DEBORAH CROMBIE: On Friday, a friend suggested on Facebook, that, "If you are able, find a way to get some money into the pocket of an artist. A musician, a painter, a writer--any of those people who help us give our lives meaning and depth and joy."
What a great idea, I thought. It not only supports the artists, but it is a way of helping us feel centered and able to look positively at the world.
I only read this after I had been out for the day with a visiting friend, but I realized I had done just that. In our local kitchen store, I'd spotted a card with a beautiful watercolor painting of two green pears. When I said, "Oh, I love this!" the shop owner replied, "Let me tell you the story behind that card."
She said that her father had recently died. Her mother, an artist, had not been painting for some time. But two weeks after her father died, her mother sent her this little painting. The shop owner framed the original (which she showed us) but decided to have her mom's painting reproduced on cards and then give the proceeds from the sale of the cards to the hospice that had cared for her father with such love and kindness.
Of course I bought the card, and it's now sitting on my kitchen windowsill, to remind me of beauty, and kindness, of creativity, and of the affirmation of life.
REDs, are there any little treasures you've found recently, much-needed touchstones for the power of good?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Touchstones? Well, this actual stone is on my writing desk. I see it every time I sit down. I consider it every day.
Jenn: A friend of mine is a writer. A reporter and then a novelist and successful at both but then life came along and she stopped writing. Recently, I got an email from her saying she was having a jewelry sale. I went and was completely blown away. She had spent the past few years making bracelets, necklaces, and earrings and the same creativity that was evident in her writing was now visible in her jewelry. I bought gifts for everyone but kept this one for myself. It reminds me of river stones that are tumbled and smoothed by the water that rushes over them and reminds me that creativity is always a part of you no matter how it manifests itself.
RHYS BOWEN: I really own touchstones! My son is really into healing stones and gave me these two worry stones which I keep in my pocket when I travel. And I find that when I am stressed, as in right now, I have to do something with my hands: knitting, sketching, beading. Anything creative attempts to make sense of life.
HALLIE: Love the card, love the bracelet.
Updating belatedly: I try to surround myself with objects that have special personal meaning that calm me. Here's a wall in my office. Each object (a cat from Kate's Mystery Books, a Christian Louboutin nail polish (my daughter has designed the interiors of his boutiques), a Virginia Woolf-holding a martini card that a dear friend sent when my first book came out, a picture that my grandbaby drew, and a wooden lady riding high on a bike that my then best friend gave me. Each loaded with happy memories and inducing calming thoughts: This too shall pass.
DEBS: I love that Hank and Rhys have actual touchstones! And I love Jenn's friend's necklace, and the fact that she invented a new channel for her creativity.
READERS, do you have special things that help you remember the creativity and joy in the world?