FOUR THINGS TO ASK A STRANGER (almost a parody)

Welcome to Mary Anne Radmacher's blog.

One way to get to know a person you've just met is to ask them to tell you about their favorite friends. It's said that a person essentially becomes an aggregate of the five people with whom they spend the most time.

There's another telling question to ask a stranger. It's all about a book.

1) Is there one book that you have re-read and will read again (and again)?
2) What is the most recent book that you've read and what stands out to you most?
3) What is the title of a book you recommend most often to friends?
4) What was the last book you read that made you so sad when it came to the end? (Because you wanted to keep on reading, not because the ending was sad!).

If the person you are just getting to know has never re-read a book, can't remember what stood out from the last book they read, doesn't recommend books to friends and has never felt sad to stop reading an excellent book...

I suggest that you stop conversing with them. And, perhaps, run. Kidding (not kidding). Perhaps you might consider striking up a conversation with someone else that you might want to get to know. AND start THAT conversation off by recommending a book you've recently read...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

the jump is so frightening

THE JUMP

When I was a little girl I would save my money and go to our corner drug store which had, what I thought, was the world’s largest collection of greeting cards. And they were for sale! Bliss. I loved all the images and would take an hour to select one card. Even at eight years old I thought the inside greetings were just plain silly. I would purchase my card, march home and use my dad’s white-strike-out-correcting sheet to set those insides right (had “white out” not yet been invented?). Then it was ready for a personal note and was sent off to some interested family friend or a relative that required a thank you. I was not sure what “precocious” meant but folks always said it in a kind way when they told my mother that’s what I was.

In my early twenties I dreamt of starting my own greeting card company. I would write on the pages of my journal, ”I want to be an artist.” I longed to create a livelihood that had meaning and use my talents and skills in the service of a compelling and inspiring idea. I was certain that I would have to WAIT until I was (eh-hem) really old. Maybe some time in my forties. I thought perhaps by the time I reached the wise age of 45 I would have gotten all the education needed and managed to save up enough money to fund my own company.

The rumblings wouldn’t leave. I felt unwilling to wait almost twenty years before I could manifest my dream I wrote to a man who used to own the kite shop in the small community in which I lived. He knew a lot about how to make things fly…including one’s dreams. I poured my heart out to him in that letter. I told him I realized I didn’t know the first thing about operating a business and I didn’t have a dime to my name. But I KNEW what I wanted to do. And then I wrote, “The jump is so frightening between where I am and where I want to be…because of all I may become I will close my eyes and leap.”

I brought the letter to a close and posted it. Soon a photocopy of that letter came back to me. The jump phrase was circled in RED…with his note on the side. “THIS sentence, these words, are the reason you are ready to start your business now. You know everything you need to know…and these words should go on one of your first products.”

They did.

I have heard stories over the years how that particular sentence has been the motivation to move people along and give them the courage to put wings to their dreams.

Ha! Just today I could fold those words into a letter whispered just after these words, “I am on the cusp of a remarkable journey. All the longings of my life have led me to this amazing transition in my experience.” Ah, yes. Jump.

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