Archive for Poems & Ponderings, my previous blog:

Mother - May - I ?
Thursday, May 2, 2013

Twizzler Moments
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Notes from a Sparrow
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Message in a Bottle
Monday, January 28, 2013

September Already?!?!?!?
Saturday, September 15, 2012

May 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012

June 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011

May 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011

April 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011

March 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011

January 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

December 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November, 2010

MY BLOG

writing

Twizzler Moments

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

When I was a teacher I used to keep a container of red twizzlers on my desk. Whenever I noticed a student do something nice for someone, I'd toss them a twizzler. In our classroom vernacular, these small random acts of kindness became known as twizzler moments (sometimes referred to as twizzies). Lending a classmate a pencil or piece of looseleaf was usually enough to launch a twisty red rocket into the air, but just as often the the twizzler launch wasn’t a launch at all. Sometimes the twizzler was simply a quiet offering to the student who had made room for an unpopular kid at the lunch table even when she didn’t know anyone was watching. Or perhaps a student had stayed inside at recess to play Guess Who with a shy classmate sidelined by a sprained ankle.

What motivates me as a writer are life's twizzler moments. In my books and in my life, I'm on a kind of twizzler crusade. I’m particularly interested in historical twizzies - acts of courage or kindness from the past that I believe should be remembered. There are so many of them - so many small seemingly insignificant moments that may not have changed the course of history, but which certainly shaped the course of individual lives.

While researching the Great Blizzard of ’88 (March 11 to March 14th, 1888), I came across one such historical twizzy. According an eyewitness, a large black spot had appeared on the snow. At first the witness thought the spot might be a large animal. But as the spot grew closer, he realized that it was a man with a tin pail trudging through the blinding blizzard. Still later the witness learned that the moving spot was not an animal or a man, but rather a young woman. While most people were hiding from the storm, this courageous woman had bundled herself in men’s clothes in order to tramp through the snow and bring fresh milk to an elderly couple.

A woman dressed in men's clothes, struggling through the most dramatic snowstorm of the century to bring milk to an elderly couple? Now that’s a twizzler moment!

The world is not always kind, but thankfully, there are always stories of individuals who do the right thing, even when no one is watching, even when no twizzler will be tossed into the snow.