Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What Do 26 and 31 Have in Common?

Technically nothing, except that they are numbers representative of things bigger than I am, especially the 26.
See that 26 Acts of Kindness badge? After performing 4 Acts of Kindness, I can finally tell people about it without crying. Being kind to others shouldn't be difficult, but when it's done in the name of 26 innocent people killed in Newtown, CT there is an entirely new level of emotion involved.
I first heard of Ann Curry's 26 Acts from my sister who practically lives on Facebook and kept seeing posts from friends. I was completely unaware of what Ms. Curry started, but as my sister read the FB posts to me, I had chills. I performed my first act on December 24, and cried my way through it.
I was in our local bookstore, Watchung Booksellers, picking up a book I had ordered for my daughter. The store was PACKED with last minute shoppers. Behind me in the very long line was a dad with his two sons.  One of them was perusing the lenticular bookmarks at the same time as I was. My purchase was only $6.99 (crazy reasonable for a book!) so I picked out two bookmarks and paid for them. I asked Margot to give them to the boys behind me, but not until after I left and asked her to not tell them who they were from. I probably scared the daylights out of the dad. Margot looked at me like I was crazy and when I tried to explain what I was doing I couldn't even speak, but I had never felt so good. Since then, I had not followed up with additional acts, but then I saw this on the Indie Exchange blog. I signed up and have so far completed an act for each day since starting on Janurary 5. The first was an anonymous donation of a mouth guard to the lacrosse team where my daughter is playing. Trust me, some day someone will forget one. The second was taking my neighbor's garbage cans from the curb to her driveway near the bin that holds them. The third was that I bought 90% of a car wash for hte person behind me. By then, I was able to tell the cashier what I wanted to do without crying and I heard the guy behind me express his surprise and another's generosity. I felt good. I have no idea what the next 23 will be.
Sadly, 26 Acts will not bring back those who were lost. Ever. But in the names of Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, and Rachel Davino, I hope that these small acts and all others that follow will remind us to help one another, not judge, and take a moment to be kind.
So, that's the 26.
The 31, is for a challenge on Katia Raina's blog to write for 31 minutes every day in January. The purpose is to make yourself better at what you do and reach your goals by practicing every day. For me, that includes learning about the craft. So in my 31 minutes, I've editied, blogged, written in a different style from my usual, and read about how to write. See, for me, writing started as a way to express myself, with no thought to the technique of the craft. I'm learning from others, making plenty of mistakes on my own, but most of all, keeping up with it every day. Thanks Katia for the inspiration.