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When I started my career in retail I had to go through a month of off-site training. As is customary in retail/sales training sessions, the group I was with had to endure “ice breakers” and team-building games each day. I use the word endured because to date I’ve not met a single person who actually enjoys those types of exercises.

The very first game was for the purpose of helping us all to remember each other’s names… because the name cards that sat in front of our seats weren’t enough, obviously.

The game involved going around in a circle and using a descriptive word that began with the same letter as your name to introduce yourself, for example you could say you were,”Jazzy Jill,” or “Daring Diego”.  As you went around the circle  you had to repeat the names of the people who’d gone before you before you could add your own– woe to the person at the end.

Most people had a multitude of possible words to use with their names, however, there really aren’t that many descriptive words that begin with ‘K’ so when it was my turn, the choice was obvious, I was “Kind Katie”.

I didn’t like it.

It sounded soft and the last thing I wanted was to immediately have the reputation of being a pushover.

Kind reminded me of The Care Bears, of cotton candy pink, and of children holding hands and singing songs together.

But that was before I understood kindness. 

Kindness is a killer. It’s one of the most lethal weapons we have in our human arsenal, but it’s also one of the least used because it’s been deeply misunderstood.

What makes kindness especially deadly is that it is unbiased and extremely contagious.

Kindness doesn’t wait for a person to show signs of being deserving of its gift, or to have proof of a specific need and therein is a unique power. Kindness buys the coffee for the person behind them in line without knowing anything about that person, without even really being able to see their face.

An act of kindness may seem small, but its ripples move far and wide through life and they compel people to act in a way that destroys hatred, selfishness, judgement, and pride.

Kindness brings down walls and opens hearts. Its not weak, soft, or squishy. Kindness is a beast and I hope that I can be Kind Katie.

 

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This is me making an effort to get the words flowing this morning.

I like Fall. In spite of my commitment to feeling cold as little as possible, the brief experience of Fall we have here in Texas is something I dearly love. An opportunity for cute layering and boots, a solid reason to never be seen without some kind of warm beverage in my hand, and colors– magical colors that you’ll miss if you blink.

This small window of Fall also tends to give me a creative boost. Novel writing is a journey like nothing else I’ve ever been on. I like thinking about how for each writer it’s sure to be a different kind of journey, deeply personal in completely different ways. The section of writing I’m working on right now is rather painful. It taps into my own experiences in life and love and of course, it tends to sting.  And I get in deep, this has always been a thing for me while reading, too. I’ve been known to put a book down for years because I had become so deeply drawn in that it was effecting my mood and general state of mind. I can’t do that with writing and expect to get it done, so my answer is to balance my feelings with other creative processes. Get out of my own head for a little while, give myself a little break from the content that is causing me to brood, and look at other people.

One of my favorite artistic distractions at present is Instagram. I’m not a brilliant photographer, but I deeply enjoy what some people are calling iPhone Photography. For me the pleasure is in using the camera that I have at hand to capture something subtle I’ve noticed. It’s nothing fancy, just fun. My particular favorite theme for this hobby is Photos of Strangers. I’ve perfected the art of snapping a photo without the subjects knowledge, which, let me tell you, isn’t easy, but it’s necessary for the type of photo I’m looking for. I don’t want awkwardness (unless their natural awkwardness is what’s inspired me to snap the picture) and I don’t want a posed photo either. The key for me is capture people doing what people do when they don’t realize anyone’s looking.

Here are a few of the shots I’ve gotten, enjoy, and happy Fall. =)

Silence. My answer to a mind that is so full of ideas and so frustratingly slow at figuring out

how to bring those ideas to life. Everyone who says anything about blog writing would surely call my blog a huge disaster– I break all the rules. It doesn’t really matter.

I found myself sitting in a booth and enjoying a meal twice today. If you’re a lady, you know

that sitting in booths can be a love/hate situation. On the one hand they’re comfortable; the seat is more forgiving than a hard chair and in most cases you feel like you’re in your own private corner of a restaurant. In general sharing a booth with someone feels more intimate and cozy. Sadly, when it’s time to go you’re faced with the less pleasant side of booth-sitting, which is getting out of it. I’m not sure if men have this problem, I’m sure some must, but I think of this as an issue that, for the most part, frustrates women.

You’ve managed to glide into the booth with relative ease, not the same as taking a seat in chair,

granted, but you’ve executed it with enough grace that it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, but. If you’ve had the misfortune of having shared one side of the booth with your dining partner, rather than sitting across from them, then you are as far from freedom as is possible. You begin the undignified lean-and-scoot method used by all interior booth-sitters, gently, hoping with all you’ve got that by some miracle you’ll be able to do this without looking like you’re bouncing your way out. The level of dignity lost depends solely on the lower half of your outfit. There are a few fabrics in existence that are merciful during this stage of escape. However, if, God forbid, your legs are bare, then you might as well kiss your aspirations to Audrey Hepburn-esque poise goodbye. As flesh clings to vinyl, you realize that your partner has already made it to the door and there’s a bus boy making his way to clear your table. Desperately you begin to cling to the edge of the booth, trying to claw your way out. Finally you’re able to swing your legs around the free end of the booth and scoot your bum down the remaining inches of the bench. At that point you focus all of your energy on not looking like you’ve just done half an hour on the stair-stepper and make any necessary adjustments to clothing that have crept from where they should be during the ordeal. Once you’ve righted yourself, you walk out, head held high, as though nothing at all unusual has taken place, but feeling certain that every person in the restaurant has watched and taken bets on whether you or the booth would win the fight.

After suffering the interior booth-sitters fate twice today what I’ve realized is that this scenario,

my friends, is very much what writers block is like for me and I have come to this conclusion:

There’s no lady-like way to get out of a booth and there isn’t a poetic way to end writers block.

Consider this blog post the beginning of my lean-and-scoot, desperate clawing, leg swinging attempt to get myself out of the wordless hole I’ve been lurking in. =)

Katie's Photos

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