She’s still looking good, folks! Yes, I am talking about Oprah Winfrey and her gratitude journal.
Are you wondering what sudden rush of blood to the head brought this on? I can see at least one of my favourite cousins making a face already.
Well , back in the day when media was not quite so multi, the best thing to watch on TV on a Saturday afternoon if you did not like local soccer matches was The Oprah Winfrey Show.
We watched the show when she first spoke about her gratitude journal idea. It made sense to me at the time. We know the idea of giving thanks, or acknowledging our gratitude is not new. All worship since the dawn of time has included some measure of expressing gratitude. I think of it as part of human nature.
I liked Oprah’s idea, but I was not keen on keeping a journal, as such.
Instead, I used little squares of paper (always dated!), and abbreviated my gratitude. After a few days I would have a pile of these under a paper weight. They looked like tabulated shopping lists —I do love long dashes when I write by hand— and often got doodled on:
— new-mown grass
— only the solenoid
— lovely Labradors
— sister — phone call
— dappled things (with profound apologies to Gerald Manley Hopkins)
That was the problem with me. Fragments of poems always popped up, since they served as a shorthand for the bigger idea. In those days, I had an ample book shelf, so off I would wander to refresh my memory – and all meditation upon gratitude would fly out the window!
Oprah, by the way, also does that same thing with words. The Oprah Winfrey Show was produced by Harpo Productions, Inc. Harpo is coincidentally Oprah spelled backwards, and also a character in the book by Alice Walker, The Color Purple, later made into a film of the same name in which Oprah was cast. This is now common knowledge, but I figured this out long before Wikipedia did, or anyone else ever said anything.
I still have not answered the question in my second paragraph.
The gratitude trigger went something like this:
— more work than I can cope with — declined big translation — tempting & Portuguese
— know someone can pass work on to
— glad friends with German woman in France — “good cooperation”! (Aside: Private joke with self. That last phrase is probably the most often used, and worst, translation of something which sounds so natural in German, “gute Zusammenarbeit”. Pity about that.)
— inner chicken happy
— happy are those who hearts can break (no apologies, but a reference to Oscar Wilde – fourth last verse in Part V of Ballad, in case you are interested).
We are all connected, really. From Oprah Winfrey to Oscar Wilde in three or four easy steps.
Have fun with the poetry, and thank you for your very good cooperation!