Saturday, September 24, 2005


Amsterdam Notebook, originally uploaded by Ann Althouse.

It's NOT the rare and wonderful days when perfect sentences and paragraph tumble fully formed from your brain, surprising even the writer with what they contain.

And it's also NOT the fact that (rumor has it) some people even make money from doing it.

No, what's truly the very best thing about writing is that sometimes it changes things.

An example? Shortly after hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, I wrote about a special cab driver I'd met there, and how we'd vowed to keep in touch. Perhaps, a week or two later, my husband and I located Chris in Houston by cell phone. His home and livelihood had been ravaged, but he was grateful for the safety of his family. And I wrote about that, too.

But the truly amazing part of the story was that a couple of readers responded, offering to help Chris in various ways. A total stranger, one among millions who are suffering from this disaster. And all based on a little blog piece written by yet another total stranger. With news of scams all over the internet, I wasn't sure if they had followed through. To be honest, I'm not sure I would have had that kind of trust.

What happened next, I had no way of knowing. Until yesterday. That's when I received a letter from Chris thanking us for what we were able to send him. But his most profound gratitude was reserved for the "wonderful friends you brought into our lives at a time when we had nothing at all."

His letter also revealed that you, whoever among you did this amazing thing, gave him and his family much more than a material gift. You gave them a great gift of the spirit as well. Perhaps the very best gift of all. Chris referred to it as "the courage to fight on." I'm not sure, but I think it's otherwise known as Hope.

And so, to you anonymous giver (or givers) I forward Chris's deepest appreciation. But I suspect you feel as I do: incredibly grateful and humbled by the opportunity to be of use.

P.S. For those of you who have been following Chris's story, the brother and sister he was searching for have been safely located in Atlanta.


Vickie said...

If you will go back and re-read the comment I left you on that piece, you'll see that I was right all along. I don't normally boast about such things, but in this case, being right was a very good thing. Thanks for posting an update!

Eric Mutta said...

This is a comforting story and a good reminder that there's yet good left in the world (especially during these tumultuous times).

Writing has the power to change things and make a difference. It's why someone once said "I'm all for taking away dangerous tools away from the careless, as long as we begin with the typewriter".

a river said...

This is a great example of the power of writing and the ways in which hope and spirit find their way around the darkness that threatens to keep them invisible from us.

Thanks for the update on this.

Dave said...

That's great. Thanks for the update - and thanks again for the evocative original post. You done good.

Patty said...

Thank you. Just, thank you.

OvaGirl said...

That is great Patry, inspiring, heartwarming and yes hopeful.

Melly said...

That's fantastic Patry. And kudos to you and those who helped out.

Thanks for the update.

Patry Francis said...

Vickie: You WERE right. Thanks for coming back.

eric mutta: Nice to see you here.

maria: "finding a way around the darkness" You always find just the right words.

Dave: Thanks for linking to the original. I'm not sure where the help came from, but it may well have been through your link.

Patty: I always enjoy a visit from Qatar.

dog1net: Thanks so much for the link and for the mention, Scot. I truly appreciate it.

Ova girl: I'm due to stop off at your site tonight. I need to laugh, need inspiration, need all the good stuff I always find there.

And Melly: This site would not be the same without your frequent visits. Thank you for that.

Patry Francis said...

Oh yes, and one more thing to Eric Mutta: love your quote about the typewriter.

Anonymous said...

Changing things one word, one deed, one day at a time. This is the power of one.