March 1st and it is time to share with my readers the results for our February Comments for a Cause and reveal the new Cause for March.
This post is a little longer than I normally share but stick with it to the end. It is worth it. Trust me on this one. Or read part and come back later. Just don’t miss out on some wonderful writing at the end.
February is all about love and I love that the cause for the month was to help raise money for Cupid’s Undie Run which does major fundraising for The Children’s Tumor Foundation.
The Mason City, Iowa group was ridiculously successful and at last count raised over $81,000 . The national website shows that 3.5 million has been raised and that is a lot of dough going for a good cause. I am happy to share that Chris and I will be making a donation of $160.00 to help with research and more because of your comments this month. Thank you so much to each one of you who has taken the time to comment.
Blogging is such a unique thing because it has the ability to connect the person with others who have a passion and gift for writing. Several years ago I connected with a really great blogger Rara who blogs at Rarasaur. Now I simply can not say enough about this woman. She is amazing. She has one of the most generous hearts that I have ever seen and she is a writer who has words that move me with every single post. I want you to check out her story and the best place to start is by clicking here.
One of the things that you will find out if you click around on her blog is that she was incarcerated and this month’s Comments for a Cause is something that she highlighted in a post and I absolutely loved the idea. Rara shared that The Women’s Prison Book Project was a lifesaver while she was in prison. I can not imagine the life of an inmate. Add to that life the fact that books were hard to access. The Women’s Prison Book Project puts books in the hands of inmates.
Since 1994, the Women’s Prison Book Project (WPBP) has provided women and transgender persons in prison with free reading materials covering a wide range of topics from law and education (dictionaries, GED, etc.) to fiction, politics, history, and women’s health. We are an all-volunteer, grassroots organization. We seek to build connections with those behind the walls, and to educate those of us on the outside about the realities of prison and the justice system.
This group does so much and their website is a great way to explore what all they do. You can check it out by simply clicking here. I was amazed at their dedication and their empathy for the women and transgender persons that they reach out to. These volunteers put their love in action and it is obvious that each volunteer is passionate about getting books in the hands of those that need them so desparately. Here is a short video that shares a bit of the importance of this group.
Rara related how important this group was to her during her time in prison and I knew it was the perfect place to share both my love of books and my love of Rara by making them the recipient of Comments for a Cause for March. Remember that for each comment on any blog post during March Chris and I will donate 50 cents (cap of $500) to The Women’s Prison Book Project. Go ahead and “like” their Facebook page as well by clicking here.
I asked Rara if she would write a little something to share with my readers today and she graciously obliged. The following selection is all about my lovely friend Rara. I hope you enjoy her words and I also hope you comment often this month to support a cause that helped her during a difficult period in her life. Thanks, Rara.
Sherlock Holmes dies.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle kills him off in the distanced manner of all murderers– as if he had the right.
But this story starts before that, when soft leather boots worn by a heart-heavy doctor first stand on a step outside 221 Baker Street. The day Dr. Watson finds a best friend, becomes a detective, and loses it all time and time again.
Or, if you take a moment to look up from those worn pages, the story starts before even that. The day my birkenstocks stood on teal carpet at 110 and a 1/2 Glassell. The day I found my best friend, became a wife, and lost it all.
It took more than a day– all stories seem to– but they blossom in a moment. A pair of feet, waiting for a journey, often finds one right under their feet.
You can start wherever you want.
My shoes were fire-resistant work boots, laced up to mid calf, black and leathery. I was standing on a fire engine, a nearly-vintage chartreuse apparatus, holding a chronicling of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, unaware that I had started a new journey at all.
I didn’t know it just then, but those shoes were worn by a woman who just lost the love of her life.
A death sounds like a story you can tell in a flash, a story that happens in the confines of a moment– but to people like myself and Dr. Watson, and probably you– we know stories are never ending, and constantly relived, and eternally built upon.
Every story is foundation for another.
We’re always wearing the feet we started with, even if the shoes change.
I’ll always be a reader, a wife, a widow, a fire fighter, an inmate, and a Sherlockian.
It’s a little strange to call yourself an inmate once you’re free, a Sherlockian when you’ve always been in love with Dr. Watson, and a wife once your husband dies…
but I am a storybook character at heart.
I am imprinted in my pages, written into my path. I wear the marks of re-reading, of second-guessing, and the damages of being open to strangers on the off chance they might become friends. I’m yellowed by time, mellowed by perception. I am stamped: Property of the Universe and Her Twists.
There is a similar seal stamped into the books in prison that originate from the Women’s Prison Book Project. I became familiar with it through my 438 days of incarceration.
It was months before I became a widow, almost a decade after I met my husband. I wore converse-like shoes in a size too big, and stood on a dusty field decorated only by women in bright orange. From my cell, I met a silly racoon named Rascal. His story was stamped Women’s Prison Book Project, and it transformed the dust into rolling farm fields. It turned our orange smocks into worn overalls.
Later, I followed that stamp to another story, one I shared with the seven other women in my cell. We passed the book around in timed measure, and the dew kissed hills of the Appalachians formed around our metal bunks, under our state-issued socks, inside our drought-suffering minds.
I memorized the stamp, like I memorized Sherlock’s address, like I memorized the hands of the man I married.
I married a man with magic hands– an artist, a good man, my best friend. A writer.
Isn’t that the luckiest story a reader could ever live?
But no story is just one day long. I went to jail for over a year and, while I was there, he died. I found out days later, in bits and pieces, through phone conversations filtered by strangers who only cared that I didn’t end my story just yet.
Wait till your shoes are elsewhere, they suggested. Somewhere that isn’t such a place of desperately-harvested misery. Somewhere that doesn’t keep a running tally of the number of stories it killed off, as if it had the right.
But my pages were gentler to me, as always. I found kindness. I found purpose. I found solace in the stamp that I recognized in my pages, the one that says I started in the universe, and I was cared for by it still.
Property of the Universe, and Her Wildly-Beautiful Not-Always-Obvious Twists.
I found peace in the ink stamp that marked my favorite character since childhood. I traced my fingers along the faded ink, on days when I felt like I was falling, and the Women’s Prison Book Project gave me a place to stand.
On the steps of 221 Baker street, where a man stands, waiting.
He thinks he’s waiting for an appointment, but we are readers, and we know he is waiting for his glorious journey to begin. He will become a detective, but he doesn’t know that yet. He will fall in a sort love with a man who tests that love at every turn.
Somewhere above the pages, a small girl will tell her big brother to read just that part over and over again. She’s in love with Dr. Watson, an unconditional forever love, but he’ll never know.
She will grow up and fall in love with a man who reminds her of him. A man with a golden moral compass, and an sense of incurable cynicism and uncrushable optimism. A man with more talent and human experience than most people can even see, let alone measure. But she will be a reader, and there’s no picture too big for her to understand, no word too small for her to feel. She will understand his widest dreams, and she will feel his smallest words, and he will let her read the edges of his character again and again.
That man will die, when she is not there to know how or why or when, and her tears will fall. They’ll topple through yellowed pages and memorized words, soaking Dr. Watson’s shoulders. He understands unconditional love, so it doesn’t wear him down. She lets the tears fall, and the words bare the weight of them.
In that moment, she is an inmate firefighter, standing on an old engine, but it wasn’t even two decades ago when she was just a little girl, hearing the stories leaked out of 221 Baker Street.
She will become a wife, a firefighter, a felon, an inmate, a techie, a small business owner, a blogger, a widow,
And through it all, the universe will cushion her steps with words so she can walk gently on the earth, and be treated gently in return. Every journey starts in her mind, and she watches as every path blossoms right under her feet, opening up like the pages of a novel.
No matter how many endings she faces, the story continues on, and the best parts are always there for the re-reading.
Isn’t that the luckiest story a reader could live?
145 CommentsLeave a comment
WOW! I can only say, WOW!
That is a good response . 🙂
Oh my. I will go read more of her.
I went to read. And I read and I read and I had to make myself stop reading because I’m supposed to be doing something else. But I know I’ll be back over there to read more. Thank you for sharing her.
Right? Isn’t she amazing? She is one of the absolute best writers I know and I am so happy you found your way over to check out her blog. Thanks, Dawn!
Huge fan! Books, newspapers, magazines, blogs… reading is necessary and to help those with the need to read, a labor of love. I live in constant fear that I’ll be stuck waiting somewhere with nothing to read. I find this terrifying.
I totally agree. I always have something with me to read and have piles of books and magazines everywhere. Reading is learning and it never should end. Everyone should be able to access books, don’t you agree?
Oh, the power of books. You must read Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse by Minnesota writer Faith Sullivan. It seems to tie in nicely with the topic here today of how books matter. It also focuses on strong women.
I will have to check this one out. Thanks for the link. I appreciate it!
Just got it on my Kindle. Thanks for the recommendation.
Truly a great cause.
Yes! Isn’t it? I love how I keep finding the perfect causes month after month!
You have a heart of gold.
[…] please, spread the word, because I can’t really right now. Read my story, if you have the time, and leave a comment to be another part of the […]
Thank you, Beth Ann, for sharing my words, and for supporting the WPBP. I’m so happy to when words manifest into something tangible. It’s like we’re fixing the world! *hugs* Thank you for the space and hope and the sunshine, wonderful lady. I love you! <3
Thank you for your words, Rara. You are an amazing person and I am thrilled to highlight a cause that is near and dear to your heart. Together we can make a difference!
I’m so happy to support this cause (and Rara in turn) by commenting on this post.
Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I love this cause, don’t you? It has Rara written all over it.
It certainly does. I thought I loved reading until I read her story. I had no concept of how important (vital? no word seems adequate)a book could be until she shared this.
I know. Her words really made me understand how much I take my access to books for granted.
Cyn, you’re wonderful, always. Thank you. <3
Thank you for donating to such a worth cause.
And, Ra, that might be the most beautiful piece you’ve ever written.
Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. And I agree. It is a beautiful piece of art that she gifted me with on her blog. Thank you and come back all month–it all counts!
I love the idea of Comment for a Cause. 🙂
Thanks! It is by far the best thing I have ever done on this blog!
Thank you, Goldy. I had a feeling you wold understand it. <3
I love that, “Meet you over there” thing! Well, that worked, didn’t it! Glad to comment for a great cause, and nice to meet you, Beth Ann!
Nice to meet you as well and thank you for taking the time and making the effort to come over and comment. It all counts. All month long. Any post. And as you can see I tend to ramble on a lot……
It worked, hurrah! :D. Thanks for giving into my notsosneaky plots and coming by, chica. <3
Haha! It did work. You are amazing. 🙂 And your followers agree.
I have just recently found Ra’s blog and I felt I was led there for a reason. For that and for her writing, I am truly grateful. This is such a wonderful cause. Not being able to access books.. well I just can’t imagine. I’ve all ready supported this cause and will continue to do so. Thank you for posting this and for donating. I am happy to find a new blog as well. <3 Take care!
I agree fully—I can not imagine not being able to have books to read anytime I want them. So yay to you for your donation already and by taking the time to come over and comment you are doing it again. It all counts–any post all month long so come back often! Thanks again!
Yayyyy, friendly faces everywhere. I’m thankful, for your already-support and your support again. 🙂
Thanks to all who help others go through life in a better way.
Thanks so much for stopping by!!!! I truly appreciate it! And I know that Rara and the recipients of those books do as well!
Yay, lovely to see you here. Thank you for popping by. 🙂
Rara sure has a way with words, slipping between stories and life, weaving her story with her love of story and the stories she loves. I followed her over here because I know it is a good cause, and I’m glad I did to read her wonderful post.
Isn’t her post fabulous? She is amazing and so many other people think so as well! Thank you! Come back anytime to share a comment or two. Great to “meet” you!
Nice meeting you too. I will most likely come back and poke around a bit when I have a little more time.
Please come back anytime!!!!
Thank you, Trent. For popping by and the kind words. 🙂 I’m grateful the stories I love do much let me slip into their pages. Its such a lovely place to rest. 🙂
I found you through Rara, with whom I’ve been blogging buddies for ages. She’s good people, Rara is.
And this is a worthwhile charity. Imagine life without books. I simply can’t.
I simply can’t imagine a life without books either. At all. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. We are all friends here and anyone who loves Rara is an exceptional friend. Come on back any time!
It didn’t seem right to say only “thud,” so to that I’ll add: this ^.
You are wonderful. Thank you so much for taking the time and coming over and I would have totally thought “thud” would have been adequate.
Thuds all around. <3
I think I ran into you both around the same time. It was a good year for me. 🙂
I’ve always known how important books are to me, but going without them was like losing a toolkit to life. I’m glad this is something we can fix. 🙂
Like losing oxygen …
I don’t do a whole heck of commenting, though I have been following Rara for some time now but felt compelled to comment here in support of the cause. 🙂
Less! Thank you so much for taking the time to click over and to leave a comment. I am so happy that you did and truly appreciate all of you who are taking the time and making the effort to support our Rara and the Women’s Prison Book Project as well. Thank you!
Commenting or not, I know you’re there, but in this case, I’m very thankful you left a word here… look at us go, making the world a little better. Yay us! <3
Your very first commenter had the exact words I felt: Wow….just wow. That is amazing writing, and I’m heading over to Rara’s to check out her blog. Wonderful cause you’ve selected for this month, too, Beth Anne.
Thanks, Dianna. I knew this one would be a huge hit with my regular readers and I am so excited to share Rara AND the Women’s Prison Book Project and I think I am right. She is amazing.
What a Great Site Beth Ann!
Thanks for the work you do in supporting others. I have seen all kinds of Bloggers supporting causes from time to time, but you’re a wonder. 🙂
RaRa is another Rare Rare one…it makes total sense you’re here together.
Mark, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by—–you are one of the good ones as well, I can just tell and I am thrilled to meet you. Thank YOU for stopping by and for supporting both Rara and this fabulous cause. Come back anytime. We are all family here. 🙂
RR, there’s nothing like Beth Ann’s place anywhere. I’m glad and so thankful for your visit. <3
If the Rarasaur tells me to go somewhere (assuming I’m reading the blogs that day, which isn’t a great assumption, but still…) I go. This is a great cause, and now I feel pressure to leave a great comment, but sadly, when I feel pressure to make a great comment, I usually produce something lame. Sorry.
Your comment was far from lame. Just showing up here to support Rara and this fabulous cause speaks volumes and I am thrilled to “meet” you. Thank you for taking the time and coming over AND leaving a comment.
You came over because you’re super, obviously. 🙂 Thank you, Cutter. <3
What an incredible piece of writing. I have visited Rara’s blog before and was so impressed. This is a perfect comments for a cause!
Darlene, she is so talented, isn’t she? I love her writing and her heart is so big. Thank you so much for your support of this project.
Beautiful, beautiful words, Sparkly One, and thank you always, for sharing the pieces of your story. As I say so often (yet now is perhaps, more fitting than most times) Bless your boots <3
Beth Anne, thank YOU for offering such a generous and wonderful method of supporting a HUGELY important organisation. You're one of life's Very Good People.
Thank you, Lizzi, for making the time to stop by and leave a comment. I am beyond thrilled to be sharing this organization with you this month and hope that it will be the best month yet for comments. Come back anytime all month to comment—I post 5 times a week usually so that’s a lot of things to comment on. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Lizzi!
Beth Ann is very definitely one of of life’s Very Good People. Comments for a Cause is one of my favorite things in there ‘sphere, and you know (probably more than anyone) how much I love around this world of ours. 🙂 Much love, Lizzi, thank you for popping by.
It’s wonderful. I may be new to it, but I’m IN 🙂
Yay! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!
Always happy to see support for Ra — thanks for helping with this cause.
Thank YOU for stopping by–it is so great to meet all of Ra’s friends! I know you guys are all out there and now I can check out your blogs. Thank you so much for taking the time.
Leigh, you’re a beautiful soul… which of course I probably tell you too often, but it remains true. 🙂 Thank you for popping by. I don’t know why I thought of it, but Beth Ann wrote this piece about a man named Dancin’ Dave and I think you might enjoy it. I’ll include the link here, for when you have time; http://bachiles.wpengine.com/rest-in-peace-dancin-dave/ Thank you again. 🙂 <3
Loved that post — thanks for the link!
Thank you for taking the time to pop over and comment. Thank you so much!
I don’t think something lovely can ever be said too many times btw… Thanks 🙂
For Rara’s words: Thud.
I don’t comment often, but I had to do something to help support this cause. I am always in the middle of reading something. If I finish a book and don’t immediately have another one lined up I feel lost. I can’t imagine not having access to books.
Thank you so much for taking the time to stop over, read AND comment. That is amazing and I am so grateful. I am so hoping that we top the cap this month on our donation. That would totally make my day!
Thank you, lovely, I appreciate you taking the time to comment in the midst of everything going on from your side of the screen. I appreciate your readership! 🙂
I am always happy to follow Rara’s writing wherever it may lead. But when it leads to Comments for a great Cause and a blog full of books and tea it’s a good day!
Yay! Welcome to It’s Just Life, Jessie! I am so happy you are here! I can’t wait to go check out everyone else’s blogs who have taken the time to stop by and comment!!! Thank you so much!
Yes, come on by my blog we’ll have some tea together while you are there! 🙂
I will pop on over! Put the kettle on!
It’s a great day! 🙂 I know you’re not on FB, Jessie, but you should see all of Beth Ann’s tea adventures. It’s awesome. Oh, you’re both on Instagram, you could connect there. <3
Ha! It makes me laugh that even as you take a break from such things you make sure to hook the rest of us up! 🙂 (And thanks, I’ve found her on instagram!)
Rara is amazing that way, isn’t she?
Thank you for this. I’m beyond words.
Isn’t she lovely? Thank you for stopping by and leaving glittery sprinkles of support!
I’m imagining myself like Rip Taylor throwing glitter all over this wonderful website. That works for me.
Glitter is welcome here. In mass quantities!
An amazing, amazing story, Rara. You are completely beautiful. ?
Thank you, Lynette. I am so thankful to be out in this world with you, once again. 🙂
Lynette–thank you so much for taking the time to stop by. You are a great supporter of our beautiful Rara.
You are a person of beauty Ra, inside and out. Amazing words here. And thank you Beth Ann for your amazing help with the Women’s Prison Book Project. It is people like you that make the world sing and rejoice! xoxo
Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I am truly amazed at how wonderful all of Rara’s friends are and then again—I am not because she is so amazing as well. Come back anytime!
I can’t imagine being without books. I cannot imagine a world without our Rara xx <3
I agree!!!! Thanks so much for stopping by!
Thank you, Lyn. I’m so glad to be home, surrounded by friends, and books. 😀
Happy to comment and support this cause and of course Rara.
Thank you so much for stopping over. I am loving meeting all of Rara’s friends. You guys rock!
I appreciate it, Di, very very muchly. You’re in my heart!
Ra, such a beautiful post. Beth Ann, thank you for doing what you do.
Thank you, Kim, for reading, and for stopping by with a cause comment. 🙂 The way you and Beth Ann enjoy life always reminds me of each other, I think you’ll enjoy it here. 😀
[…] how much I love Kiva? Well I do. A lot. I even made it a recipient in the first year of doing Comments for a Cause because I believe in what they do so much. I am a part of several teams and the family team I am […]
I read Rara more often than I let on, she is a spirit that speaks to me. This cause is also one that I support with my heart, it is one that should be shouted from rooftops. Thank you for bringing it forward.
I totally agree and I am so glad to have you stop by and comment to help this amazing cause. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Thank you for adding your rawr to ours! I am thankful for you.
What a special place to be, Ra. Thank you for bringing me here, so that I could love with you and re-read and re-read as the tears fall on Dr. Watson’s shoulders and be found here with you all in the pages and stories of the Universe’s unconditional love. Thank you for the space to comment and a great month for doing so. 🙂 Much Love, Ka
Thank you, Ka. Your comments are precious and I’m sorry it so often takes me so long to get to them. We need to get together for tea and stories of the universe sometime soon. <3
Rarasaur! I love you. I’d love to get together. June looks like a month for me where I may be able to take a road trip. We shall see <3 It's after my trip to PA and Europe and whole lot of woah. No worries on comment replies, anytime and anywhere is a good time and place 🙂 Especially while we add up March comments for a cause here. 🙂
Great to hear from you, Ka
July 24th is my first truly free Sunday, after parole. I think I might celebrate and I’d love to have you there. <3
REALLLLY? It took a minute for that to register. I’d love to – what a celebration, right?! I’ll talk with the Mr. and check our calendar. 😀
I finally feel like it’s not too soon to count those chickens, :D. No more parole after July 18th! Yay! Oh, and you (and Beth Ann) were mentioned in my most recent post, btw.
Yay to baby chicks! <3
Thanks for the head's up. I was fortunate to be able to check my reader and your lovely picture attracted me to your most recent post. (I also checked out Beth Ann's "Dancing Dave" post and commented.) I'm all-vibing with you right now, as we are conversing and such. Yay to freedom! After my finals and then my comprehensive exams, I'm taking a trimester off to travel (as mentioned). Then, it's back to school. In between all that, I'd love to visit with you again, Ra – and to celebrate! YAY Freedom is bliss. GO Beth Ann!
As always, I’m late to the party. But thank you. Beautiful. Generous. Perfect.
And as always I’m even later. We’re on Virgo Standard Time. 😉
Thank you for being here, Kate.
[…] get passionate about Comments for a Cause. That is the one thing on this blog that brings me the most joy. If I can bring to light to […]
I have no words at the moment, but a few tears. Some that fall, and some that stay inside, swallowed by the shared imagery. Ra, my sister-friend. Know that I hold this close to my heart and head. While never having been an inmate, you know my passion for freedom. Having now twice worn the moniker of widowhood, we share that prick of pain. And a love of books? Well, no more needs saying. Hugs, as always.
We found each other, AR. Isn’t that the luckiest story two friends could ever live? 😀
This is beautiful, though I don’t believe this word quite encompasses all that this piece of writing is.
My words pale in comparison to Rara’s. I understand what you are saying. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. You are always welcome here so come back anytime.
Bard, thank you. For everything. <3
You are welcome. Thank you for your words and love.
Hello Beth, I also found my way here from Ra’s blog. She’s an amazing writer and a truly wonderful human being so any recommendation from her is a high one.
I love the Comments for a Cause idea – well done you! I’m glad to see such a worthy cause (WPBP) featured this month and will be a regular reader going forward.
Thanks for having me?
Dan, Thank you so much for stopping by! Ra is amazing and I am meeting some of the best people that she sent over my way which I really appreciate. The Comments for a Cause is such a great and fun thing to do. I keep finding amazing causes like WPBP and it makes me happy to highlight them. Thank you for stopping by and come back often!
Dan, thank you for coming this way, and for reading. I appreciate it so very much. <3
[…] Another sure sign of spring is Saturday night when we spring forward and change our clocks. It’s coming, folks. I am telling you. What are you most excited about this spring? Don’t forget to comment for Comments for a Cause. […]
[…] Don’t forget to leave a comment –every comment this month means a 50 cent donation to the Women’s Prison Book Project as detailed here. […]
[…] Of course I think this pot deserves a nice green tea, don’t you? Thanks for stopping by today. Don’t forget to Comment for a Cause. […]
[…] you have any regular visitors to your yard that you name? Don’t forget to Comment for a Cause. It all […]
[…] http://bachiles.wpengine.com/comments-cause-books/ […]
What a great idea! 🙂
I also support the Women’s Prison Book Project. ???
Thanks for stopping by! I really appreciate it!
It’s a great thing you’re doing, I wish you the best! 🙂
Hurrah! Thank you, Oscar!!
[…] forget to Comment for a Cause. and check out my book giveaway […]
I have been following my little Rara for some time and love to watch her continue to grow and flower against all odds. She is fueled by love and is like a rocket for all that know her. <3
Our Rara is amazing….no doubt about it.
Oh lovely, so glad you’re here, but of course you would be. You’re generous with your love and I am grateful for it. 🙂
[…] way to start sharing some of what I have in my collection. Don’t forget to comment for Comments for a Cause and there is still time to enter my book giveaway by clicking […]
Another enthusiastic comment for the Women’s Prison Book Project!
Hurrah! It is good to see you here, Alison. Thank you for taking the time. <3
Thank you for stopping by! We all love this project, don’t we?
[…] Prison Book Project. If you want to read more about why I chose this amazing ministry simply click here to go the my March 1st blog post that will tell you all about the incredible work that this […]
[…] might remember this blog post where Ra wrote so eloquently for me about the importance of allowing prisoners access to books. […]