Monday, March 24, 2008

Write About Gifts

How is your writing going these days? Do you need a boost or inspiration to put your seat on the chair, stay there until you write somethng? In Blue Ridge Country magazine, Elizabeth Hunter, wrote an article about her students in a prison writing class. Elizabeth teaches Nature Writing at JCCFS and I admire her immensely. In fact I buy Blue Ridge Country just to read her column, On the Farm. Once Elizabeth gave me pure maple syrup, a product of her mother's trees in Vermont. I'd never been a fan of maple syrup until I tasted the real thing.

Elizabeth gave her prison students some prompts to engage their writing efforts. One student made a list of the gifts money can't buy. Have you thought of doing that? If you read his list it will certainly give you something to think about, maybe even right about.

2 comments:

  1. A Thoughtful Gift
    I’m funny about gifts. While it seems that most people accept that anything given to you is a gift, I am inclined to think it is a gift only if it pleases us. Over many years I have been given “things” which to me were quite dreadful…including a pair of blue glass, bare breasted candlesticks . Not to mention clothing that I would never wear, food I would never eat and bric-a-brac I refuse to dust…on top of that, I am held responsible for the task of making the sometimes “thoughtless” giver, appreciated.
    By not being grateful we are reminded that it is the “thought that counts”. To the latter, I reply, “Yes, it is the thought that counts and clearly none was given on this offering.” We have been taught to be kind by accepting graciously what is given regardless of the joy or lack of joy we feel. The result is that not only have we acquired the dreaded object but our actions have promoted the continuation of this type of insensitive giving.
    Would it not be better to kindly and I stress kindly, accept the “gesture of giving” while explaining our thoughts on the gift? Wouldn’t that foster true gifting? Would it not promote the act of thinking before giving? Would it not be kinder in the long run? And the future benefit of our behavior would be that children, who learn what they see, would be taught true thoughtfulness.
    Before anyone gets their “knickers in a bunch”…think about the thoughtless gifts you have received and what you did with them. Waited a month or two and pitched it. Gave it away. Put in a drawer, out of sight. Or the big one…re-gifted (aren’t you the good friend !?). Told everyone how awful it was and either laughed or cried. And the ever present fear of being found out. I see no kindness here, only sadness and waste.
    There is never ONE RULE FITS ALL and I don’t mean to imply that. There is kindness in accepting – blindly, an offering from someone we scarcely know but for those we share our lives with the thoughtfulness is all important. It makes the gift sweeter. It bonds you closer…the knowing that they “know” you. The simplicity of a thoughtful gift that has no dollar value. The recapturing of that unexpected remembrance as you recall it on a cheerless day. The knowledge that someone cares enough about you to be thoughtful. That is a gift! That pleases you! That warms your soul!
    I’ve done my share of thoughtless giving and I’ve risked being truthful. It is scary with those we care about but there is a closeness that comes with truth…always acknowledging that it works both ways!

    gooselady 1 Apr 2008

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  2. Thanks, gooselady. Your comment resonates with many of us, I'm sure. Many of those gifts end up as "white elephant" presents at parties. But I've been guilty of giving a gift without knowing the person as well as I thought. I gave my sister-in-law lovely earrings. I loved the earrings, but she couldn't wear them. She didn't have pierced ears! I had not noticed. Maybe I was thinking more about what I liked than what she would like.
    There are all kinds of gifts. But how much money have we wasted on buying "things" when a gift of another kind would be more appreciated.

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