Do you ever get messages from the universe? I do. This one came by email with the subject heading: Change the world through writing. Count me in! I meant to reply right away then got distracted by a mountain of work. I forgot all about it. A few weeks later when the mountain had grown inexplicably higher and I still wanted to feel productive, I started cleaning out my inbox. I found the email and felt serendipity strike twice! Until I realized that I had missed the deadline. I wrote anyway. There turned out to be just one more place. Mine.
I took part in the OpEd Project, whose mission is to increase the range of voices and quality of ideas we hear in the world. It was amazing and I walked out with a first draft of an op-ed ready to change the world!
Fast forward three months. I had not changed the world, but the world had changed. One of those almost imperceptible spasms that you miss if you’re not looking for it. Onto the scene bounded Marjorie, a highly talented journalist, writer and teacher. I learn best at a speed-reader’s pace. When I learn like this, do I learn it all and deeply? Absolutely not. I learn just enough to screw up pretty much every step along the way. That is how I learn. If I do a great job first try out, I don’t remember a thing. If have an unrecoverable screw up or a public humiliation, that’s something that stays with me. I learn from that.
I wish there was an easier way.
Anyway. Have you ever meet one of those people who you really connect with and you don’t know why? It almost feels like you’ve known each other somehow, some way, but you review every possibility and there is absolutely no way you two know each. That is Marjorie. Of course, she said yes when I invited her to join me on a grueling, eight-hour hike, two hours north of the city. (In the spirit of full confession, I ask pretty much everyone I meet to do this hike with me. Shockingly few people think this is a fun way to spend a Saturday.)
It was on the train ride north, at a time of the day when we could still speak, that I vomited out vague ideas about a blog and some videos and a radical change of lifestyle. I asked her if she thought I could make a go of it without ending in some gutter six months from now.
I will always remember holding my breath, as she stared off into the distance deep in thought. I still hear the rattle of the train hurtling north, the chatter of fellow hikers in the back car where the only doors that open at the trail head are located, as I waited. Finally, Marjorie turned to me and uttered one word. ‘Yes.’
The world needs more Marjories.