I’m taking a page from my late mother, with my own twist on it. As I write in my memoir:
When Mom’s baby sister, my godmother’s first husband died and she had to raise seven children under nine years in age, my Mom stepped in to help. She couldn’t be physically present 24/7 – she had my Dad and me to look after in Toronto, the house and garden, and her sister lived miles away on the farm near Lucknow, Ontario. But we had Canada Post.
The sisters wrote back and forth a lot and Mom used to show me my godmother’s letters, but not her replies. Instead she made a big fuss out of playing Goodwill to help her little sister, something that people did then.
When the snow piles up in Toronto and stacks up on the farm, boxes of hand-me-downs, mother’s old clothes, my no-longer fitting clothes, and I suspect some store-bought ones find their way from our house to theirs. (Excerpted from You Can Go Home: Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2013 Sharon A. Crawford)
I would seem to be on the “needing to receive end” of the stick. However, to perhaps balance the bad karma of all the crap coming at me, I’ve decided to do some good deeds – but on my terms. So, I don’t seek out situations and people but let them show up in my life and then act. The deed must not require a lot of time to do. I watch out for anyone I think might be taking advantage of me – for example, as a “seasoned writer, editor and writing instructor” I get people trying to get my help and services for free – beyond what I would do within the writing groups I belong to in person and online.
The deeds all happens by serendipity. It doesn’t occur every day and maybe not for days. So far I’ve helped a woman open a glue packet so she could glue her suddenly falling-apart boot, loaned my friend next door $3 so she could take public transit for an important appointment (her car died a few months ago), and moved someone’s green bin off the road onto the sidewalk – no doubt thrown on the road by the garbage collectors and/or the automatic collection arm from the trucks.
It’s little things like that. The people and their situations find me. And the key, so far, seems to be to quickly access the situation and act spontaneously. Almost didn’t pick up the green bin until I had walked on a few metres, decided I better do it, turned around and walked back.
Some of it has been automatic. A couple of authors from one of the writing organizations I belong to (Crime Writers of Canada http://www.crimewriterscanada.com/) have been helping me, a newly published first-time author (Beyond the Tripping Point short story collection. See http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html) For a panel I’m moderating in May with another writing organization (Canadian Authors Association Toronto branch http://www.canauthorstoronto.org/) I chose those two authors as panelists. Ditto for a CWC-sponsored reading in a coffee house-pub). Automatic give and receive?
Even if I can’t afford to give $$ to charity, I can do a little good deed now and then.
But I still reserve the right to rant about what stinks in my life – something about not holding it in which can build up and make you ill.
That’s my toonie’s worth – no more pennies in Canada. But my rant on that is for another post.
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes