Purple World and text c 2012 Irene O'garden

Purple World and text c 2012 Irene O'Garden

INSPIRATION

I had finished writing my weekly post when I received news of a resourceful California girl. So I offer the following instead. It’s a story you’ll enjoy.

When ten-year-old Lauren learned that, due to a budget shortfall, the Education Fund Committee of her elementary school had decided to eliminate the entire art program, she was extremely upset. Though she moves to middle school next year, the idea of the elementary students missing art disturbed her. Rather than stew, however, she created a campaign she called One Wall, One Week.

With her teacher’s permission, Lauren visited twenty-five other classrooms at her school. She encouraged her fellow students to ask their parents to remove the art from one wall of their home for one week, and to notice how they felt without it. She asked the teachers to do this in their classrooms as well.  She then collected 387 student signatures on a petition to save the art program.

Last Tuesday night Lauren met with the Education Fund Committee where she presented both the petition and numerous examples of student art. (You can see her presentation in this 3 minute video. ) I am happy to report that thanks to her efforts, the Committee decided to restore the art program in full.

I admire Lauren. First, she spoke up, which takes courage. She took a creative, not a belligerent, approach, which takes imagination. Then she followed through, which takes commitment. (You try giving the same speech twenty-five times.)

Credit is certainly due her school, which allowed her to campaign, and the committee which saw the value in listening to such a concerned child. But one so young doing such heavy lifting offers us all hope for the future and inspiration in the present. May we all take the time to preserve what inspires us.

(Full disclosure: Lauren is my grandniece. Should you wish to leave her a comment, I will see it gets to her.)

Identity: a Writer Wednesday Post

April 25th, 2012 | Posted by Irene in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)
FLOWERING-GIRL3

Image and text © Irene O’Garden

 

What follows is the first in a series of reflections. These arise most vigorously when I take my annual writing retreat, but can sneak up anytime. I took the accompanying photograph on this year’s retreat.  This figure is one of my most cherished objects. I found her at an outdoor antique store, in her present condition. Though you cannot see it in this photograph, incised beneath her bare feet is the word “Life.” She lives here on my desk, but likes to go on trips.                     

IDENTITY

        Heeding at the silver dawn of sixty the ongoing clarification of identity. The ongoing clarification of the ongoing changing identity. And identifying the identity which is steady throughout, always present, who rides the bucking bronco, but is never unseated.

       Still occasionally entertaining the delusion that there is an inside and an outside. That there is a world and a me. Still in kindergarten.     Still teaching in order to learn, learning in order to teach.            Still searching, stretching for the pattern to impose over freedom. Still seeking comfort in syncopation, yearning yet for steady rhythm. Still pausing to spell “rhythm,” still some ancient doubts.        Not knowing the destination, outside of the fiction of death. Yet knowing destination’s not all that important, since each destination is supplanted by another. Direction’s more important. Direction is the pen-name of identity.

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