Saturday, April 27, 2013

A March to the Finish Line - Entry #33

I can’t believe there are less then 30 more notes and letters to write.  It seems like yesterday I set out on this road of discovery to craft a card a day for one year.  One year!  Three Hundred sixty-five days!  When I step back, browse my spreadsheet (yes, I have a record of everyone I’ve written to) it is hard to comprehend the end is so near.  When I began on May 25, 2012 I had two huge concerns.  First, would I have the discipline and perseverance to see the project through to its conclusion?  Was my pronouncement via cyberspace more bravado then reality?  Second, could I actually come up with the set goal of individuals and/or couples to send a piece of correspondence to during this timeframe?   I knew there would be a robust pool of people to draw on for my cards--real world friends, colleagues, family members, students, Facebook connections, and almost 2,000 Twitter followers.  Factor in casual acquaintances and individuals I may not even know and the $64,000 question was would all of this add up to the magic number of 365?

The answer to the first question has been yes, with an asterisk.  As I stated in an earlier post (blog entry #23) the daily writing requirement has been more of a plus/minus three.  Translation—I may be between three days ahead of schedule or three days behind.  So while the majority of my notes or letters are written daily, I have built in some wiggle room.  This has served me well during absences from home and office, vacations, or the occasional malaise I feel as I veg out in front of the television after a long, hard day on the job.

The next question, in a way, answers itself since I am over 93% complete with my undertaking.  Still, as I race to the finish line I worry.  The remaining names in my little black book have almost all been crossed off.  As of this moment in time I will admit I do not have all the remaining names figured out, mainly to give me some leeway with the final selections.  However, I will not write to just anyone just for the sake of getting to my critical number--“oh, meter maid thank you for giving me that parking ticket.  I was a bad boy and deserved it.  You are a credit to your profession;” or “grocery bagger I admire the way you group produce in one bag and frozen food in another.  You are artistry in motion.”   A secondary question is more important--will I complete my project and realize, after-the-fact, that I inadvertently left someone off that I wanted to include?  I’ve had a few fitful nights’ rest as this thought ricochets through my mind.  While many of the individuals that are on the receiving end of one of my missives know of The Project, the vast majority are unaware of this venture.  This should preclude a clamoring horde sobbing at my door if someone doesn’t receive one of my personalized notes.  If that does occur I guess I could just prolong my task.  Or not.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Note to Dad - Entry #32

I wrote to my father last week.  He has been a constant cheerleader for my year-long Writing Project.  He has provided me with many artsy notecards, most with pictures of his collage art on the front, to use for my endeavor.  The other day he informed me he had picked up the book, 365 Thank You’s, by John Kralik, which was part of the inspiration for this undertaking, so he could become more attuned to what I was actually doing.  I wanted him to know that I truly appreciated his continual support, especially as this whole enterprise comes to a close. 

I also wrote how his encouragement and advocacy for the Writing Project came as no surprise.  Through all the formative stages of my life—the events and milestones; the good, the bad, and the ugly—he and my mother (who passed away many years ago) have been there for me. It wasn’t so much that Stu could do no wrong.  Their philosophy was more give Stu enough slack to explore, make mistakes, or reach out in different directions.  I have been very fortunate to have parents that provided such support and optimism over the years.  An election during my college years demonstrated this viewpoint.  I was one of two nominees for the Station Manager of the university radio station.  I had been involved in many facets of the station—news department, dj, community programming—for three years.  By all accounts I was the most qualified for the position.  However, the governing board of the station, which selected the new head of the radio station, was overly comprised of the other candidate’s buddies.  He was chosen.  I was devastated and, literally, did not leave my residence hall room for days (years later at a school reunion get-together that other person confided in me that I more qualified then him and should have won).  I remember my father calling me on the hallway pay phone trying to cheer me up.  He stated something about character building and how the experience was just one of life’s lessons.  I would even learn from this defeat. Yeah.  I don’t think I really listened.  I wasn’t much in the mood.   

Looking back, he was taking the negative and trying to put a positive spin on the crushing defeat (does it seem like I am still bitter all these decades later?).  He was supporting me, urging me to carry on with my pursuits and interests just as he has done these past 11 months with the Writing Project.  My number one booster.  Thanks, Dad.