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Daily Engagement

Sea of Humanity

Daily Engagement

This lovely piece, by author Patiana  McMahon, embodies the spirit of the daily engagement write -- the writer's alert, moment to moment interaction with her inner and outer environment.

Untangling a blue and gray shopping cart from their chain at the entrance to Wal-Mart, I felt slightly embarrassed to be shopping there. But their low prices and the ability to shop for both food and various sundry items also lent me a sense of alignment with the other shoppers.

Beneath a large overhanging sign which read "Hardware" I spotted a rare blue vested "employee" whom I approached to ask where I might find felt squares for the legs of my chairs. Behind her wire framed glasses, her left iris clung to the inside corner of her eye, like a shy child. It was that eye I spoke to, not wanting to call attention to my noticing it by avoiding it. The woman seemed relieved to be interrupted from her task and accurately directed me to the felt.

Afterwards I passed her lane again just so I could thank her.

Near "Sporting Goods" I heard a young girl's plea ending with "daddy." Then I saw  her father wearing a navy blue jumpsuit with his name sewn onto a label above his breast pocket. Nearly half of his face was covered with a port wine mark.

Heading back towards the front of the store, down one of the wider aisles, I passed a woman slightly older than me, pushing a wheelchair in the opposite direction. The man in the chair sat bent at the waist; like a tree snapped in half by a storm, his head nearly resting on his knee. His eyes had a faraway look. I wondered if he was aware of his distorted shape.

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Observations of a Sick Fledgling Writer

Daily Engagement

I recently introduced a Daily Engagement exercise in my workshops. This deceptively simple exercise has produced some outstanding material which -- with the author's permission -- I am sharing with you.

In this second selection, (more than) fledgling writer, Lynn Gore, set herself a challenge to write in the rarely used second person voice. 


Observations of the past week; being sick is a strange activity.

You certainly don't feel like being creative when breathing and swallowing are a problem. You get up you gargle, you look in the mirror and hope things will be better once your hair is brushed.

Look again -nope still look sick. So you try gargling to alleviate the thickness in your throat. You think - it's been five days, I can't possibly still be so weak and disgusting. So you take a shower and get dressed,

The walk down the stairs has your head spinning and you are thankful to sit at the breakfast table. Head spins mildly; I guess I can, I guess I can make it to work, you chant to yourself. The mantra helps get you out the door.

Driving in the car you feel a little spacey, but manage to maneuver the curves and miss the strutting turkey - a sign of spring in this still snowy March.

Walking down the hall at work each noise seems amplified through your stuffed up ears. Are the students always this loud? No - it's got to be your imagination, it can't possibly be this bad everyday - why would you ever come to work?

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