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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Magazine Idea for Oprah

I spent my entire afternoon today trying to e-mail the O Magazine with an idea, but it's been virtually impossible...duh? After hearing on the news that Ms. Winfrey would be retiring in a year, I decided to send the editors an article suggestion...while also giving them a large hint about the peace postcards Oprah's PO Box has been hosting.

Undaunted, I cut more from the blurb below and sent it off...not quite complete, but if anyone on the editorial staff wants to know more, the unedited English teacher format is here to fill in the gaps. The comment box allowed 2000 characters, and I kept whittling away...not too successfully, but I got better at taking out redundancies. Because Oprah is retiring, timing has become even more crucial to reaching the one million goal. I have decided to get busy encouraging twittering tweets, essays such as the soon-to-be posted essay by Pete K. on "respect," and other methods for creating those 1,000,000 visions of peace messages. Check out the youtube video "Visions of Peace" by David M.; this is in lieu of his postcard, for example. Pete and David had more to say/to dream/to ponder. They are two of the 1,000,000. No time to waste.

I find that I am a dismal(but happy) failure at small messages. Twittering is limited to 140 characters, right? (I found myself singing "Old MacDonald" this morning. "With a tweet, tweet here, and a postcard there. Here a tweet, there a tweet...everywhere...")

For those's what I wrote in the magazine's comment box that was not completely printed:

Title: "Women Advise Oprah for a Change."

Idea: Gather diverse "third chapter" stories and advice from transitioning women about adjustments, directions and dreams. Include my story ending with a teacher's promise and well wishes for Oprah: "Make a one-year promise to your fans about something you will do. What is your vision of peace? Be patient and listen as you await your transformation to a new chapter. Sleep in too."

Outline Story of a Teacher's Promise: Sixth grade students researched 23(now 24) U.S. Nobel Peace Prize winners last year. Heroes' lives inspired unique dreams of making the world a better place. These word-pictures were mailed as illustrated vision-of-peace postcards to O's PO Box. Kids set a goal to inspire 1,000,000 others to write cards. They actively taught all ages to write ways to make a peaceful difference; the acceptance of diversity was paramount. Over 1,000 anonymous cards were mailed but school ended. I promised to continue promoting their goal. I promised to spend one year taking a peace quilt "around the world" sharing their words of hope that will inspire more cards to be made and sent. But then came last night's news: "Oprah's show is ending in a year." The time has come for readers and viewers to twitter, tweet, e-mail, and write postcards of innundate the Oprah airways and P.O. Box. As someone I overheard in Albertsons say this week, "Peace is in the small details." Listen to the children.
See blog :"A Zillion Visions of Peace."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What is your Vision of Peace? Send a Card to Oprah.

It's easy. Take a blank 3 by 5 card and print the above words and address on the front. Next add your vision of peace for making the world a better place in words and/or drawings on the other side. In the lower right hand corner add your first name and age, if you wish, but don't put a return address. Together we will stuff Oprah's Post Office Box without expectation for recognition. Together we will influence change, if only in ourselves. Follow the sixth graders' examples by hoping and acting.

Why Oprah? Why not someone else? Oprah is known throughout the world as a woman of influence. A name and a media star. Children and education are primary concerns of hers. Will she respond? Is she receiving the cards from her staffers? Probably not. Would her recognition bring peace? No. Would 1,000,000 people thinking about how they could individually make the world a better place bring peace? Maybe. Every communicator knows that a message needs a receiver to make a connection.
This is what I put on my card and why I'm spending a year sharing adolescents' visions of peace: "My vision of peace is for Middle Schoolers to inspire adults to remember about the peace they may have forgotten."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pass the Peace Please

I'm back from Sunnyside, WA where I gave my first peace sermon at the Presbyterian Church pastored by the Reverend Kate Isabelle Haney on November 8. I was thankful for this bully-pulpit opportunity to urge active peacemaking through the butterfly quilt's symbolic presence and the sharing of a number of examples of children's visions of peace in the form of postcards already addressed to Oprah's PO Box. The quilt was displayed in the front of the sanctuary on Sunday morning where 11-year-old Max's card was clipped..."My vision of peace is to bring happiness to others..." Peace and joy are often inseparable, according to Max and to Jesus too.

Other card wordings were shared such as: "My vision of peace is to stop bullying at my school this year." Chris, age 11. "My vision of peace is that there be no more littering on the planet." Lana, age 11. "My vision of peace is that all seven continents will have smiles on their faces. Even penguins." Anajulia, age 12. "My vision of peace is for everyone to have a cat." Joe, age 6. "Accepting diversity promotes peace." Grandparent.

I talked about how my former Shasta Middle School students influenced over 1000 people to write peace postcards to Oprah last year...always wording their own thoughts and diverse ways of bringing joy to the earth.

I made the connection between the Gospel, the verse Matthew 5:9, and the students' collecting of 1,000,000 visions of peace postcards and its intrinsic value in influencing change. The sharing of adolescents' dreams of making the world a better world inspire others of all ages to think about and to act on justice and peace issues. The point is not to get on the talk show or even to fill out a card and mail it away; the point is to create the synergy that promotes small actions that change individuals that change more individuals that change many more individuals.

A 22-minute sermon and a reunion with long-time friends from long ago days at Northwoord Presbyterian Church (the Haneys, the Rolfes, the Kirkpatricks) made for a special time. (Also, the four women friends played one great game of pool. I think my partner and I won because I picked up the balls and put them in the pockets.)

Since the Peace Quilt's first appearance at Chico's, the quilt has been shared with 19 different configurations of people and groups. I will add all those stops and a few accompanying captions and photos on my developing map in the side panel. If you are planning to read about the peace quilt journey now and then, know that the template is due to change frequently. A rolling blog gathers no moss. I should probably give prizes to anyone who happens to catch what I've changed from entry to entry. The teacher in me can't help but scroll back to make "improvements"--add pictures, reword comments, add an interchange I forgot to mention, change spelling or word choice, delete B.S. and so on. I hope to switch the current set of maps to a g-map with the help of my friends, Jen Butler and Chuck Vanlue. It does take a village to help me become more bloggable.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Have Quilt/Will Travel

I am gathering the stories of the people and the places I meet along the way. Please join me on my journey. Add your comments, questions, and yes, requests for a quilt appearance in your hometown.

What a kick! I am getting to meet people, reconnect with friends, visit new places and spread peace. Having FUN is paramount in all of this, by the way. Joy must be the litmus test for each talk, I think. Artist and poet, Barbara Hunter, asked me a good question after a reunion with our close hometown friends from Oklahoma in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee the end of October. After its first airplane ride, the quilt became a backdrop for a picture of my 12 treasured high school friends...the ones I had slumber parties with. We stayed up all night, froze bras, and talked about boys in middle school. We're still staying up all night talking about life's happenings and arthritis and flabby arms. And, often laughing uproariously.

Barbara's potent comments to me: "You really want to do this? Right? You might want to note how the year with the quilt changes you."

Bloggers , you can help to be my gauge on that.

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