“Excellent, excellent, excellent”
I scrawled on my second grade self-report, in Spanish Fork, Utah.
Mama went to school for the whole report card and progress report.
“She is right,” said my teacher. “Her work and ability is excellent, excellent, excellent.” By the time of this exchange, my excellent, excellent, excellent seven year old self had already lost two beloved countries (the Netherlands and Iran), many family and friends. My encouraging second-grade teacher was at the fifth elementary school of my young life.
Today this memory and report of my teacher’s words fill me with warmth, and yet I wonder,
where did that little girl who knew she was
“Excellent, excellent, excellent,” go?
Where did your “Excellent, excellent, excellent,” self go?
Read on, and then tell me.
I just finished the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. Enough of the brave little seven year-old lingered to help me there. But ohhhh, aargh, at least half the time I saw a prominent person, an excellent, excellent, excellent person, I did not approach. The war at home had me. I rooted to the spot like a leaden little statue of a foreign girl, looking for the dark magic to run and escape.
What happened when I did approach? Enough of wishing for magic-Faith instead. Moments. Heather Lazare of Simon and Schuster’s Touchstone imprint; Linda Lee our volunteer coordinator, writer and web designer; Georgia Hughes of New World Library; poet Joan Gelfand, agents Michael Larsen/Elizabeth Pomada; and memoir author Linda Joy Myers were just a gracious few I connected with. They were happy to share their excellent, excellent, excellent. Most people are.
I had to say to myself inside, excellent, excellent, excellent. I had to think of others as simple/complex human beings like myself, alongside me in God’s excellent, excellent, excellent world . As always when we treat others as excellent, excellent, excellent, it all works out.
What happens when we approach each other? Moments.
Tell me how your keep excellent, excellent, excellent going. Tell me your moments.
I leave you with one of my favorite photos of m parents, in Utah. One year into the adjustment of having immigrated to America, and previously having survived Nazi occupied The Netherlands for my mother, and Japanese Concentration Camps in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia, my father).