Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Gratitude Project - Project Story

I recently read Margaret Atwood’s novel “The Year of the Flood” which depicts a fictional environmentalist religious cult, God’s Gardeners, operating in Canada some decades into our future. I could speak the praises of this thought-provoking novel, and indeed of Atwood, but maybe another time. One of the many bizarre habits of this remarkably admirable and weird little fictional cult, is their calendar. Every day of the year for them is a saint day, holiday or feast day, but their choices are typically environmentalists or biologists, like a strange mix of early Christianity and 20th century environmentalism. For example, Saint Rachel Carson Day is named after the patron saint of all birds who was sainted for warning the world of the dangers of pesticide.

Now, I’m not really a biologist, or a novel writer, but the project of dedicating each day to some hero of the past well it niggled at me. I’ve thought about it off and on for the last several months. Eventually, I decided that I would try to decide on one person or event or organization to be grateful for each day. Part of my goal was to cultivate my own sense of gratitude, as I can be a, well, a bitter old cuss. But as I’ve actually begun to work on the project, I’ve found it also a kind of interesting way of re-telling old stories that deserve to be told again.

I’ve been working on it privately since May 26th, but haven’t shared any of my decisions or rationales with anyone other than my wife. But I think, I’m going to attempt to be a little more public about it. Here’s my goal, I’m going to try to pick some person or event, for each day of the year, that was born or died, or happened, or had some important link to the date. Someone or something that is important to me, or I’m particularly grateful for, or I think deserves to be raised up a bit. And I’m going to tell their story in my words, leaning heavily on Wikipedia as I often do. Each entry will also have a section to remind myself what I’m grateful for it. Feel free to follow my progress, or suggest other folks or stories for a day. Obviously these are my own choices, guided by my interests and tastes in philosophy, politics, art, and so on. As a flick of the hat to Atwood’s book, I’ll even call some of those I especially admire “saints,” so long as they are dead.

I'll also back date the posts to the day they are about, even if I wrote them a little early or late, or didn't post them until today.

1 comment:

  1. I went to see Bletchley Park recently and the story of his genius, and subsequent betrayal by anti-homosexual sentiment (and law) at the time was frankly shocking. Thank you for the fitting memorial of a Saint Alan Turing's Day. He is remembered well at Bletchley Park. What an amazing place. They've created a complete reproduction of the code-breaking computer in a portakabin using the original pieces scattered by the break-up of Bletchley by Churchill. A wonderful gang of elderly men and women fighting hard to keep the story alive!