stop and notice when something beautiful happens

Sunday, June 5, 2016

At the gym where I Body Combat on Saturday mornings and sneak in thirty-minute-CNN enhanced workouts two or three additional days each week, I qualify as the most poorly dressed. I have one pair of work-out pants. Four T-shirts, two of them now dryer-reduced to ten-year-old-girl status. Having been recently reminded of my poor fashion sense by a far-better heeled friend (it was suggested, firmly and more than once, that I would highly benefit from a stylist who would tell me with emphatic speed that black turtlenecks are out), it seemed time to get new T-shirts. Yesterday, as I waited for what turned out to be a beautiful conversation with Melissa Jensen and Cordelia Jensen (and the fabulous Ashley) at the Penn Book Center, I headed over to the Penn Bookstore to buy two replacement alum shirts.

And then I was stopped—completely stopped—by this. Story, center stage, in the window.

I need to thank someone, I whispered, to the young man at the information desk inside.

I am not a writer you'll find at many of the big shows. I'm not on the traveling circuit. Infinitely more interested in writing the next, in writing it better, in reading the work of others, in sharing what I find out, I don't do what most writers do to advance my personal career. And so I feel particularly blessed when the utterly unexpected happens. When those who read the books I write take the time to tell me about the experience. When my love for my city is acknowledged in humbling ways. When my high school invites me to speak to the graduating seniors on commencement day. When my alma mater (and employer) turns a book I wrote into window art. When people I respect—Melissa, Cordelia, Ashley—share fragments of their worlds.

There are so many measures in a writer's life—indeed, in any life. The trick, I think, is to stop and notice when something beautiful happens—however unquantifiable. And then, of course, to say thank you.


Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

I was at the Penn bookstore just the other day, and saw this display. I thought you already knew about it, or I would have told you!

Black turtlenecks are never out.
(Then again, I'm hardly fashionable myself. But some pieces of clothing are just classic. Or should be.)

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