short excerpts...other writings...upon occasion or as prompted...
The tiger in the water? A representation of my life -- spirit and environment!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Book of Vignettes: Why Did I Write the Book

Recent experiences with Alaskan Airlines that threatened to undo my Lenten pledge to give up frustration brought to mind the reason I wrote a book of vignettes, several of which I have reproduced on this blog, several years ago. Here is that introduction:

Although I had discussed many of the concepts in this book with a friend from time to time, the thought to collect them in a book came somewhat later from an overheard conversation while traveling from Salt Lake City to New York City. A very heavy man was unable to fit into the seat on the plane. He immediately became angry and demanded that the stewardess do something about it. She did help him, of course, but the situation left both of them angry and frustrated, wandering in a wasteland of negative emotions. He felt humiliated, and she felt abused. Neither realized that a different approach -- asking rather than demanding, using humor, and looking for elusive pink flowers instead of stepping on cacti -- would have brought them both a good day rather than a bad day.

That overheard conversation caused me to think of many difficult situations I have encountered in my travels, all of which have ended quite pleasantly. For example, I have entered Moldova, Russia, and Uzbekistan at one time or another without a visa (not intending to break any laws but just because "accidents" happen). In every case, someone helped me get the appropriate visa or get permission to enter without the visa. Once, in Chisinau, Moldova, a consular officer at the airport offered to take me into town on his way home when the people who were to meet me did not show up for the very delayed plane and it was so late that all the taxis had departed -- he, the passport control officer, the customs officer, and I were the only ones left. I have been able to talk airlines into all kinds of traditional and unusual accommodations. . . . On several occasions, I have been able to get people from "enemy" countries together to complete mutually satisfying projects.

Moreover, because I tend to miss details, interesting things happen to me, giving lots of people opportunities to help me: arriving late at night in Munich without a hotel reservation (I ended at a bed-and-breakfast with Germans and learning about the country from people who live its daily life), arriving in Siberia three times without a return ticket and once without any money to purchase one (I made friends at an educational institution there who came to my rescue and filled their bookshelves with hard-to-obtain-for-them books), and so on and so forth.

What makes my experiences different from that of the overweight man? I started to analyze the reasons and discovered that there are many ways in which to defuse anger, get what one needs or wants, and leaving everyone feeling happy. Those stories are the core of this book of vignettes.

Note: Tomorrow I will post one of the stories mentioned above.


Excerpted and adapted from a collection of vignettes, copyright 2003.


  1. I hope you do...I think many frustrations and much anger can really be avoided by just using charm...or in your case vignettes!


About Me

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I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism, I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).

My Other Blogs

100th Lamb. This is my main blog, the one I keep most updated.

The Clan of Mahlou
. This is background information about various members of the extended Mahlou family. It is very much a work still in progress. Soon I will begin posting excerpts from a new book I am writing, Raising God's Rainbow Makers.

Modern Mysticism. This blog discusses the mystical in our pragmatic, practical, realistic, and rational 21st century world and is to those who spend some or much of their time in an irrational/mystical relationship with God. If such things do not strain your credulity, you are welcome to follow the blog and participate in it.

Recommended Reading List

Because I am blog inept, I don't quite know how to get a reading list to stay at the end of the page and not disappear from sight. Therefore, I entered it as my first post. I suppose that is not all that bad because readers started commenting about the books, even suggesting additional readings. So, you can participate with others in my reading list by clicking here.
I do post additional books as I read them and find them to be meaningful to me, and therefore, hopefully, meaningful to you. One advantage of all the plane traveling I do is that I acquire reading time that I might not otherwise take.