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Question of the Week: 2008

by Susan Henderson on December 31, 2007

I know you all want book deals. You want to be skinnier, richer, all of that. But what do you plan to do in 2008 that will make a difference in the world?

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Wednesday, Anthony Marais will be here, and to cut me a break, he‘s going to do the interviewing. Stop by and join the conversation!

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

bhobson December 31, 2007 at 12:29 am

I hope to increase my prayer time, and to pray for others more often. Oh, I hope to write something that would change the world, but it would only be my own little world around here.
Brandon

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Richard Cooper December 31, 2007 at 12:44 am

Wow, what a question. I have no humongous personal plan to change the world… Maybe I could become a better friend, a better brother, and a better neighbor, though. I could handle that kind of change, I’ll bet.

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Richard Cooper December 31, 2007 at 12:45 am

Wow, what a question. I have no humongous personal plan to change the world… Maybe I could become a better friend, a better brother, and a better neighbor, though. I could handle that kind of change, I’ll bet.

–Richard Cooper

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Nathalie December 31, 2007 at 2:27 am

I would love to do some story telling in a old age hospital, but my Italian is most likely not quite good enough. We’ll see.

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JimT December 31, 2007 at 8:27 am

I’ve volunteered for the next phase of Operation Homecoming [ http://www.nea.gov/national/homecoming/about.html ]. If chosen, I’ll lead writing workshops for returning military personnel and their families. That’s as much as I know about the program at the moment. Fingers crossed, would love to get the chance.

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Betsy December 31, 2007 at 9:22 am

Oh man, I think about this all the time. One thing I’d like to do if there’s any travel time other than book touring, is take a trip to New Orleans and put whatever meager money I can into their city. I guess the other main thing is just to always continue to try to be a kinder, more helpful, more empathetic person whatever that means in any given scenario.

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Kimberly December 31, 2007 at 9:54 am

If I can help just one woman decide whether or not to have a bikini wax… 🙂

If we’re supposed to ‘be the change we want to see’ then this year, I vow to be more open and receiving; to listen more and hear less.

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lance_reynald December 31, 2007 at 9:59 am

two local things I hope to find a bit more time for;

http://writearound.org/
http://www.getsmartoregon.org/

Books and writing have always managed to help me, so perhaps changing the world is more of a one-on-one kinda project.

so my big plan for 2008 is to take the time to get more involved with those two up there. A few hours a week seems a pretty good investment to me.

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troutbum70 December 31, 2007 at 11:04 am

I want to be happy and in love. I want to set an example for others even if I don’t know it. I want to be the world I want to live in. I want everyone I know to pursue their passions and be the person they wish to be. I want to win the $100 million powerball too, thought I’d throw some selfish in there. I just want to be a better person…

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Carolyn_Burns_Bass December 31, 2007 at 11:21 am

My physical shoe size is only a 5, but my carbon footprint is huge. I want to find more ways to reuse, recycle, and renew my own little world, while also becoming more active in promoting green initiatives in my community and my business.

I’m also doing the big 5-0 this year. Whee!

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Carolyn_Burns_Bass December 31, 2007 at 11:26 am

This sounds fascinating, Jim. Thanks for the link, I may jump aboard also. (My husband is a retired Marine.)

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terrybain December 31, 2007 at 12:20 pm

Me. Mindfulness. Do.

Blessings.

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Aurelio December 31, 2007 at 1:52 pm

I feel a little like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” answering this. My life is such a small, quiet, mostly private thing. I want to continue in that, with the idea of doing no harm. Perhaps, like George Bailey, if I had never lived, some idiot would be here in my place, screwing everything up.

Okay, yes – I plan to continue to do no harm in 2008.

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Gail Siegel December 31, 2007 at 2:35 pm

To never get a hot drink in a paper cup. Americans use an obscene number of paper cups getting coffee and other carry-out drinks. I nearly always make coffee at work in my own coffee pot, and my staff all use my mugs.

If you bring your own mug to a place like Starbucks or Intelligentsia, they give you a 5 or 10 cent break on your coffee.

In my youth I was a rabid environmentalist. I got rather lazy about some things during my stint raising kids, and would like to try to be making a smaller footprint once again.

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Lisa December 31, 2007 at 4:26 pm

Meditate and practice yoga, which I hope will help me do many of the small yet significant things others have listed here . . . some great ideas on how to make my life and the lives of others richer, more peaceful, more fulfilling.

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robinslick December 31, 2007 at 7:35 pm

I really want to be more politically active. Bush and Cheney should be arrested and tried for war crimes. I bitch about it but I don’t do anything…I’m far too passive and way too interested in getting that book deal and getting skinny.

And while I am on my fourth glass of champagne right now, I really do mean that.

Happy New Year, everyone.

xo

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Ric January 1, 2008 at 9:39 am

Continue the fight against ignorance out here in the countryside, encouraging the dissemination of “the things we’re not supposed to teach our children” because they can’t be trusted to use the information wisely. (twenty years on the sex ed committee – teen birthrate still dropping and yet a constant struggle against abstinence programs that don’t work). Every single teenager whose future is brighter because they were able to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is a victory – more each year.

Okay, enough soapbox – I really do want the book deal and I wanna be rich. At the risk of annoying everyone though, I could actually add a few pounds. Love genetics and my Irish heritage, yes, I do.

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Ric January 1, 2008 at 9:43 am

Hey, Lance, those are really great groups to get help out. Sent me searching for something similar hereabouts. You’ve given me the incentive to finally call the local Literacy Council and perhaps put this useless English degree to good purpose.

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aimeepalooza January 1, 2008 at 2:29 pm

Dang it, I already answered but forgot to sign in first! Okay, so I am going to work the polls to make sure everyone gets to vote. I will also vote, even in Michigan’s primary, which if I vote Democrat will probably not count. And finally I plan on applying to Law School. While I am not nearly as young and idealistic as I used to be, I think some good can come from understanding the law. If not I will make a whole bunch of money being smarmy and donate a bunch of it to charity to make myself feel better. Win/win, I think.

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Heather_Fowler January 1, 2008 at 10:33 pm

I will try to get back into teaching again–since this impacts students and curiosity and knowledge breeds curiosity and knowledge.

I will try (again) to quit smoking since this improves the environment.

I will try to swear less because of that whole monkey’s thing.

I may, if time permits, join this literacy for adults organization where I will teach someone to read, but if not in 08, then in 09–since I do already have to teach my daughter to read this year and my son how to use the potty, so home-schooling agendas for wee ones come first.

I believe in changing the world one person or reader at a time. So I will continue to be brave and fearless in my work, in the hopes that it empowers someone.

I will ask the universe for all good things and vote on election day.

Warmth is contagious; I’ll provide some.

As to what else, I don’t know. Geez, Susan–it’s only the first now. I’m only day into ’08–Rome or plans for Rome didn’t happen in a day…

But joy–this is what I want this year. Less pain. More joy. If this comes to me I will spread it. The plan is simple but works well for me. In lieu of larger goals, this must be all.

Much love,
H

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Heather_Fowler January 1, 2008 at 10:40 pm

P.S. This may not improve the world, but I may try to drop my messages in Word to spell check them and read them once before I post on comments and discussion boards. *big wink* This would please the perfectionist in me, who wants to edit published stories–and would also please those unfortunates who stumble across my frequent accidental apostrophe–or my odd willingness to pluralize the singular or singularize the plural. Aside from that, I may paint more, too. Yes, warmth, joy, and beauty. I’ll provide these for those who work hard to diminish the ugliness around them and want a soft landing somewhere to glance at when the dark threatens to overwhelm. This is my goal, perhaps. To be a lighthouse in a storm or series of storms–for whatever person or persons need me most.

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DarylDarko January 2, 2008 at 12:57 am

live one day at a time.

stay out of the way of other people.

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jodyreale January 2, 2008 at 5:33 am

I’m going to be nicer to myself, hoping that it’s true that the kindnesses we show ourselves radiate outward to others in ways that are nothing less than miraculous. Happy New Year, everyone.

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Heather_Fowler January 2, 2008 at 9:32 am

I so agree with this. Good luck with your self-gentling, Jody. Cute pic, BTW. 😉

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DonnaGeorgeStorey January 2, 2008 at 1:55 pm

I’m with you, Gail. Even little things like taking your own mug to the coffee shop, recycling batteries properly and composting WILL make a difference. Oh, and I plan to work on expressing emotions in a healthy way with my boys. That’s definitely going to make the world a better place!

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Pia Z. Ehrhardt January 3, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Yes, come to New Orleans! We’ll drive you all over through the flooded areas, get you connected in anyway that you want, and stuff you with all the cafe au lait and beignets you can stand. (This is Pia, who doesn’t know how to sign in to the new registration thingie.)

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piaze January 3, 2008 at 2:03 pm

My mantra this year: Use use use. i.e. The kitchen: break into the cookbooks and recipe box, remember the blender, the crockpot, the French press, the jars and cans and esoteric spices in the back of the pantry. The shelves: read the books waiting patiently to be read. The friendships: Have coffee and wine with the people we treasure but don’t see enough. Blog/e mail less and phone more. The closet: Put on the shoes and the nice clothes I’m waiting for the right reason to wear even if I get sidetracked by writing and forget to leave the house. The bathroom: Finish the last bit in all of the bottles of lotions and perfumes and shampoos and quit hoarding samples and travel sizes. The yard: Cut flowers and greens from the garden, plant sages and more flowering vines. The alcohol: Drink the dusty bottles of liquor and wine we’ve been saving for a special occasion. The living room: Sit on the sofa that we’re all afraid to soil. The neighborhood: Walk every day in the park and shop at family businesses. The lipstick: wear red for the mailman. The heart. The smile. The brain. The talent. The possibility.

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Betsy January 4, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Aw, thanks, Pia! That is an offer I will not pass up. (I have a little trouble with the registration myself….)

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 9:45 am

Wow, I love that, Pia! And I know you tend to go to literary markets with your writing, but I can see this is anything from Real Simple to O to any of the women’s checkout magazines. Makes me excited to start the day! xo

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 9:50 am

I do believe that what we feel about ourselves and the people around us comes right back to us. So if we’re going around feeling hesitant and bitter, or if we go around feeling loving and productive, then we get back what we’ve put out.

The new photo is cute!

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 9:52 am

Maybe add this minor tweak: Make each day meaningful in some small way. Without relying on others to do so.

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 9:55 am

Or you could just move to Europe and not feel so guilty or paranoid about smoking!

From personal experience, the best way to teach your kids to read is just to read to them constantly and show them your joy of books. Don’t worry about the teaching part. And the best way to get your son to use the potty is to bribe him with red ruby slippers!

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 9:58 am

I love that photo. It’s funny because the very puny version of it looks like a chicken. Do you see it? Head in the upper left, wing to the right?

What’s stopping you from applying to Law School?

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:03 am

The problem with teaching abstinence is that you’re working against biology. When kids used to get married and have kids when they were 14, 15, 16 (Mother Mary times, etc), it wasn’t such a hard thing to teach. But now that we want everyone to have a graduate degree before they settle down, it’s a different ball game.

Here’s to your book deal and your wealth!

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:05 am

I’m impressed. I would be unable to type after two glasses of champagne.

Here’s to book and movie deals in 2008!

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:07 am

The small things are the big things, don’t you think?

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:08 am

That would be really hard for me to do. I think I need to start thinking about those coffees-to-go.

Miss you, Gail. Coming to AWP? xo

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:10 am

My neighbor just created a “bird sanctuary.” She found it via the Al Gore website – found out what kinds of plants to do, has bird houses everywhere. (My cats are psyched!)

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:13 am

You’re like a little bunny. Minus the trips to the cabbage patch!

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:13 am

Nice.

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:15 am

50 is sexy!

And now you can calculate your precise footprint: http://www.carbonfootprint.com/

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:15 am

I want you to win that powerball, too, and then show us that love you were talking about!

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:18 am

Great programs to be involved with. And I agree, that changing the world happens choice-by-choice and one person to the next.

Mr. H’s cousin has AIDS and we love that man something fierce.

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:19 am

Mr. H is going to call you today about some Who-related business.

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:19 am

I’m expecting a photo essay of this trip.

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:20 am

Wow, Jim, I haven’t heard of that program before. If you need a reference from me (or Chee), just ask.

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:21 am

I think the company would be enough. Even to hear something read in a different language.

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:22 am

Those are grand resolutions, Richard.

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SusanHenderson January 8, 2008 at 10:23 am

Hey, Brandon. Good to see you here! You can add me to your prayer list, I’m always in need.

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