Monday, March 14, 2011


By Pamela

This morning my alarm goes off, and my first thought is--wow, it's pretty dark. (Spring forward, I urge my brain.) My second thought is--I'm kinda hungry. As I lie here, in the quiet comfort of my bed, my mind wanders to the people in Japan who are without food to eat or clean water to drink and quickly, thoughts of what I might have for breakfast morph into an overwhelming sense of gratitude that my kitchen is just a short walk away. That I've recently been to the grocery and have a few options for breakfast. That my entire family is safe and accounted for. I close my eyes and say a quick prayer of thanks along with a request to keep those across the globe safe as they pick through the remnants of their lives.

As I turn my head, I see a stack of papers on the antique sewing machine cabinet beside my bed--the manuscript I read just before falling asleep. Again, I think of how grateful I am to have friends who write amazing stories that they trust me to read and respect my opinions. I remember then about my turn to post on this blog today and that I often take for granted what a privilege it is to be able to write about whatever I feel without worrying that I might be jailed for my opinions.

Just this week I read about Tal al-Mallouhi, a young Syrian woman--a blogger, poet and student, who was charged with disclosing secret information to a foreign country in her blog entries and, according to her Facebook page, was arrested in December of 2009 by the officials of the Syrian dictatorial regime and nobody knows her whereabouts. It is believed that Tal was killed after very long hours of torture and interrogation. Thoughts of her ultimate sacrifice to tell others what she felt was so important make me realize how much I take for granted and how precious and finite our time on earth really is.

And so, today, I challenge you to a writing assignment. I'd like for you to join me in thanking someone who has furthered your writing journey. Possibly she is a teacher who put an extra star on a short story along with a 'well done' comment that made your heart soar. Maybe he is a friend who tells you often and always how wonderful your writings are. Or perhaps your mom is your biggest cheerleader--the one who always knew you'd grow up to be a success.

No emails allowed. Pull out a pen and paper and take the time to show your gratitude to someone who cares about you. Give them the gift of a note they can read and reread as many times as they'd like. Give back a little to someone who encouraged you a lot.


  1. It is so important to be grateful- to think about what we have in our lives- thanks for the reminder- pen and paper challenge huh? Thats a good one- thanks for the push :)

  2. Aisha, I keep a folder of notes I've received in my desk drawer. Some are thank yous, others are just letters from friends. (Most are pre-Internet.) But I love how a written note represents the importance of someone taking the time to make that commitment to something tangible.

    Years ago I wrote a thank you to a college English instructor who really helped boost my confidence. (I'd graduated over 15 years prior.) And she wrote me back, saying how excited she was to hear I'd become a writer. Her reaction taught me the significance saying 'thank you' can have.

  3. There's nothing like a real letter!
    Greg Gutierrez
    Zen and the Art of Surfing

  4. Thanks, Greg. I'm encouraging my seven-year-old daughter to write to her grandmothers. (And them to respond.) I have a stack of letters from my grandfather that I cherish, including the last one I received just before he died at the age of 94. He was thinking about getting a car again. :)

  5. You, my dear, and your lovely group of women are the ones I want to thank. Your honesty, commitment, & sense of humor encouraged me to finish my manuscript after 5 years in a drawer.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

  6. Lindsey,

    WOW! You finished it! Fantastic!

    Kim from What Women Write

  7. I wish I could say I did, but I am still working on it most every day and your posts keep me focused and excited about it!

  8. And Lindsey, in turn, you've motivated me. Sometimes I wonder if a particular post might come across too demanding or frivolous or, worse yet, condescending. Therefore your thank you made my day. And keep us posted on your manuscript. So exciting to hear you've revived it!

  9. Lindsey, now I feel like I need your address so I can pull out my pen and write a thank you to you. I sometimes wonder how much impact this blog has, what we are doing it for, and your comment really made my day. It's like the old "if I can just impact one person" line--whatever it is, if it has a positive impact, it's worth it. Thanks for posting.

  10. Lindsey ... :):):):):):) (That's us.)


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