I have been feeling so uninspired lately. For those of you who follow my blog you can tell because I have been absent. I went on a couple of quick back to back trips so I originally blamed it on being busy but even when things went back to normal I found I was sitting in front of my computer trying to force myself to write. I guess you could call it writer’s block…I was feeling insipid and the more I tried to write the worse it became.

This morning I had a great workout and then met a friend for brunch. I decided maybe I needed a change of atmosphere so I went to the local library. In front of the library someone had written in chalk “The Public Library is the University of the People” That immediately made me smile. People from all walks of life go to the library. I love the library, I love books, I love the big wooden tables overlooking the lake. I loved that there wasn’t any laundry to do, dishes to wash or floors to mop.

I looked around at the people and silently wondered what they were all working on, some were on laptops like me, others were reading, and some were studying. A man caught my eye. Actually a woman caught my eye and she was curling up her nose at the sight of this man. My first thought was that the man was homeless. He had unkempt hair and a very long beard and appeared to be travelling with a lot of bags. He thumbed intently through the shelves of books, wide-eyed as a kid in a candy store. Although the lady with the curled up nose appeared unimpressed I was fascinated. So many people, so many walks of life but this particular man captured my attention. He seemed enthralled by the selection of books at his fingertips. I wondered would he choose a mystery, a documentary perhaps or was he doing research? I thought of the sign written in chalk on the pavement walking in “The public library is the University of the People” I smiled. If he was indeed homeless I am not sure what paths in life led him to that place but I am glad that a path led him to the public library. He wasn’t a man on the street begging for money or my judgment, he was a man searching for a passion, an escape, and maybe characters to enthrall him and take him to different lands he may never find the opportunity to visit. The public library didn’t belong to me or the lady with the curled up nose, it belongs to all of us; the people.

I often get approached by homeless people and though every encounter is different they always make me think,

“How did you get here?”

I believe a lot of them are not so different then you and I. I have made bad choices in my life, none of us are exempt from that. Did a choice or a succession of choices lead to a situation that was so overwhelming and beyond their control that they couldn’t find their way back? Was it an illness, a death, an addiction, a tragedy?

I am not going to pretend to have heart and sympathy for everyone who has crossed my path, I am no saint, but I do believe that everyone has a story, like characters in a book. It is so easy to sit back and be a critic but you can’t judge a person by their appearance anymore then you can judge a book by its cover. All of us are just characters in the book of life, all of us faced everyday with good, with evil, with conflict and choices.

I started writing a book almost ten years ago. I had faced some very difficult marital problems and in writing I found a creative outlet that allowed me to escape from my own problems. I fashioned characters in my head and penned them to paper. I literally penned them (I didn’t have a computer ten years ago). For a while the characters were like family to me. I felt their joy and their pain. At some point, maybe as I began to heal I put the characters on a shelf but they were still very much alive in my head. They were like family to me, I didn’t see them every day but they were always in my heart.

Recently I was thinking of the characters a lot and I looked through my garage until I found a bin of crumpled, handwritten words, lives that I had created and woven together many years ago. It was like being reunited with old friends. These characters faced pain and decisions and they made mistakes. If you drew the wrong page out of the book, without knowing the whole story maybe you would hate the characters, maybe you would think they were hateful, shallow or foul. However, maybe if you read the whole story you would fall in love with them, you would forgive them their missteps and cheer for them. You would long to help set them on the right path because you had faith in them.

When I first found the basket of crumpled papers I became obsessed with finishing the story. At a certain point I became overwhelmed. Years had changed me and the way I think and feel and some of the plot that was in my head was arduous to put onto paper. I had a beginning, a middle and an end but drawing a straight line and connecting that all became so overwhelming that I took something I loved and turned it into a chore instead of a passion.

I would think to a person who has been knocked down in life and experienced rock bottom it must be a very overwhelming place to be and to navigate your way back up. I am sure at some point they saw their way out, could see a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe the path was too rocky, too overwhelming. We will never know just by looking at them and turning up our nose. Could a smile or a kindness make a difference? I believe it can.

I smiled at the man and sat down with my coffee. I decided that along with my change of scenery I needed to change my direction. My problem is I couldn’t write in a straight line from beginning to end and maybe that is OK.

On this beautiful fall day I wrote the last chapter of my book. The middle may remain unwritten but that is fine. I wrote an ending that was eloquent and heartwarming. I brought people to life and I will bring them full circle. I even cried reading what I wrote (I am a sap)

One day I hope to share the whole story with you, until then I will take each day one day at a time.

Share your smiles today, someone needs one more than you know

Outside my local library today

Kindness of Strangers

“Real Kindness seeks no return”


I had a short and fitful sleep last night after cleaning up a bathroom full of exploded red hair dye. Uggh teenagers! I still had to wake early to get Haley, Morgan and three of their friends to the Capitol Ex parade where they were participating in support of Greater Edmonton Junior Roller Derby. Haley was awake first. She complained that her throat was a bit sore and at nine years old she had discovered on Google several possible reasons for it. She even came across a sore throat blog which recommended a good doctor but she was sad to find out he was in Boston.  She said it was behind her uvula and suspected it might be due too singing  too much.

Haley was very excited to participate in the Parade but became increasingly stand offish and clingy downtown.  Fifteen minutes before the parade was about to begin she was in back of our organizers jeep, pale, crying, freezing and complaining about stomach pain and sore throat.  I was alarmed by her demeanor and ghostly appearance and decided immediately to get her to a clinic, leaving league parents and coaches in charge of the other three girls I had brought downtown for the festivities.

All the  surrounding streets were blocked off so I was unable to use my vehicle and found that the nearest clinic was 16 city blocks away. A Northlands volunteer overhead my situation and immediately stepped up offering to drive us there on a golf cart. Haley was scared initially of the cart but was in no condition to consider the alternative. She was very upset and freezing,  even though it was warm outside.

The kind volunteer named Carol (Zimmerman) covered Haleys legs up with her coat and trekked us through the maze that is downtown during a parade. She maneuvered us through parking lots, side walks, busy streets and through parts of the parade finally and gratefully reaching the Medi-Centre. The kind lady offered to wait and did so even when  the clock ticked away, and the expectation of a quick visit faded away. Haley was diagnosed with Step and was very anxious to get home to bed. I was anxious to get back to the other girls. The pharmacist was a train wreck. I can’t even begin to explain the headache she gave me.

Though it all the stranger continued her promise to wait for us even though she had a couple of hours invested with people she had just met.

Carol reminded me that there is goodness,  kindness and decency in the world. People that will selflessly help others with no hope or promise of personal gain.

When I got home I looked up the number  for the Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacy  location downtown.  Despite the grief I had, a kind woman named Maria stepped in and saved the day. I wanted to thank her. Just as I was dialing I got an incoming call and believe it or not it was Maria. As I was calling to thank her she was calling to apologize for my troubles. What an ironic twist.

Today my faith in humanity was restored.  A superhero driving a golf cart showed love and compassion to us, complete strangers.

I gave Carol a thank you card with a link to my blog. I hope that if she reads this she understands the depth of my sincere appreciation.

Daily Prompt: No Longer a Mere Mortal


  DAILY PROMPT: You’ve imbibed a special potion that makes you immortal. Now that you’ve got forever, what changes will you make in your life? How will you live life differently, knowing you’ll always be around to be accountable for your actions?  Photographers, artists, poets: show us LONGEVITY.

The potion was tasteless but immediately the aftertaste was bittersweet. In a moment of hot summer euphoria I had given myself the gift of forever. I shot it back like a cheap shot of tequila in a dive bar. No lemon, no salt, just straight up like a champ!

Now I was faced with an eternity of decisions and the knowledge that I would outlive everyone I had ever known. I would say goodbye to my husband and helplessly watch my children take their last breaths and leave the mortal world. Would I live forever in sadness and mourning for all that I had once loved? Would I plant every inch of my property with new and vibrant flowers, knowing that I could anticipate their return year after year for all of eternity? Would I spend my days lazy and carefree knowing that there were many more to come?

I sat back in my patio chair allowing the hot sun to wash over my face with it’s splendid presence. A slight breeze tickled my nose, perhaps promising many a sunny day in my future.

I vowed then to see the sun from many different places. I will travel and seek wisdom, knowledge and experience all the universe offers to me. I will visit Rome, once the most powerful civilization in the world. I will seek answers from it’s people. I will visit the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty and Shakespeare’s England. From the ruins of Athens to the wonders of Egypt I will seek and I will find. Prague, Hong Kong, Berlin, Nepal, so many places and a lifetime of questions.

I will love again when all those I have loved have gone. For certain it will be a different love but love all the same.

I will thirst and hunger for the knowledge to fuel my journey and share it as if I I were sharing wealth with the poor so that those I love along the way can live their short lives with the power of promise and the secrets of what once was and what is to be. I will teach people to live their short lives fuller and smarter, allowing for abundant happiness and love.

In a moment I chose never ending life. Forever I will choose to live it. I am immortal, but knowledge will be my true power.