Monday, February 21, 2011

Latest Publication-- A Peace Poem/Prayer

My latest poem "Create Peace" is actually a prayer and you can find it here at the Mennonite Church's Peace and Justice Support Network website. There are other wonderful prayers (and resources) for those interested in praying and acting for peace.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How *The Help* Helped

After reading The Help by Katherine Stockett, I was motivated to do some unusual things around the house. First, I polished my silver. I pulled the putty from the laundry room closet, along with an old t-shirt and headed to my jewelry box. No, I don't own any real silver vases or silverware or any "real" niceties, but I have several pair of tarnished earrings and a few necklaces and pendants. So I stood there, daubing and rubbing, watching the shine emerge and the black accumulate on the rag. It's tedious work, but I like the tangible, aesthetically pleasing results. Much more satisfying than laundry for me.

Second, I scrubbed the floors in my bedroom and dining room on my hands and knees. Good Heavens the crazed things I do because of literature.

See, I really dislike cleaning. Enough so that I have "help" come in to do the cleaning. Often this embarrasses me. But I really don't like it, though I like living in a (relatively) clean house. Once, though, a writer friend absolved me of my guilt saying that not everyone can write... so if I can, leave the cleaning to someone who finds satisfaction in it. Indeed, Skeeter didn't do much cleaning in her life. I found, reading the book, that I identified with many of the characters: the woman with the little kids who pays for help so that she can "volunteer" elsewhere; Skeeter, who wants to be a writer and write something important; and sometimes even Aibileen, who listens to children and tries to fill their heads so full of good thoughts it will carry them into a good adulthood.

This, though, is the passage that has made the biggest impression on me:
"We all on a party line to God, but you, you setting right in his ear."
This is Minny talking to Aibileen about putting someone on her prayer list, which Aibileen keeps in a little notebook. It made me think about how cool that'd be to sit in God's ear. And after mulling this idea over a while, I figured there's nothing to keep any of us from sitting there except climbing up there with focused prayer. That's what Aibileen did, kept a list and wrote her prayers -- which took her about an hour a night. So, I found a little notebook in my office -- because I dearly love getting little notebooks, though I have no idea what I could possibly write that would fit in a little notebook. It's a tiny bit of a thing, maybe 1.5 x 3" and only 12 sheets of paper. But I filled in a list of names on that first page and it's like Aibileen says on the page before the above quote: "And the next and the next. Cause that's the way prayer do. It's like electricity, it keeps things going." I have already noticed that electric continuation... and have a few new names to add to the list.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Groan.... Running

Once again, the only way I can motivate myself to keep in shape is to sign up for a 5K -- the 5th Annual Asheville Shamrock Run. This time, though, I've actually printed out a calendar with a daily training program. Each day has written on it what I'm supposed to run... Today, thankfully, is a rest day.

Yesterday was not. In fact, I'm impressed I accomplished yesterday's training -- 10 minutes of warm-up, 6x400m at 10 seconds below my goal pace with slow 400s in between. Then an 800 to cool down. Added together, it was just over 4 miles. After my first 400 at a 9 minute mile pace, I decided running was for the birds and started the rhythmic chant "I hate this" in time to my heavy footfalls. I did get it all done, though, and kept the 9 minute pace. I'm hoping all this pays off since I sure don't enjoy the process.
At least it allowed me to devour my Valentine's Day chocolates without the slightest twinge of guilt.

I'd like to finish the race under 30 minutes... and training for a 9 minute mile would put me way under 30 minutes. However, the race's logo makes me suspect that it could be a much hillier course than I run on the treadmill. Ugh. Hills.