Sunday, 16 January 2011

I spent part of yesterday writing

a short story, a very short story. It is a submission for this:

They may not want it. I certainly will not hold my breath over ever having anything accepted but I felt compelled to try. I am not there in Queensland to entertain the children while the adults start the long, tedious and dangerous task of cleaning up. I do not have large financial resources to simply donate a substantial sum. They do not, so far, require my professional services.

As I have mentioned elsewhere I do not normally write short stories but it is something I can try and do. In that sense I am fortunate. There are many people around me who would like to do more to help in a disaster but there is nothing they can do. Yes, they can give money but their financial capacity is often limited. It often leaves people with the feeling that they "have not really done anything". There is also a growing perception that money is often "wasted". (It is but, so far, nobody has solved that problem and it does not negate the need for money.)

I know someone else who, also having an apricot tree with an abundant crop (and the necessary permit), has made almost one hundred jars of apricot jam. She will sell them today at a small market and donate the proceeds. Her husband helped to stone the fruit and will assist her today.
As she collected the labels I had printed from my computer she said, "I am so lucky I can do something."

And I think that might be part of the problem. People who want to help often want to "do something". Donating a little money is not the same thing. "Doing something" makes them feel better, a little less guilty. They want to give some time or some effort. I think that is one reason why it is so important for some people to have at least one leisure occupation that produces something tangible that other people can enjoy. They need to create. They need to share.

I also think our education system will fail if it fails to give people the skills with which to do that. We need to consider those in need of help and we also need to consider those who need to help.


shandy said...

Oh, how i relate to the notion of wanting to do something, whatever that might be. There were floods in Cumbria, my home county, last year. When we got there, they were still clearing up, but it was not obvious what we could do. In fact, we bought an item from a shopkeeper who was trying to make the best of it. Every time we look at our coal shovel we think of that man

catdownunder said...

That was probably the most useful thing you could do Shandy - it might have been the difference between going under or staying on top of his business.

sue said...

I too can relate to the feeling of needing to 'do'. I then realized that the act of passing on the good wishes when I find them in blogs constitutes 'doing something'. My friends and relatives in Brisbane don't have the luxury of time to sit - but they say they're heartened by the outpouring of good wishes - and to keep them coming. A small purchase, a kind word, it's the warmth and care that counts.