It’s time for your Tuesday Quick-Write, and guest author Amy Ludwig VanDerwater joins us with a little writing of gratitude today…
Amy is the author of two poetry books for children: FOREST HAS A SONG (Clarion, 2013) and READING TIME (WordSong, date TBA). She is also co-author (with Lucy Calkins and Stephanie Parsons) of POETRY: BIG THOUGHTS IN SMALL PACKAGES (Heinemann, 2013). You can find Amy at her blogs, The Poem Farm, a site full of hundreds of poems and mini lessons and Sharing Our Notebooks, a site celebrating notebooks of all kinds.
TUESDAY QUICK-WRITE: THANK A STRANGER
Look around. Wherever you are, strangers have touched your life: pioneers cleared the land, a faraway soul designed those shoes, someone unknown to you raised your puppy during his first weeks. Invisibly, strangers bump against and through our lives. Today stop to thank one. Write a letter.
The style of your letter does not matter. You may write a formal letter or you may simply write notes. You may write a poem or a story or a list. You may share or never share. But thank. And begin with a stranger. It will not be hard to find one. Just look around.
This is a snip from a letter I recently wrote to a stranger. Glancing atop my desk, I saw two dolls sewn by our daughters.
One quick glance reminded me of my own long-ago doll:
When I was six years old, you sewed something for me. You did not know me or my family or what would land me in the hospital (tonsils), but still, you sewed. You sewed a doll by hand, a doll about seven inches long, her head the size of a silver dollar. My doll had yellow yarn hair and a full-skirted kelly green and white checkered dress. She was a post-surgery gift, given to me by a nurse.
In the 1970’s, you were a hospital gift-sewer, a hidden volunteer, my doll’s mother. You created this doll with simple peach hands and bits of lace on her collar and sleeves. You made her bright green satin legs. And I never said, “Thank you,” because I never knew who you were…
We are touched daily by those we will never know. As Margaret Tsuda writes in her poem Commitment in a City, “If we should pass again/within the hour,/I would not know it./Yet –/I am committed to/love you.” In his poem Candles, Carl Dennis encourages us, “But today, for a change, why not a candle/For the man whose name is unknown to you?” Why not? And as we sit in candlelight, why not write a few lines of gratitude too?
Note from Kate: Thanks, Amy! Campers, as always, feel free to share a few lines of what you wrote today in the comments!
We’ll be giving away a copy of Amy’s FOREST HAS A SONG to one commenter, drawn at random.