"While we are reading, we are all Don Quixote." ~ Mason Cooley

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Organizing for the Creative Person

"Many wonderfully talented people have been able to create anything and everything - except order.....they have a hard time attending to details, keeping things where they belong, finding what they need, getting to places on time, following through on projects, and so on.....a tendency toward brain dominance or preference makes it difficult for some of them to get organized in the conventional ways."

These lines, taken from the third paragraph of the introduction to Organizing for the Creative Person by Dorothy Lehmkuhl and Dolores Cotter Lamping, C.S.W., were enough to convince me to buy this book 15 years ago. Written by an organization consultant and a psychotherapist, it is more than another how-to manual extolling methods that work for those already inclined to be tidy, methodical and punctual.  It offers dozens of practical, down-to-earth strategies and techniques designed to help us right-brain dominant folks find an organizing style and system that can work for us.

And they work.  I can attest to this, as I am now, finally, organized. In my way. It has taken awhile, having some fun in the process, experimenting with different ideas. With recommendations of these authors. But items now have a specified place and, most often, can be found there. I use baskets and totes instead of file cabinets - have finally accepted that it's better to accept "out of sight, out of mind " than to deny it.  I am an expert with a label gun.  Carry a small notebook with me wherever I go - love my notebooks! Our closets, cupboards and drawers are orderly - and, the greatest testimony I can give, my husband is ready to follow my lead in the garage!

If this isn't enough to recommend this book, let me add that, first published in l993, it is still in print and still pertinent.  A most valuable resource.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

I Remember....

It remains a mystery to me how a long forgotten memory will suddenly surface, seemingly out of the ethers.  This morning, on waking and thinking 'book club today', a sudden image caught me a bit offguard.  A little girl, a 1st grader, tearing down the school hallway, primer in hand, a toothy grin on her face, "I can read!  I can read!"

This memory - 35 years old now, the situation - my first principalship in a primary school of 350 youngsters, K-3rd grade.  From families of what today we refer to as the working poor.  A school staffed by teachers who, for the most part, loved teaching and loved their students. Teachers who informed me at my first staff meeting that they hoped, no, expected that I would support what they saw as the primary mission of the school.  Not only to teach these youngsters to read, but to love to read.

I did.  And they, for the most part, succeeded in their mission. I did my best to support them.  I would drop in to observe reading lessons, to listen to youngsters read or to read to them.  Do whatever I could to send the message that their principal as well as their teacher thought reading was important.

Eventually, it became a regular practice for youngsters to be sent to me to share their progress.  But this particular morning, this particular girl - not merely progress but a major breakthrough!  She had come to the school that September, a first grader who could not read a single word.  Who seemed overwhelmed by the very possibility, often frustrated to the point of tears by the challenge of connecting symbol to sound.  What the key was that opened the door to the wonders of reading for her I can't recall.  But I remember who turned it - one dedicated, perseverant, patient, caring teacher. I remember that little girl's unbounded joy as she flew into my arms and started to read her little book.  I tear up today as I type this.  I remember it like it was yesterday.