Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"One Letter At A Time"

I’m all set for another round of interviews in Oklahoma, thanks to the thoughtfulness of Atina and her Mom, Hazel. Also, Doug Paulsen from the Woodside Senior Center has proven to be a man of his word. After my center visits with Billie Beal and E.K Boggs last week, Doug smiled and assured me, “There are a lot more where those came from.” He wasn't joking. This morning, right after I told Doug how another avenue I was counting on had fallen through, he told me to sit tight and he’d call me in a few hours. Within the hour the phone was ringing and there was Doug, telling me three more visits were set up for later in the week. Just like that, I’m back in the saddle. And I’ve already started reaching out to folks up in Kansas, so things are looking good for that part of the trip as well. Add to that, enter Arkansas. It’s funny, Arkansas wasn't on the original list, time and money certainly becoming an issue at some point. But a bunch of folks I've met have been trying to persuade me to take an extra week and head down that way, telling me how beautiful it is. So I’m thinking about it. E.K. Boggs mentioned he has friends down there he can introduce me to and I’d love to see Little Rock and Hot Springs. I’ll see how things unfold.

* * * * * * * * * *

One Letter At A Time - In the meantime, I keep plugging away. When I’m not busy interviewing or setting up interviews, I’m focused on making hotel arrangements. The balance of my time is spent transcribing and writing about the folks I’ve been meeting. The website? It's proven to be much more of a challenge than I ever thought it'd be. Sure, I’m loving the fact that I’m the director, producer and technician all in one, giving me the ability to update things whenever I want, as soon as the experiences occur. Still, it takes a ton of time. And it’s not developing as quickly as I want. And I hate that.

And then ... five simple words float through my head. It's a new phrase that has attached itself to my brain cells for some reason.

“One letter at a time…”

Hollis Baker's gift to me.

Sure, we’ve all heard different metaphors for ways to accomplish big ideas and splendid plans – “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” – “The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step,” and the big one so many of us seem to struggle with, “One day at a time." But, when Hollis spoke freely about his experiences as a sign-painter and how he handled a lifetime of challenges along the way, I smiled when he relayed one particular story and I’m smiling again as I write this.

One letter at a time.

And so I’ll keep pecking away at this laptop, uploading and editing photos, listening to tapes and writing blog updates and culling out interview excerpts for all of you to enjoy.

One letter at a time.

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