Saturday, March 4, 2017

Slice of Life Story Challenge #4 - Fierce Wonderings - Amy Krouse Rosenthal

It is the March Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers!

     Like I've written about in previous posts, we're working through Ralph Fletcher's A Writer's Notebook for Slice of Life inspiration.  Yesterday, I read the "Fierce Wonderings" chapter.  I related it to the fiction signpost (Beers and Probst) "Tough Questions".  Wow!  It produced a firestorm of questions and discussion for their writer's notebooks.  I have no doubt I will see some posts dedicated to wonderings.  It was hard to get them back on Here were some of their questions:
- How long will humans be alive before they die out?
- Imagine if you could remember everything since you were first born?
- Why should we worry about what everybody thinks?
- Why do people seem to need money to be happy in life?
- What will happen when I die?
- When will the Earth end?
- Will there be nuclear war in the future?
- What if life did not exist at all?
- Why don't people express their feelings?
- What if the world was flat?
- What if I was a completely different person?
- How was the universe formed?
- Where have my dollar bills traveled?

And lest you think they're all lofty, there is...
- Why is my brother so annoying?

     This lesson was fresh in my mind when I ate lunch at my desk.  I eat my lunch in my room.  I know that's anti-social of me, but it gives me time to breathe, think, read through some things I've been meaning to get to, and regroup for the rest of the day.  While eating, I happened upon this essay by author, Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  Oh my.  It was difficult to recover after that.  I don't know Amy, but I have some of her books, and from those and this piece of writing, I can deduce that she is kind, positive, playful, and funny.  And honest.  And brave. My heart broke for her.  All those dreams and plans...gone.

              "CONTENT means sitting on the steps - just you, me, and a couple of cookies."

     After reading Amy's beautiful essay, I thought about my own fierce wonderings and tough questions.  How would I feel if I was told today that I had a terminal illness and I only had days to live?  What would I say?  Do?  What would I do differently if I knew the end was coming soon?

     I'm a planner.  I like to look ahead on the calendar and write things down.  I like to figure out what my family and friends want to do in the hours, days, and months to come.  I have a bucket list.  I enjoy the day as it happens, but I enjoy looking forward to things.  I wonder if I got that news if I could just accept Plan "Be".  I don't know.  And what I also don't know is if it is really possible to live any differently than we do until that kind of news comes, or if we never get that news, until that last day.  It seems it's part of being human to sometimes live in the past or future, forget to be mindful, forget to pay attention, talk too much and not listen, worry and complain, say unkind things, become self-absorbed or selfish, criticize and judge, and on and on.  We can try to be better, and may God help us succeed often.  And may we forgive ourselves when we forget our own mortality.  But the best part of Amy's essay (the tribute to her husband) is the best part of life.  Along the way, we love.  We laugh.  We make connections.  We adore our spouse.  We admire our beautiful children. We have fun with our friends. We take care of people.  We need to make this journey of life the easiest we can for each other.  In Amy's own words, "(every star in the sky + the sun + the moon) x my heart = love you to the infinite power, all done + time to go = the end." (this plus that: LIFE'S LITTLE EQUATIONS)


  1. Oh that essay just slayed me. So beautiful and devastating. I like how your questions led you to this piece to of writing. And you've inspired me to pull out my fletcher book and do some writing with that.

  2. The news about Amy is traveling fast. So heartbreaking. Definitely a grim reminder to make every day special.

  3. This essay absolutely devastated me. Love your thoughts on it.

  4. Oh Holly. This essay has made so many people wonder and think and question, only to find no answers. You have written what so many are thinking right now.

  5. Your reflective post helps us cope, helps us answer the questions that are going through our heads and hearts. Thank you for reminding me to forgive myself if I can't change, like I want to. You have given me a challenge to face the tough questions and forgiveness when I can't necessarily answer them.