The weekend after September 11, I went to a writers conference where Carolyn See, the keynote speaker, suggested the practice of writing “charming notes,” one handwritten thank you note a day. Refocussing on who and what I was thankful for at a time like that seemed wise and very appealing. Collect beautiful notecards, she told us, and if you can’t think of anyone to thank for something that happened recently, go into your past and thank people you haven’t had contact with in years. I was ready.
For the next year I diligently wrote a note a day. I wrote to my family, my neighbors, my teachers, my friends. I dug up the addresses of middle school friends, camp counsellors and therapists. I wrote to the city council and my congresswoman. After a year, I slowed to writing notes in a more standard way, for dinner parties, gifts, and once in a while, for a memory or shift in my thinking.
Years passed like that. I still kept a collection of cards, but I let the daily practice go.
Then, a few months ago, I was moved to begin again.
Now I begin almost every day at my desk handwriting a note. Before getting up, I lie in bed thinking of who I will write to. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it takes some meditation to allow the recipient to surface in my consciousness. Buying notecards is pure pleasure.
So, it seems appropriate to begin this new blog with thanks. To Tom and to all the people who make it possible for me to begin a new project in this almost unbearably beautiful place, surrounded by people who love me and whom I love: thank you!
California flowers blooming regardless of the drought