How to Live: A Program of 12 Concurrent Steps (sample)

for Jim Milstead and Judy Teresa, friends and mentors

Over the decades, I’ve embraced or fought off despair
at various times. When I realized finally that more than
anything I needed a program of 12 concurrent steps I could
use in learning how to live, Jim and Judy were there. Without
telling me what to do or how to live, they are unintentional
examples and simply show me.

Each concurrent step is a key element to success. I work
on these continuously, and focus on practice and results.

Live fearlessly and unapologetically,
but learn how and know when to say “I’m sorry.”
Be loving and fierce, and charm friends and others.
Pay attention and be attentive.
Don’t be remote or overly talkative.
Be mindful and engage intelligence for good.
Have a deep curiosity – one unending, like the wind.
Read widely, take classes, and attend seminars.
Be generous and know when to listen and offer hugs.
Foster hope and love for animals and children;
engage loved ones and mentor friends.
Write furiously and expansively.
When rage is called for, channel it productively.
Keep active and keep on trying;
don’t fold under pressure and never give up.

When the curtain begins to fall, I will do what I imagine
they will do: bow gracefully and exit with only words
of gratitude and love on my lips.

Andrew Shattuck McBride

Published in the 2012 Kumquat Challenge chapbook, a very nice chapbook!

I’d like to thank all of the people involved in conducting the Kumquat Challenge this year. A few of the people include Sally Sheedy, Ara Taylor, Linda Lambert, and Heather Williams. Great job!

Each year several staff members of Whatcom Community College organize the Kumquat Challenge. It is a challenge to write a poem using ten words chosen by these staff members.

This year’s set of words is as follows: charm, never, wind, element, fold, remote, curtain, keep, foster, and step.

While this contest is open only to people associated with WCC (e.g., staff members and students), incorporating a specific set of ten words in a poem is a great mental stretching exercise. Try it!

Blessings to all, Andy

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About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
This entry was posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Notes on the Literary Life, Samples, Transformation. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to How to Live: A Program of 12 Concurrent Steps (sample)

  1. Lisa Stillman says:

    Love your 12-step program!

  2. Hi Lisa, thank you so much. Thank you for visiting my blog!
    I owe a great deal to Jim and Judy!
    Blessings to you and yours, Andy

  3. What a lovely tribute to these two people. It sounds like they live good lives and teach well by their example.

    And viva the Kumquat Challenge!

    • Thank you Jennifer. Jim and Judy are amazing people and writers, too! They do.
      The Kumquat Challenge is going strong. Very nice chapbook, too. I’m so glad I could finally participate this year!
      All the best, Andy

  4. Out of the spam bin:
    “I like this blog its a master peace!” [sic] ~ O.W.
    Well, it’s NOT a masterpiece, but actually a work-in-progress!
    Blessings to all, Andy

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