Stories by singlestep (11 matches)

Life Is Baeutiful.

Do you remember the name of your kindergarden teacher? I do, mine. Her name was Mrs White. And I remember thinking she must be some older relation of Walt Disney's Snow White, because she had the same bright blue eyes, short dark hair, red lips and fair skin. I don't remember much about what we learned in her class, but my mother once told me that we used to write a lot. And I would bring back what I wrote and she would look at it and see there were so many mistakes. But no red corrections. And always a star. Sometimes even a Good! scrawled in that would make my heart soar with happiness. But it worried my mother, so one day when she went in to meet Mrs White for one of those Parent-Teacher meetings, she asked her why she never corrected my mistakes. Why she never red-pencilled ... Read Full Story >>

81.9K Reads

Be Vocal In Times Of Beauty

To stand up and speak out against cold injustice, against the blind wrong-doing that we see in the world-- that is one kind of activism. But there is another kind. A rarer form of fire-in-the-belly commitment to a much less talked about cause. Tell me, do you stand up and speak out when you encounter a moment of unexpected joy, warmth, beauty or compassion in your life? Do you stop to say so when you stumble across something that makes you smile- or are you in the dull habit of registering the remarkable without remark? Are you a bystander of beauty, a mute spectator of special-ness? Do you let the silver-lining moments of the day slide into an insignificant silence-- or do you seize them as the chance to make something bloom? Sometimes I think of all the nice things I've thought about other people and never shared, of the unacknowledged ... Read Full Story >>

38.7K Reads

A Tattoo Named Lost

Got on the plane in Minneapolis for the two hour and nine minute flight to NY. Spent the first nine minutes of it talking to the young curly-brown-haired passenger with long sideburns. In the first three minutes of talking to him I noticed on the back of his hand a ball-point-pen tattoo. One word. "Lost". And for some reason that touched me. In the same inexplicable way that "Help Wanted" signs in store windows do sometimes. That people would be so honest, so open about their vulnerability. I wonder what he is going through. This fellow passenger with his friendly manner who freelances for the magazine "Popular Photography" and moved back to his hometown in Lawrence, Kansas from NY- because even though there's a lot you can do in NY there's a lot that you can't do there when you're broke. And now he's learning how to do video editing and trying to ... Read Full Story >>

24.7K Reads

Spreading Smiles in Calcutta

I was catching a flight from Calcutta to Madras and had arrived at the airport rather early. Have always thought of airports as rather happy places- everyone at the beginning or the end of a journey- or both- such a sense of adventure in the air- and warmth- because people travel to see people and you know as you look around that that's someone's daughtersonhusbandwifefriendgrandmotheruncle cousinnephewhathaveyou and someone on the other end is going to be So Very Glad to see them. So until I saw the young couple sitting a few seats away from me, and noticed that the woman was crying-I'd never stopped to think that though airports are places of Adventurous Arrival they can also be about Difficult Departure. The young woman was crying, the young man was- not. He looked distinctly connected to her and decidedly uncomforting (and yes that is judgemental of me but so be ... Read Full Story >>

5702 Reads

Those New York City Moments

At a local bakery/restaurant I gave the cashier some money along with a Smile card.  "Please surprise someone by taking care of their order with this today," I said, "and give them this card."  Her mouth dropped open. "Really?" she asked.  "Really." I replied.  "Why are you doing this?" she asked.  "To spread a little bit of kindness," I said, "It feels like a good day to share a little bit of extra love."  Her face broke into the biggest grin. "This is so beautiful!" I smiled thinking about how she was going to spend the rest of the day looking for that "perfect" person to tag. I had no idea that what went around would come around so quickly. A little while later I stood, looking lost, on a subway platform in Times Square. A suit-clad commuter pulled out his earphones and gently asked, "Where do you need to go?" Then he gave me directions.  Soon afterwards I ... Read Full Story >>

5181 Reads

On Grey Days of the Soul

The three of us met this morning at a crowded cafe in downtown Manhattan. The streets outside wet-gleaming in the rain and blossoming with umbrellas. Me, and K and M. K a young woman I'd met only just this morning. A person with a wonderful spirit working towards finding balance through a challenging period in her life. M a woman I met two years ago in the park. A writer struggling with writer's block and an internal inertia- who later attended an informal poetry workshop we put together and wrote a beautiful little poem - her first in close to a year. So there we were- the three of us- unexpectedly together (who can explain these things?). The napkins on the table were huge, white and irresistible. So of course we had to write a poem together. Because what else are huge, white, irresistible table napkins for? I started the first ... Read Full Story >>

4493 Reads

When A Rose Is A Rose Is- More Than A Rose.

A woman on a pavement with an armful of roses-to-sell and a tired expression in her eyes. She is surrounded by people who are very not buying roses tonight. We walk past her, and then walk back. I love flowers, but roses are far from being my favorite flowers. They are too-written about. Too poeticized. Too perfect. But this was not about the roses. We buy ten buds, some tightly wrapped up in themselves, others just starting to open. Give her one, he says, just loud enough so I can hear and she can't. I pull one-long stemmed beauty out of the bunch and give it to her for the pricelessness of a sudden smile. We walk on newly-burdened, one down, nine roses to go. Do we hand them out to random strangers? Or wait to stumble across someone sad-faced and in-need-of-exactly-ten-minus-one roses? No- we decide instead to let the ... Read Full Story >>

4076 Reads

David Copperfield on Kindness

I believe in kindness. But it's hard to be kind. We're not trained for it. Kindness is for sissies; we learn that early. "Nice guys finish last." If they even get invited to the race. Kindness is taken for weakness, rube-ishness, stupidity. No one seems to respect the kind. They respect the killer. We're taught to value competitiveness, strength, cunning, Darwin. I work in the entertainment business, where kindness just never seems to be "in." It's not macho. It doesn't sell tickets. In the movies, the hero never kills the bad guy with kindness. But I believe Economics 101 is right. The value of a thing is determined by its scarcity. Which makes kindness spiritual gold. I am writing these words a few weeks after my father's death. He was a fervent Republican. He preached an eye for an eye. He was a hawk. But he practiced ... Read Full Story >>

3695 Reads

In Giving I Connect with Others

I have lived with passion and in a hurry, trying to accomplish too many things. I never had time to think about my beliefs until my 28-year-old daughter Paula fell ill. She was in a coma for a year and I took care of her at home, until she died in my arms in December of 1992. During that year of agony and the following year of my grieving, everything stopped for me. There was nothing to do -- just cry and remember. However, that year also gave an opportunity to reflect upon my journey and the principles that hold me together. I discovered that there is consistency in my beliefs, my writing and the way I lead my life. I have not changed, I am still the same girl I was fifty years ago, and the same young woman I was in the seventies. I still lust for life, I ... Read Full Story >>

3095 Reads

A Midnight Mistake

It was late as we left the restaurant after a meeting. It had been a busy week and we still had a lot of work ahead of us before we went to bed that night. We had already crossed the toll booth when I discovered I'd left my purse at the restaurant. It had my husband's phone in it and he was leaving for out of town the next day. We needed that bag. There was nothing to do but to turn around. There wasn't much chance that we would make it back to the restaurant before closing time but we decided to try anyway. A little monologue of reproach started off in my head. How could I be so careless. Now we wouldn't get home until a couple hours later and who knew if we would even find the bag that night, and we were already running low on ... Read Full Story >>

2531 Reads

Wherever You Go...

We'd stopped to get coffee at a faraway lights-and-laughter filled cafe somewhere over the bridge. Behind the counter was a young woman with a ready-steady kind of warmth that spilled over into the orders she took. When she looked up over a chocolate croissant at us, her smile deepened, " You two are so cute together!" she exclaimed happily, at which point my husband, who has his own unique brand of ready-steady warmth volunteered the information that it just-so-happened-to-be our first anniversary. She wanted to give us something then,  "I wish you'd told me earlier -- I wouldn't have charged you! Can I offer you a piece of cake on the house?" We declined the offer, saying that the interaction in and of itself was gift enough. At which point she said impulsively, "I wish my boyfriend were so thoughtful. I don't know if he'll ever get around to asking ... Read Full Story >>

2116 Reads

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