05 February 2011

On Saying Something Nice

We've all heard the old saying "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

It bummed me out to think I am dangerously close to not being able to say anything at all.  This state of affairs calls for a vacation...
(...which I can't afford...)
...or disconnection...
(...which I don't know how to do...)
...or dropping out...
(...which I am too stubborn for..)

So.  That leaves me...where?  Here, of course.  Which is where I always am.

Tonight, I read three favorite books with Wee Lass, at bedtime, handpicked by her because she knows I like these particular stories.  It's the Zen series, by Jon J. Muth.  Wonderful, wonderful books.  Thoughtful, intelligent and illustrated with some gorgeous watercolors.

The central figure in the stories, as some of you may know, is a big panda bear named Stillwater.  He is friend, teacher, sage and roshi all in one.  He makes tea, paints pictures and tells stories.  I want to Stillwater to be a friend to me, as he is to the kids who live nearby.  Mostly, I want to be Stillwater.

I have a lot to learn.


  1. It kills me, you never realize you sort of are Stillwater. You tell stories people read, you take pictures people gaze at and you are a good friend and mentor when people (me) need it. Not affording vacation sucks. Realizing you matter? Priceless.

  2. Nice post Gumbo. Those books sound lovely - I'll have to look them up.... even though our youngest is now almost 14. I would enjoy them. :D We used to read with our children, right from day 1, just like you do with your daughter. :)

  3. nice. i am sad to say i am unfamiliar with these and i am afraid i might have cheated my boys...i need to go get these...and great job reading to your kids...so important.

  4. Stiletto Mom is right. You are Stillwater.
    Duhhhh :)

  5. I have yet to crack open a Stillwater book, but lucky me, I am going to be a grandma this summer, so I will introduce these books to this new little being. THANK YOU.

    and yes, I am in full agreement with The Stiletto Mom.

  6. On the occasions that I want to same something that isn't nice, I try to stop and ask myself how I would feel if someone said it to me. Usually, that solves the problem. I lived through an abusive relationship with a guy who never said anything nice and I don't ever want to hurt someone the way those words hurt me.

  7. Driving to BFE New York isn't too expensive.

  8. Aww shucks! And I thought that maybe, you were going to pop up at my Super Bowl party, Mr. Gumbo! :)


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...