Monday, May 9, 2011

read talk walk [sing] write smile

One of my daily routines is to go to Google Reader and see what has been delivered to me through the magic of RSS feeds. Today I was delighted to find 5 Things To Do Daily, by Nina Sankovitch, posted at Care 2 Make a Difference.

Frankly, I almost skipped Sankovitch's wonderful essay. In recent weeks I've been 'attending' a couple of on-line workshops on how to get organized, and have methodically honed my list of the things I need to do daily. There are EIGHT of them, including 'Check Google Reader.' What if I found that I had to add five more? Nothing new will fit on the one-page checklist I've set up on a clipboard, with 31 numbers to tick off after each item.

It was a relief to find that the 'five things' were pretty much habitual for me, and that they were all expressed in words of one syllable. Oddly, "sing" was omitted from the list of five things, though Sankovitch clearly states that one should sing while walking, and so I added "sing" to the five when I used them to title my own post today.

I cannot count the ways in which "read talk walk [sing] write smile" resonates with me at this very moment, but I will outline a few that come to mind in addition to the aforementioned 'to-do list' coincidence.

1. Reading as therapy has worked for me, and it's the subject of a poem (titled Palliative) I wrote about a friend who was dying of lung cancer. Here's an excerpt:

    With six months to live,
    and having renounced an aggressive program of care,
    she sets out read or re-read
    all the novels of Dominick Dunne.

2. Talking with friends and family (strangers, too!) is an important activity for me, and books come up in many of my conversations. My birthday and Mothers Day provided the occasion of numerous phone calls, and yesterday Ruth recommended Donna Leon's mysteries, set in Venice (Italy, not California!). These will make a welcome respite from the heavy Doctorow (City of God) and Atwood (Before the Flood) now at the top of my Kindle menu.

3. Walking while singing was part of the all-day choral rehearsal I attended on Saturday, and walking while watering with reclaimed wash water has become an important part of my gardening routine. More to come on that one.

4. Writing? Duh!

5. Smiling is not something I do intentionally, though I laugh a lot.

As part of explaining her five things to do, Sankovitch describes instances of their application in her own life. Something she had written about a walk in the park with her son (then under a year old, now 18 and getting ready for college) reminded me of a time when my then 4-year-old younger son wanted me to take him to the park. He said, "You can sit on the giant turtle and read." So we went to the park, and I read, though not on the giant turtle, and his negotiating skills have continued to be a big factor in his success as an entrepreneur.

Finally, the sheer phenomenon of being reminded reminded me of something  Ludwig Wittgenstein said about aesthetics. Not something whereof I'm qualified to speak at this time, but Wittgenstein has been on my mind because he's a minor character in Doctorow's City of God.

Now I must re-read Wittgenstein along with the Donna Leon mysteries. The idea makes me smile.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License