Tag: kindness

COVID-19 Lessons in Perception

Perceptions of time.

In my part of the world we are beginning our third week of shut-down. On the calendar the past fourteen days look like nothing at all, but in real life it feels like forever since I attended a church service, met a friend for coffee, or popped into the grocery store without lining up.

Perception of reality

I feel like the news reporters at CBC   are my new best friends. I spend more time with them than my actual friends. Interesting to watch the fluffy-haired blonde reporters turning into bed-head brunettes. Vik Adhopia is bald so his style has not been affected. Who knew hair loss would be an advantage?

Our Prime Minister (who is practising self-isolation because his wife was infected with COVID-19) appears on television every morning with the latest word from government. There have been missteps along the way, but when one considers the enormity of the task I have to take my hat off to the elected politicians and to the civil servants who are rolling out massive bailout packages at a phenomenal speed.

Websites must be built to handle millions of applications all at once.

Personnel must be deployed to process all those millions of applications within ten to fourteen days.

When one is waiting for the money, that seems a very long time, but from the administrative side, that is lightning fast.

Perception of Nature

At a time when the virus is making us close in, hunker down, and worry, spring has still come to my part of the world. While the virus narrows our outlook, spring appears with open hands, flinging beauty far and wide, free of fear or restraint.   I found this lovely lady at the end of my street yesterday.  I share her with you and hope your heart will lift as mine.

 

Perception of Kindness

There are many examples of kindness to be found just now. Children put hearts in the windows to say thank you to essential workers. Residents bang pots and pans at shift change at the hospital, to say thank you to medical staff. Our local distillery started making hand sanitizers instead of gin and a local delivery company offered to distribute them to fire halls and emergency rooms. Neighbours are helping neighbours — I’ve picked up groceries for some of my housebound friends–families are finding imaginative ways to keep in contact with relatives in nursing homes. 

Perception of WritersInternational Women's Day

On the writerly front, many authors and groups of authors are offering free classes, free critiques and free jokes to help writers through this trying time.  Close to home, the creative academy, has thrown open their virtual doors and opened up conversations with authors–about writing, about selling, about covers, about self-publishing — just about anything you can name. Three cheers for them.

Another example I found is on Writer Unboxed — you know I’m a fan of that blog. They have taken up the blight of debut authors who have had their book launch events cancelled. Under the tag of Helping Fellow Authors in the Age of COVID 19, they have invited debut authors whose events have been cancelled to pitch their book on Writer Unboxed.  Writerly kindness in spades!

Perception of a hero

A crisis brings out both the best and the worst in people–those of you emptying the shelves of toilet paper, just stop it!

But there are many more examples of individuals, companies and governments going flat out to help their neighbours. Kudos to all of you, and especially to authors. While we’re all stuck at home, we need stories. We need writers to take us on a journey of the imagination. We need writers who make us laugh, writers who make us cry and writers who show us the possibilities beyond today.

As I heard a closed restaurateur remark from his closed business, “chin up.”  

If you’ve got a COVID-19 story–it can be funny or profound or heartwarming– please share in the comments below.

 

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Be a Better Blogger

blogging for authorsBefore the order to stop all public gatherings came down, my writer’s group, VIRA, met with Barb Drozdowich. Barb is a writer with 27 books to her name, but not romance, or even fiction. Instead, she writes technical books for writers. The topics cover websites, mailing lists, blogging, self-publishing and various social media platforms. In short, she wants to ease the technical challenges that face authors so they have more time to create stories.

What with family issues, COVID 19 fears, and travel requirements, we had a small turnout, which was disappointing for all of us but Barb handled it with grace. For those of us who were there, we got a very personalized lesson on how to manage our on-line presence. I gave myself a pat on the back because my website name matches my author name and ends in .com. I’m smarter than I knew. 🙂

I bought her book on blogging. I’m a real slacker when it comes to social media, so I thought I concentrate on something I already do and look for ways to improve. The first advice in the book is to think of my blog as a conversation. Look for me to be more chatty and less expository. Now that’s a non-chatty word but one I love! 

Since leaders around the world, including our own Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, are urging as all to stay home even if we haven’t travelled and we’re not sick, we’ll all have a lot of time for reading. Since all the major sports leagues have cancelled events, even my husband has nothing to do but read. As well as spending time with my favourite books, I plan to spend time reading Barb’s advice.

I think this blog counts as writer kindness. Kindness from Barb in offering her wisdom to a handful of authors. Kindness from me for telling all of you about her workshop and her books.

Stay safe everyone. Wash your hands often. Don’t touch your face. Enjoy guilt-free reading time.flowering tree

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More Writerly Kindness

2020 celebrationI’ve been really busy with non-writer stuff this past little while. We had a big event at my church to mark the beginning of 2020. I got to decorate, plan and produce the program, and sell tickets. Lucky me. ☺

I found myself torn between frustration that so much writing time was being taken up with something else and enjoyment at expanding my creativity in another direction. Not to mention, I’m a social being, so putting on a big party was a natural.

Learning to Charleston — on carpet!

The event went well. More tickets sold than expected. The entertainment was a hit — we had a 1920’s theme so had a lesson on the Charleston– and I got to mount my favourite hobby horse with a history quiz. I once taught history to high-schoolers and apparently I never got over it. I had a great time asking people about Canadian politics in the 1920’s, famous Canadians of the era, and who broadcast the hockey games.

I was gravely disappointed at the lack of historical knowledge in the room. Apparently not everyone believes we must know our history in order to appreciate the life we have now and to avoid some of the really big mistakes of the past. Ahem, as I said, I have a hobby horse.

But what really put the icing on my day was a comment about reading the church blog. (I maintain that too.) One of the questions on the quiz had been answered in the blog the week before. Several people at my table said “I know that. I read it on the blog.”  I felt a little glow form around my heart. Nothing is more heartening to a writer than to know that someone read her words and remembered them.

So, that’s my story of receiving writerly kindness. On the giving side, I voted in a cover contest for one of my fellow VIRA members. I interacted with writers seeking help in facebook posts. Simple acts, that don’t take a lot of time. That’s the great thing about kindness, little things make a big difference.

I wish I could stop war, fix the climate crisis and provide a roof for every person living on the streets, but those things are beyond my ability. They are beyond any one person’s ability. But kindness, of the writerly kind or just in general, is within reach of us all. Who knows? Maybe our combined kindnesses will make a more peaceful world where the Earth is nurtured and all human beings are valued.

Want to share stories of writerly kindness? Leave a comment below. I’ll enter your name into a draw for a free book at the end of 2020.

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Peace, Good Will

 

‘Tis the season of frantic shoppers, aggressive drivers, wild-eyed bargain hunters and parking lot fender benders. The newspapers are full of stories of selfishness and greed and down-right bad manners. As an antidote, I’m collecting stories of generosity, selflessness, and kindness.

For the month of December I’ve got “good deeds” on my radar. Not the seasonal ones like serving dinner in a homeless shelter, or putting a float in a parade, or being a secret Santa to a shut in. Those are certainly good deeds and kudos to everyone to participates in those kinds of activities.

But for the purposes of this blog, I’m collecting  small acts of kindness, the unorganized kind. The kind that spread the Christmas Spirit everywhere and anywhere, even in unexpected places.

  • Story One: While waiting in a line-up outside Tim Hortons I encountered a young dad taking his little hockey players out for hot chocolate after an early morning practice. Reason enough to give him a pat on the back. But, he went further. He talked to a young man sitting on the sidewalk. Asked if he was hungry, exchanged names, then offered to bring him a breakfast sandwich. The young man on the sidewalk opted for a donut instead. The dad obliged, even after trying to talk the young man into a healthier choice. I was so uplifted by that dad’s good deed, I emptied my purse into a collection box when I finally reached the counter.
  • Story Two: I lost a prized jacket. Searched the house top to bottom several times. Looked in the most unlikely of places. Retraced my steps. Finally, in a last ditch effort, I called the airport. I was sure I hadn’t worn the jacket when I went to the coffee shop there, but  I was ready to try anywhere. Lo and behold, I did wear the jacket and left it hanging on a chair. Some honest soul found it and turned it in to lost and found. Two days after the jacket went missing, the commissionaire produced it from a back room and restored it to me. I am so very grateful to the people who enabled me to get my coat back. It would have been so easy just to walk away with it.
  • Story Three: I needed to make a left-hand turn mid-block. An oncoming vehicle stopped, allowing me to turn and freeing the line of traffic jammed up behind me. Thank you lady driver. You are a remedy for all the angry drivers out there who drive down the shoulder, cut in and out of traffic and steal parking spaces. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and that your act of kindness inspires others.

So, that’s my list for this week. Watch for more as I celebrate the Christmas season. Please share your own story of peace and good will in the comments section. Let kindness reign!

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Kindness

There has been a lot of hate and ugliness spewed into the mainstream media and into social media in recent months. As an antidote, I present these tales of kindness.

A woman I know lives next door to an elderly gentleman. The man has no family and is becoming increasingly frail.  My friend is a banker, so she began helping her neighbour with his financial affairs – trips to the bank, bill payments, taxes.  Then, as time when on, she did his grocery shopping, arranged for a lawn service, cooked him some meals.  Every day she calls on him to see if he needs anything, and if he does, she provides it.

This woman has no obligation to the old man, other than the kindness required of one human to another. She is not paid for her service nor does she expect a reward.  She simply follows the golden rule and is kind.

Another woman I know goes every day to a seniors facility and reads the newspaper to those whose eyesight makes such a pleasure impossible. She chooses articles she thinks will be of most interest to the residents – mostly veterans from WWII and Korea.  She had done the same for her father and when he passed away, thought there might be others like him who would enjoy keeping up with the news and engaging in discussion about the affairs of the day.  There was no formal program for this woman to plug into, no core of volunteers to spell her off.  She simply saw a need and responded.  Another person who acts out of the kindness of her heart.

Our local newspaper runs a weekly column on acts of kindness. Amid the headlines of war and strife and disaster, these little tales are a welcome counterbalance.  We read of lost wallets returned intact, stolen bicycles replaced, ambulances called, tea and sympathy offered to someone who fell in the street.  Last week was a story of a woman who got into her car and drove to the rescue of a stranger being harassed by a deer.  Yes, we have a problem with urban deer and they can get quite aggressive, especially toward small dogs.  The woman walking her dog was trapped by a doe with a fawn.  When her rescuer appeared she was only too happy to climb into the car and be driven to safety.

In troubled times small acts of kindness can have a monumental impact. They can change the tenor of the debate.  They can remind us that we are all in this together.  They can change a child’s fear to hope.

But what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with you God. Micah 6:8 ESV

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