November 16th, 2006

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Checking in -

This day is slipping quickly by, and yet, with the most beautiful ripples.  I feel myself as the colors of fall, though I bought Cyclamen today in pink, rose, and white.  

Jane and I came to some new insights when we spoke this morning.  We were working on the introduction.  What is it we want to say?   In that, came our mothers, and, of course, for each of us that is the womb in which we entered the world.  Mothers are huge.   We now reach to bring our mothers more clearly into the book.

I have learned with the kittens that they intend no harm.  They are playing and sometimes items fall.  There is no ill-intent on anyone's part.   It allows for such a peaceful space and place.

Today, I was having coffee out and enjoying a darling little boy and girl who were playing together and their mothers were taking pictures and it was precious as could be.   I was smilng and laughing.  Time passed and I was watching the little girl when her cup just slipped out of her hand.  She did nothing wrong but her mother was furious and yelled at her, and then, sat her down and yelled at her some more.  There I was knowing the child did nothing wrong and yet it is true that milk was flowing all over the floor.   It seems so sad, though, that we can't see that the cup slipped and so now we clean it up.  My sense is that the mother  was embarrassed.  What she perceived as her perfect little girl had done something "wrong," and yet, the child had actually done nothing, but lose her grip on the cup.  It  innocently slipped.  I mention this not just for the obvious, but because I think we do that  to ourselves.  Something happens and we spring in to attack ourselves.  "How could you do that?   What were you thinking?"  Somehow the whole incident allowed me to see my day lightly and to look for places to laugh at myself.   It really doesn't have to be a serious world. 

I wonder sometimes when we stopped laughing at our doings, and I think of this child, and think of what was lost today.  I find it very sad and I may see the child again and offer her a smile for all she gave to me today.  

Today, with the weight of the rain, I saw that our Heavenly Bamboo has grown so much that it was leaning way over almost to the ground.  I cut the tops, one of which is flowering, and brought them inside.  I can't believe how beautiful Heavenly Bamboo is.  It truly does float like clouds in heaven.  I think the angels must use it for stairs.

A joyful day to All!!

Be kind to yourself!!
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Balancing - Aikido -

Do not fail
To learn from
The pure voice of an
Ever-flowing mountain stream
Splashing over the rocks.

Contemplate the workings of this world, listen to the words of the wise, and take all that is good as your own. With this as your base, open your own door to truth. Do not overlook the truth that is right before you. Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything - even mountains, rivers, plants and trees - should be your teacher.

Failure is the key to success;
Each mistake teaches us something.

Morihei Ueshiba
Founder of Aikido, which translates as The Art of Peace


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Quality -

Connie Epstein has an article on Wal-Mart  in this month's bulletin for SCBWI - the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.    I think it is worth placing here, especially since Jane was telling me that in the southern states, Kaiser is setting up offices in Wal-Mart.  That way one can shop and take care of their medical care.   It sounds efficient, until you read this.

  Epstein is writing of the Annual Meeting of the Children's Book Council.

    "The second half of the morning was devoted to the Chair's Program, presenting a talk by Charles Fishman, author of The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works - and How It's Transforming the American Economy.   The gist of its success, Fishman explained, lies in its ability to undercut the prices of its competitors, and he cited two striking examples.  Wal-Mart first began selling groceries in 1990 and 10 years later was number one in the business, which it achieved by eliminating distributors and cutting prices by 15%.  Likewise Levi Strauss was able to reverse its downward fall in the blue jean market by joining Wal-Mart in 2003 and designing a product it could sell for $24 instead of $34.  But there is a downside, Fishman noted, recalling how his new Levi Strauss blue jeans started to fall apart after two years instead of lasting many years over as they once did.

    How these case histories, along with a number of others, connect with the book business gave rise to a lively question-and-answer period.  For instance, how much does the quality of a book binding matter?  Or what is the value of knowledgeable handselling to the bookstore customer?  Everyone seemed to agree that there were no easy answers."

When we watched the Ken Burns documentary on Mark Twain, the camera lovely caressed copies of his beautifully bound books.   We enjoyed just seeing them.    I suppose we wouldn't want to carry a book like that around with us, and it is lovely to know they exist.    The same is true of quality.  I hate to see it disappear.   

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Audre Lorde -

    When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

          - Audre Lorde