Aha! Moments Spotlight

The Malady of “Otherness”

“It’s impossible not to love someone whose story you have heard.” The beloved children’s TV host Mister Rogers carried that quote in his wallet, to remind him of the importance of listening.

“Storytelling + listening can connect residents of a divided city.”

I love the spirit of this! I’d love to cultivate something similar here in Windsor. The very first thing that came to mind is a homeless friend who has been working to organize his colleagues to keep them safer, and to create more respectful bonds and discourse with the businesses downtown who are affected by their presence. “Gramps” and I have coffee when I’m downtown. He’s shared many stories of not only his own experiences (some of them truly devastating), but those of the others on the street. The one that absolutely broke my heart was of a city Councillor who treated a very young panhandler with horrific disdain. I won’t relate the story here, but it made my blood boil, and then got me thinking about how much of this rift continues to exist because of this sense of “otherness”. It’s so easy to look past someone who is different, particularly when their circumstances make you uncomfortable. Poverty isn’t “their” problem; it’s OUR problem. Suffering flourishes when communication fails. This group in Chicago has such an interesting perspective on how to dismantle the malady of “otherness”.

Have a peek at this bit from their project, and then please tap me on the shoulder if you are someone who is interested in finding a way to cultivate something like this in the Windsor area?

Spotlight Tools for Writers

The Clues to a Great Story

So I’m writing a novel. It only took me the first 52 years to make good on the promise I made myself when I was 7 (okay, so technically 45 after that, but who’s counting?), but I’m doing it, and I’m loving it. Along the way, I’ve been gathering the wisdom of elders. The nice thing about the internet is that it makes this really easy to do, picking up advice here, a tool there.

I’m about half way through my journey now, and found that while I still had the fire burning in my belly, more than when I started, I was finding it tougher to know how to move forward in a meaningful way. So I went back to the toolbox I’d been tossing things into on Pinterest, and found a few things to help me get back to the business of falling in love with the story all over again.

One of the things that was really helpful was Andrew Stanton’s TED Talk, and the simple pictogram that accompanied it: “The Clues to a Great Story”.

Click through to add them to your own toolkit …

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”