, about writing, publishing and editing last night at the central Library. Scott is the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Windsor, and the first cartoonist to receive this appointment from a Canadian university. His novel TWO GENERALS was nominated for two Eisner Awards,Continue Reading “Graphic Novelist, Scott Chantler”

Adventures Aha! Moments Spotlight Stories

The Lost Art of Letters

My friend Ed Vielmetti has a lovely practice. He sends postcards to friends on a regular basis. He told me about this when I first met him more than a decade ago at one of Jerry Michalski’s soul-changing retreats. I thought it was a wonderful way of reviving old fashioned letter writing on a micro-scale.Continue Reading “The Lost Art of Letters”

Spotlight Stories

And this is why I will never give up on print.

Electronic books and magazines may make up the bulk of my library these days out of a sense of eco responsibility, and certainly efficiency, but when was the last time you could press a flower between their pages, or inhale the intoxicating smell of paper and print? My most treasured texts will always be onesContinue Reading “And this is why I will never give up on print.”

Stories

Drinking the Rain

77 degrees F. outside and I’m bundled up under the covers with the flu. Chai tea and good books are a pretty great vicarious escape. Since I’m forced to play hookie today, I’m indulging in my favorite Adventure Diva book, Alix Kates Shulman’s “Drinking the Rain”. I would give a copy of this to everyContinue Reading “Drinking the Rain”

Art Stories

Writing on handmade paper with a dip-ink quill.

This is the treaty that I transcribed at today’s “Treaty Canoe” event at the Art Gallery of Windsor. I took over transcribing a Muncey treaty started by another participant. She had done such a lovely job of working with the dip-pen in ink. I’m afraid I made a blotchy, horrible mess. You know you areContinue Reading “Writing on handmade paper with a dip-ink quill.”

Art Stories

Tools of the Trade

Last Saturday, as my son was boarding a plane to China for an epic adventure, I was setting out on a micro-adventure of my own. I attended a book making workshop at the Art Gallery of Windsor, led by Meagan O’Connell, curator of Salt & Cedar press in Detroit. What a wonderful experience! I’ve beenContinue Reading “Tools of the Trade”

Art Stories

The Art of Book Making

An exhibit of hand-bound passports suspended in a formation like geese in flight at the local art gallery, and the inspiration for the book making workshop I attended this summer. The artist who created them collaborated with our workshop leader, Megan O’Connell, who taught us how to create and hand-stitch similar books in our workshop.Continue Reading “The Art of Book Making”