Sunday, September 24, 2017

What Do You Know for Sure?


I'm taking a page from Oprah today and sharing one of my favorite features from her magazine.  Every month, the last page of "O" is devoted to her column, "What I Know for Sure."  The concept was introduced to her many years back by the film critic Gene Siskel, who always asked this as the closing question in his interviews.  He saw it as a tool to break through the public personas of celebrities and get to the heart of each person's experience. 

What do I know for sure?

I know that I married the right guy--a shy guy, which is why you're only getting a glimpse.  We first met when we were sixteen and started dating a few years later.  Just a couple of months into our relationship, I knew he was "the One," and he hasn't disappointed.  I could go on and on about him, but fans of my books should know he's one of the reasons I persevered, even when getting rejected.  He supported my dream of writing fiction and never wavered in his belief in me.  Publishing can be a tough and unpredictable business; having a partner to cheer you on makes the journey easier and more fun.
I know that I will never regret speaking up.  I will only regret staying silent.  As long as you speak with civility and are willing to listen, saying what you think can never be a bad thing.  I'm not talking about telling your neighbor that her dog is ugly or the checkout girl that she wears too much blush.  I'm talking about speaking up when someone says something that offends your sense of decency or questions your worth.  If I offend someone...oh well!

I know that the ocean is a place of wonder, and I'll never tire of exploring its depths and its amazing creatures.  Take for instance, the Mantis Shrimp (picture compliments of the shy hubby.)  Its technicolor appearance is mind-boggling, but it also has aquatic superpowers.  The shrimp's claw, which is actually referred to as its "club," can break quarter inch thick glass.  The mantis stores its energy in its club, and when released, it acts like a spring-loaded mechanism with more force than a 22-caliber bullet.  So word to the wise:  Don't touch the Mantis Shrimp!

Now it's your turn!  What do you know for sure?


  1. What do I know for sure?
    I know that faith, respect for others, and kindness matter.
    I know that it is important to do the right thing and to keep on keeping on.
    I know that family matters, that family and friends mean everything.
    I know that children are special, that each one is unique, and that every child deserves to be treasured.

  2. A great question! What Joan said, and what you said, Ingrid, about speaking up. I know I have only this "one wild and precious life"* and I want to live it to the fullest, in whatever form that takes. I know for sure if I persevere, I can write the best book I can, and then another.

    *Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day"

  3. yes, great question and I like all your answers. I too married the right guy (second time's the charm LOL)--he makes everything in life more fun and meaningful. And I know that family, pets, and friends are my life blood. And that many unpleasant challenges can be overcome, but first give yourself a chance to grieve what you lost. And that books and reading are one of life's greatest pleasures, along with good food!

  4. For sure I know now that I know very little for sure.
    I know I am with the right partner for me, had to kiss a few frogs first tho.
    I know that I (we) are insignificant in relation to the whole stream of time, past, present, and future.
    I know, from personal experience as a hospice nurse, that something transformative is going on at the time of death. I don't pretend to know the details.
    I know, well am pretty sure anyway, that I can beat this latest obstacle of mine, the godawful femur/knee salvage, if I keep up the PT religiously. I think.
    I love everyone's answers so far, and I wish I had a better grasp of metaphysics.

  5. Like Ann, I know for sure that the older I get, the less I know for sure.
    I know for sure there are mysteries in this world that we still don't have the answers to.
    I know the ache will lessen, but the missing will never end.
    I know that if winter's coming, spring will yet follow.

    1. I love that idea about the ache and the missing, Flora. So true.

  6. Like Ann, I know that I know very little for sure.

    But I know good friends and family will get you through anything.


  7. What a perfect thing to be asked to consider.

    That--it can't hurt to always do your best.
    That sometimes little things don't matter.
    That I suppose those two things are opposite.

    That often things turn out to be not as bad as you first think.

    That Jonathan is the perfect one for me.

    That those you consider family are essential.

    The multi attributed "everyone is fighting a hard battle.

    That human rights cannot be ignored.

    That we get one chance and it's such a waste to take it for granted.

    Love you...

  8. I know for sure that... I love this question
    ... that the smartest thing I ever did was have my children
    ... that a calorie is a terrible thing to waste on food that doesn't taste good
    ... that grief is a gift, an award to the person who earned your love

    1. Oh, Hallie, I love what you said about grief. I've been missing my dad al lot lately and that made me feel so much better about the sadness that sometimes overwhelms me.

    2. It's a lovely, comforting thought, Hallie. Thanks!

  9. I believe in myself and I am proud of my children.

  10. I know for sure that I:

    Don't suffer fools gladly.

    Don't pretend to care about something I don't, whether it becomes a cause celebre or not.

    Enjoy a good burger.

    Want to write a mystery/thriller but haven't got the patience to actually do it.

    Live my life on my terms as much as possible.

    Miss my parents.

    Love my various jobs/activities outside of the one that pays the bills.

    Really need to win the lottery.

    Enjoy making friends even if I do it on only a rare occasion.

    Know that I'll remain single forever.

    Know that I'm far more complicated/cranky/grummpy than I need to be.

  11. I know for sure that family and friends are worth more than fame
    That living and being loved are the greatest thing humans can do
    That I need the beauty of nature around me
    That I couldn't live without writing

  12. Wonderful question, and fascinating answers, Ingrid!
    I know that living life to the fullest and embracing the future is a conscious choice I have to make every day.
    I know that some days I will choose to sleep in.
    I know that I am pretty darn good at what I do.
    I know that I am capable of far more, if I allow myself to dream it.
    I know that I would be lost without this big, crazy menagerie of dogs and cats and musicians and writers and artists I have surrounded myself with.
    I know that life is good, even when it's sad.
    I know that creativity is the greatest high of all.

    1. I'm with you on the sleeping in, Gigi. I know that I would rather sleep in than get up early!

  13. What a great question!
    Like many others, I know that I know very little, but faith will get me by.
    I know that kindness counts, especially when it's hard.
    I know that like Rhys, I couldn't live without writing.
    I know that I can only be responsible for my own actions.
    I know that love may not conquer all, but it sure does make life easier.

  14. I know for sure that death is mysterious but I no longer want to embrace it.
    I know that a silent world still vibrates with movement, color, and dazzling joy.
    I know that each day is a new beginning.
    I know that the most powerful person in the world and me have the same 24 hours in a day. I can be the source of freedom and ease.
    I know that saying you are a vegetarian could mean you could live on cake and doughnuts.
    I know for sure that I don't know.

  15. I know that I love this question!
    I know that I am incredibly blessed with my family and my friends.
    I know that nothing prepares you for how much you will love your children and grandchildren.
    I know that it's a great shame to waste a moment of life.
    I know that I can't imagine life without writing.
    I know that for whatever weird reason, London makes my heart sing.

    1. I feel the same way about London, Debs. There's no other place quite like it!

  16. I know that I'm sitting here reading with goosebumps, feeling a little verklempt!
    I know that that Jungle Red community is an amazing group of thoughtful, fascinating, smart people.
    I know that writers and readers are the best.

  17. I know that I was darned lucky growing up when I did, where I did, with my parents and siblings, and friends. It gave me a rock-solid foundation for my adult life.

  18. I know I also married the right man...he loves my dogs AND he picks up the yard.
    I know our country will be okay eventually although I have days when I'm not sure how I know this.
    I know that books and the people that write and read books are treasures.
    I know that waking up at night with a cat cuddled next to me gives me comfort.
    I know I hate my vacuum cleaner.

  19. I know that I will sprint at 7:00 every morning.

  20. The older I get, the less I know for sure. And unlike when I was younger, that's ok.
    I know that, as Terry Pratchett said, I prefer the company of people who are searching for answers to big questions than those who know them.
    I know that it feels more important to me to be kind than to be smart, or right.
    I know that literature and music are two of humankind's greatest achievements; I enjoy them every day.
    I know that I'm extremely proud of my wife, our kids, and our grandkids.
    I know that it's great fun to come here every day and see what everyone is saying.

  21. Wow, what a singularly fantastic post, Ingrid!

    I know that my life actually began the day I met my husband.
    I know that my hooligans are my greatest joy.
    I know that there is always something to laugh about even in the darkest hour.
    I know that my family and friends are the cornerstones of my foundation.
    I know that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
    And I know (because Hub says this to me whenever the going has gotten tough)
    "There is no need to worry, because love conquers all."

  22. I know that every morning I make a conscious decision to choose joy, kindness and gratitude.
    I know that my grandchildren have stolen my heart, all for different reasons.
    I know my journey this week to be with my aunt as she says goodbye to this world will be hard but an honor that she wants me there. She has been like my sister for our 66 years.
    I know that books have been my daily companions since I was very young.

  23. This is such a great question!

    I know that I married the right person, the second time around.
    I'm finally beginning to know that my young adult son is going to be OK.
    I know that people matter more than things, accomplishments, or anything else.
    I know that each person is a complex story, and it is almost always worth investing time to learn that story.
    I know that singing in a choir and hiking in the woods both consistently lighten my load and refresh my energy.
    I know that when I am being disciplined about exercise, everything else in my life seems to have a better balance, too.
    I know that I am happiest when I'm busy, engaged, and surrounded by people I respect.

    1. I always remind myself, Susan, that everyone has a story. Sometimes the story is boring, but it belongs to them, and is just as valuable as my story.

  24. First and foremost, I know that regrets of wishing I'd done this or that differently when I was younger are meaningless. I know this because all I did and didn't do led me to an eight-year-old girl named Isabella, who is my granddaughter. Rascal Flatts' song "God Bless the Broken Road (that led me straight to you)" is something that I think about when I might start to have a regret. I know that song is talking about a romantic love, but I adapt it to fit the birth of this amazing child.

    I know that having a sense of humor and being able to laugh often are essential to my well-being.
    I know that having children was a blessing I can never be thankful enough for.
    I know that reading has been the companion that has kept me sane and enthusiastic.
    I know that coffee is not something I want to ever try to give up again (reference sense of humor point).
    I know that I can learn from a waitress serving my food as well as a scholar reciting a studied topic.
    I know that living in the past keeps you from living in the present.
    I know that it's important to have friends to get out with and enjoy life.
    I know that the opening line of the movie Moulin Rouge is true, that "the greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."
    I know that showing kindness is important to the giver and the receiver.

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  26. I know that learning to separate the important things in life from the trivial is one of the roads to peace
    I know that life is short for all of us and how we use our time is important every single day.
    I know that love and friendship and books can get you through a lot.
    I know that doing the kind thing is never wrong.

  27. I know that kindness is essential. Every moment. Every day.
    I know that reading is a way to connect and commune with the larger world.
    I know that meaningful work is important to my sense of self.
    I know that good and decent people will prevail.

  28. I've been gone all day, but wanted to answer, too. The reason I was gone was to spend precious time with my 87-year old feisty mother, who so appreciated my time. I know for sure that time is finite.

    I also know that I'm married to the right person, but I also know that marrying my first husband, even though it didn't work out, was absolutely necessary for everything that happened afterwards. I know for sure I would not be the person I am today, otherwise.

    I know that I did the best I know how for my children, and that my own parents did the best they knew how for me.

    Like Ann, I know for sure we don't know what goes on after death, but there's more to it than dust. When my grandmother died I had a transforming experience. (Ann, I'd love to chat about this sometime.)

    And among other things, I know that counting many of you as friends has been, and continues to be, a great joy. Thank you.

  29. I know that knowing I live over the rabbit hole keeps me from falling in.

  30. I know that what I do made sense in that moment even though later it looks like it didn't. :)

  31. What I know for sure: I'm not alone, I'm precious, I'm happy and will be happy.