Sydney Avey

Dynamic Women — Changing Times

Spreading the Wealth, a DIY Project

Sep 11, 2018 | Culture, Writing life | 0 comments

Wealth redistribution is a political hot button but, framed differently, making an effort to spread the wealth is not a bad idea. For example, Amazon.com wants to do it all for you–fill every need on your wish list, tie it up with a ribbon, and set it gently on your doorstep. Whether you consider the big shopping jungle a boon to convenience or the bane of small business “shop local” campaigns, bypassing expedience on occasion for a deeper experience is a DIY project that can pay off. More satisfying experiences enrich our lives.

On a drive to town to exercise in our co-op fitness center, I looked up at a cloudless blue sky, a backdrop for oaks and pines that sparkled in the sun. Air quality monitors might pick up traces of smoke from distant fires, but on that day—at that moment— the forest smiled. 

I’m trying to look up more. There is enough to drag us down. Bad news spreads out like a band of fiendish muggers grabbing for any peace of mind we’ve managed to hold onto. One way to keep our spirits up is to change routines.       

Shop around  

I’ve recently chosen to order the print version of some of the books I want to read from an independent bookstore. Hearts and Minds Bookstore specializes in topics I like to read. I get a newsletter from the proprietor who reads the books he recommends. And the low tech ordering method facilitates personal correspondence. It’s heartening to build personal relationships with small business proprietors who will answer your questions and offer insight.

As an author, I’m glad for Amazon. They make my books easily accessible. But I also find it worthwhile to seek other venues. My books in print sit on shelves and tables in local stores like Mountain Books in Sonora, Here’s the Scoop in Jamestown, and the Groveland Art Gallery. This effort opens the door to do book talks and other events that encourage face-to-face engagement. Authors bring energy with them that generates foot traffic–good for business.

Put some poetry in your life

Poetry stirs emotions. If you love poetry, share. Stuck for what to write on a greeting card? Express just the right sentiment by quoting a poet. Can’t decide on a gift? Give a carefully chosen book of poetry.

Now that many of us are trying to wean ourselves off the downer of too much Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, let’s bring poetry out of the closet. Instead of checking Facebook for the umpteenth time, raise your dopamine levels by reading a poem! Here are some other ideas:

  1. Spend some time at your favorite bookstore perusing their poetry shelves.
  2. Build a poetry collection by investing in the work of local poets, favorite classic poets, and new-to-you contemporary poets.
  3. Write poetry. My church recently invited the congregation to write a personal version of the Lord’s Prayer. (A case can be made that this prayer is poetic in form.)  Who knew that we had so many poets in our congregation? The effort blessed the people who tried their hand at the exercise and the people who heard them read their work.
  4. Ask your book club to devote one meeting to poetry. Suggest each member bring a favorite poem and read it aloud.
  5. For you extroverts, find (or host) a poetry slam and read your work or someone else’s. Poetry is meant to be heard.
  6. For you introverts, read a poem (silently first, then out loud to yourself) in the quiet of your favorite retreat and journal your response.

Be a tastemaker

Giving big business its due, let’s not concede our reading life to merely what’s most marketable. If we do, all we’ll get is more of the same. And sometimes, more is less. Within our spheres of influence, we can be tastemakers.

Has something you’ve read recently touched your heart or changed your mind? Please share.

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