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Instead of Writing, I Earned Myself a Chocolate Ula

I haven’t been able to write for nearly 3 months now. Oh, I’ve done a few pages of revision of my novel and submitted them to my writing group. But I haven’t written. I haven’t been able to immerse myself in any of my projects. It’s been immensely frustrating.


Today was the final day of a course I’ve run for 10 weeks now. Every weeknight for the past ten weeks (for three-four hours), I’ve been marking people’s papers (reading the same answers over and over), dog-earing pages where I needed them to add more information or rethink an answer, and writing reports on the course’s progress for my employer. Every Saturday, I’ve spent eight hours getting my head around the material for the week ahead (it’s the first time I’ve run this course).


Sundays I’ve been wasted, no good to anyone. I’ve been unable to write.


Today, my class completed their course. I was immensely proud of the work they had done, the progress they had made, and the God-given glory I saw shining in their eyes. These precious people have been unemployed for years. Some have physical disabilities and others mental illness (and don’t we all??). They had lost their mojo; they had lost their confidence. Over two and a half months, they courageously faced themselves, their “demons”, and even the hopes they had buried after years of knockbacks. Over two and half months, they have tried The New, engaged in The Confronting, embraced Work Placements and reflected on their performance. Yesterday and today, they made presentations to the room — and their talents and growth shone for all to see.


One played the chanter (the “flute” part of bagpipes), another spoke passionately about the young people he’s already started helping in our community. A lady put photos up around the room depicting her amazing philosophy of customer service. A young man gave us a lesson in pixel animation and self-publishing comic books…


It’s been my privilege to see several members of my class gain real live jobs, and others move on to further training (something they would never have considered before). But more so, to make friends who’ve shown me the incredible panorama of human expression and giftedness. The Samoan ula I’m wearing (think Hawaiian lei) is made from ribbon and HUGE chocoloate bonbons. It was presented to me by a Samoan member of the class and I can’t think of a prouder “award” that I’ve ever received…. And I get to eat it!!!


Knowing that my friends are back on their horses, putting themselves out there, living again – it makes all the writing time I’ve “lost” over the past 10 weeks more than worthwhile. It makes it an investment.


There will always be time to write; for three months, I’ve had the privilege of contributing.


(And…I got chocolates!) 🙂




Published inPersonal Ramblings


  1. Edible rewards are awesome, but can’t begin to compare to the less tangible ones you describe here. I think what you’ve helped these people do is fantastic. You’re awesome, and it sounds like they are too 🙂

    ~ Rhonda Parrish

  2. That’s awesome, Pete. You may not have gotten to write for a few months, but this is the kind of vital LIVING that fuels writing later. Great job with your class, and enjoy that chocolate!

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