Hi dear sweet Edythe~
I went up to Fairhaven Village in Bellingham to visit my books’ illustrator, Scott Ward, to have him draw his special dachshund doodle autograph in several of our TALL TALES books.
A coloring book and two hardcover books will be donated for the Seattle Humane Society’s Tux & Tails May Fundraiser. Scott also donated a giclée print of a darling picture of a little boy and his dog knocking at a door. The title is, “Can You Come Out to Play?” I remember how much you loved that painting.
Our A Tall Tale About a Dachshund and a Pelican is shortlisted for the Chanticleer Little Peeps Children’s Picture Books International Award 2017. I will attend the Chanticleer Writers’ Conference in Bellingham April 21 & 22 at the Bellwether Hotel. Part of the honor of being shortlisted is being invited by Bellingham’s Village Books to have books for sale at their Book Fair at the conference. We are eligible to have five copies of four different titles. We thought it would be fitting for Scott’s special autograph doodle to be in those books, as well. (Oh Edythe, how I wish you could join me for the Conference and Awards Dinner! This amazing journey started because of your Oregon coast vacation assignment, “Kizzie, this week we will each write a Tall Tale!” You will certainly be with me in spirit!)
Scott and I made good use of our hour lunch together at Magdalena’s Creperie. Scott doodled and signed 22 books!
It had been an unseasonably warm sunny day. As we walked to the creperie from Scott and Cameron’s shop Current & Furbish, I noticed that in almost every shop window was a poster encouraging kindness:
BE KIND This business values diversity and seeks to provide a safe and inclusive space that rejects intolerance. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who uses derogatory or violent language or who attempts to intimidate our customers or staff.
I was touched that Kindness mattered so much to this business community, that they would form a Downtown Bellingham Partnership and post signs to highlight their values.
After many years of facilitating groups, I’ve found that a visible agreement of the norms of conduct can be very helpful when a member of the group strays outside the bounds. If someone makes a pattern of dominating the group, it is easy to point to a statement on the agreement and say, “Joe, our 4th agreement is that we will give others a chance to share.” This points to a behavior rather than the person.
I can imagine that if someone became irate or aggressive in a shop, it would be helpful to try and de-escalate the actions by pointing out what behavior is expected. Again, this takes away any value judgement of the person, and encourages a change in behavior.
The poster offers a gentle reminder to BE KIND. It’s like a mother reminding her children what is expected while in a store, “We look with our eyes, not with our hands.” As grown-up adults, we tend to think we don’t need the reminder. I like to think of myself as a kind, caring person. Yet, I must admit that in times of stress— hungry, tired, frustrated, angry—I can get grumpy and short-tempered. I remember all too well times in public and with my family when I’ve lost my cool. I wonder if I’d seen a poster with this gentle nudge, I might have checked my heated reactions.
So, dear Edythe, how encouraging to find signs that raise up the values of Kindlandia—where only kind and caring people dwell—to give us a gentle nudge, no matter our mood, “BE KIND.”