Small Rebellious Acts of Creativity (#SRAOC) is a weekly invitation to explore a word, or phrase, through whichever creative avenue, platform or modality the participant wishes. It is intended to be a philosophical or creative catalyst moreso than a straight up writing prompt.
This week’s prompt was: Grace and Gratitude
The idea of grace and gratitude has always been a fundamental aspect of character for me. It is a spiritual discipline, one easy to start but difficult to master and be consistent with. The tendency to fall into complaining mode is strong. To focus on what we can be thankful for is too easy to dismiss.
It is a contemplative spirit that seeks understanding and strength beyond itself.
Music that encapsulates this for me is from solo bass performer Steve Lawson. His 2004 album, Grace and Gratitude, is a spiritual refuge for me musically and aesthetically. He samples and loops his bass guitar in sonic landscapes and has been a constant companion when I am writing.
This is my favourite track from the album, Despite My Worst Intentions. Have a listen. The whole album is an aural hug and meditative journey.
Below is a live recording so you can see how he does it from one of his house concerts. I wish I could attend one if I lived in England.
This is the title track from the album, recorded for Bass Player magazine. It is a beautiful piece of music.
Sometimes, the lessons of grace and gratitude come at the least expected moments.
Earlier this week, I found myself in a situation where I needed to have a tough conversation with about seven of my students. Due to some sloppy editing, we had published some material online that was never meant to be shared with a larger audience. It wasn’t anything that put another person in jeopardy; it was just information that we cut from the article for the purposes of developing and refining the angle. It was sloppy, and none of us liked the message it gave to our readers.
After I had shared my concerns, I asked the students, one by one, if they had anything to add. Beyond a few mumbled apologies, there was nothing anybody wanted to say.
Until we reached Natalie.
Now, Natalie is our copy editor, and a darn good one. She’s quiet, but confident. Her contributions to the team have been largely made with a red marking pen.
When it was Natalie’s turn to speak, she let us have it. She reminded us that we had lost our desire to have “fun” while still working to the best of our abilities. In a matter of seconds, she had turned a shaming into an inspiring moment about what our team is all about, and what has brought us together this entire year.
Since then, our team has had a more positive energy, and our production has markedly improved. All thanks to Natalie and her graceful words of optimism and inspiration.
The next day, the editors and I made her a card to express our gratitude. What goes around comes around, and we put our creative talents to work to recognize just how thankful we were (and are) for her speaking up and showing us the way back to enjoying our work.
So here’s to you, Natalie, and all of you who have the courage to speak up. we are grateful for your words…and you!
Serendipity found me on Monday morning. Grace is not a word I come across a lot when making cut-up poetry, but there it was, the day after pulling the prompt. Gratitude often arrives most powerfully in the small moments of life.