wings and things

The shortlist

I have discovered something wonderful and I’m sure Oprah will be contacting me soon to make me rich and famous.

Okay, we are all familiar with the list thing – shopping lists, chore lists, goal lists etc. But you know what the trouble is with these lists? They are too long!

My extensive research, case studies and social experimentation over the last three days have produced extraordinary findings! Yes, indeed, I have found the cure for lethargy!

The two candidates for this study were a teenage son and his mother who were becoming more and more depressed and, yes, lethargic, due to the grief they were experiencing when the husband/father figure went into a nursing home.

Neither the wife or son had been able to adjust happily to the new home dynamic despite having a close relationship. This was compounded by the son having to have major surgery and the mother losing her job.

Even a year after the husband’s admission to the nursing home, the son’s surgery and the mother’s loss of employment, all three were still struggling to accept the new status quo. All three were grieving in different ways and this resulted in numerous arguments with emotions running high, particularly between the mother and son. Both became exhausted and fell into a state of lethargy.

Then, three days ago, a plan was devised. Each day, the mother and son would write down a 3-point shortlist for the following day. This was done in a special notebook, almost like a contract. There would be one task that required both (we called that ‘mutual’), one task for the son, and one task for the mother.

The beauty of the shortlist is that it is ‘doeable'(is that a word?)

Okay, tongue out of cheek now – this is working, so watch this space!



When my book about Alzheimer’s disease and storying was published (this is not a plug, so I am deliberately not providing a link), I handwrote a little letter to Oprah Winfrey on a special card, and wrapped the note, and my freshly published book, into a package and snail-mailed it to the address on Oprah’s website.

At the time, Oprah was promoting books she liked via her bookclub so I was rather hoping she would make me instantly famous and I kept waiting for her phonecall to me. So, when I received a letter from Oprah, my excitement was huge! But when I opened the letter it was from one of Oprah’s personelle and it expressed gratitude for my gift but implied that my generosity might be better served if I targetted more needy people (of course it didn’t say that, exactly, but that was the gist of how I read it).

Well, that was a very good lesson in humility (which I was already pretty good at anyway), and it taught me a massive thing about laughter, about laughing at myself and about dealing with seemingly dashed hopes.

I sometimes wonder where that copy of my book is. I have a little fantasy that it is on Oprah’s coffee table somewhere and one day she might pick it up and read a bit. You never know! I have enormous admiration and respect for Oprah Winfrey; her honesty, achievements and generosity are all part of the aura of her legacy and her presence.

I just want her to love me back a bit – just a little bit!