#MEAction is excited to share two pieces of work from the Writing From Our ME Lives writing group. We will be sharing more work in the coming days!
Hope you enjoy their work.
If you are interested in joining the next Writing From Our ME Lives meeting, they meet on every Thursday at 11am PST. Check out the calendar posting here.
A Random Act of Kindness (that happened in the first year I had ME).
By Nancy K. Wood
We had only lived in this tiny town for one year. Early in that year, my youngest son was born. In the months after his arrival, I was crumbling under the stress of loud family disagreements and inexplicably crushing fatigue. Which of those might have caused the other, I did not know, but that summer his father moved out of the house.
By November, money was in just as short supply as my energy. The kids and I wore layers of clothing, so the heating bill wouldn’t be too high. We were getting by on rice and beans and the last of the vegetables from our garden.
One afternoon, I was melting into the couch as usual. My exuberant kids were climbing all over the furniture and me. Hearing a knock on the door, I rolled off the couch and pushed myself up, using the coffee table for support. On our front stoop stood a stranger. The huge box in her arms must have been heavy because she looked as if she might topple forward.
“Hi, we’ve put together a Thanksgiving dinner in a box for you,” she said.
My jaw dropped. “Wha? Who? How did you know how much we’d welcome this?”
“Oh, George Phillips mentioned your name.”
(I don’t know any George Phillips.) “Would you like to come in?”
“Oh, no, I don’t want to disrupt your day. I’ll just put this on the floor here. Enjoy!”
My kids, who had been hanging on every word, descended on the box with glee. Oh, what glorious goodies nestled inside! We all thanked the woman profusely.
It wasn’t until a few days later that I remembered a brief conversation I’d had with a stranger in the next town over while we waited for our cars to be repaired. I had told him how grateful I felt that, even though I couldn’t work anymore, we had a roof over our heads and food to eat. He must have been George Phillips. There are angels among us!
What Inspired Me?
by Brian S.
In October, 1998 I was half-listening to an acoustic music program on the Lansing Community College radio station. I kind of spaced-out and mostly missed the last song that was played when the DJ announced they were giving away tickets to see this musician. I called the number and won a pair of tickets to see this singer/songwriter named Martin Sexton. I’d never heard of him before but was always interested in discovering new live music.
I called a friend who liked live music and asked her to tag along with me to this show. It was at an old non-profit music venue in Ann Arbor called the Ark. I’d never heard of it before that day. After entering the Ark, there was a long wooden stairway that creaked with every step. The walls were adorned with dozens of black and white photographs of musicians that had played at the Ark over 40 years: Joni Mitchell, Jon Prine, Richie Havens, Lucinda Williams and hundreds of others. The stage is modest and there are only 400 seats in the club.
Once the show started, I knew I was in a special place. Whenever I had seen live music in the past, there was always the sound of glasses clinking, conversations and laughter. This place was different. Everyone was there for the music.
I was stunned by the silence and respect the audience gave Martin while he played. Every seat was filled. His setup was simple: Just him, an acoustic guitar, and his voice which ranged from a gravely, deep bluesy/soulful tone to a perfect falsetto. You could hear a pin drop when there was a pause within the song and you could hear him draw his next breath. I was blown away with his songs. Songs about friendship, broken families, love, addition, and spirituality. I recognized his last song, “Glorybound” as the song that I’d heard on the radio station. The poignant beauty of this song really touched me as he sang about starting off as a musician, nearly destitute, traveling in a VW bus and “living off of apple fields and old cigars” and that he was determined to be Glorybound. Tears welled up in my eyes as I suddenly felt less alone with my own struggles. A glance around the audience showed me that others were also deeply moved by this performance.
Bob Dylan has been quoted as saying “The highest purpose of art is to inspire. What else can you do for anyone but inspire them?” That show made a mark on me. I still see shows there with my wife and continue to be inspired by this venue and the musicians who perform there.