• One Minnesota Writer

Creative Options

Ever felt like you were just waiting for something, anything at all, to explode? Wishing for it, even? I mean life can get pretty dull, even a good life that has all the basic stuff one needs like food, shelter, clothing, even love. Things just move along in their assigned lanes and there’s no off ramp for a very long time. Maybe dull isn’t the right word. Maybe it’s predictable. Regimented. Planned. Assigned as in obligations. And right about now you’re thinking that everyone feels that way sometimes, gotta do what you gotta do, grow up already. But some of us still wonder what happened to the idealists we were, the ones who were not going to live the expected sorts of lives for whatever backgrounds we all came from.  I was expected to be a good Catholic civil servant who quit her job once there was a man to take care of me. Yikes. My instinct was to run far. And I did. I torpedoed the Catholic practice almost immediately upon leaving home. Got a degree in a field that generally doesn’t earn me more than a starving wage. Got married not once, but twice. Practice poetry. Actually like my kids as people.  Like their friends, too. Travel whenever I get the chance. Volunteer for some amazing organizations. Still thumb my nose at rigidity. Yet, I’m waiting for something to come along and shake things up because there’s still this sense of confinement. I didn’t realize what I was waiting for until this afternoon when I replied to an email with the phrase, “explosions can be kind of fun.” I did a double-take at my own response and then I sent it anyway. And now I’m pondering how to make an explosion since waiting around is way overrated. Will it be with writing, with art, with activism, with another hit-the-road segment? Will it get me in trouble? Can I do this without collateral damage? 

Whatever I figure out, this is what makes me realize I am living a creative life: I can actually consider making some kind of explosive change to the status quo and not worry about getting fired. Not too many civil servants get to do that. 

Gotta go brainstorm. DO A KIND THING This morning, I sat in a meeting with a nurse’s council at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul. I am a volunteer for Children’s because one of my kids has type 1 diabetes and that changed the lives of everyone in our family. Another woman was there whose child has an autoimmune disorder of a different sort that results in the body attacking its own muscles. Still another has a daughter with cerebral palsy. I spent the morning thinking about all the kids who have chronic conditions that they deal with every single day and what that means. There is no spontaneity for some of these kids – they can’t just run out the door and go do something without taking a bunch of equipment or medicine with them. And, yet, they’re still kids who smile and laugh and go to school and make friends. So today’s suggestion for an act of kindness is to check out the Children’s website (http://www.childrensmn.org/), click on “Giving“, and see if you can volunteer or donate. They make a difference.


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