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50 for 50 Day 50: Thanks! and a quiz

July 6, 2011

The place to relax at Casa Marbella. We ate breakfast here, played cards, wrote, drank wine with Roberto.
Where I want to sit and work on my novel. Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Ok, so here we are. Day 50 of this crazy journey, and my 50th birthday. Who knew I’d get to be a half-century old and still feel like myself? Weird, it is.

Who knew I’d be able to write 50 posts in a row on a schedule? Not me! I mean, it isn’t exactly climbing Everest, but it just isn’t something I have attempted or wanted to attempt before.

People kept asking me about what I was going to do for my 50th post. Ok, maybe 3 people asked. It may come as a surprise to you (especially if you don’t know me well) that I didn’t really have a Plan For That. Foresight is not my strongest point (but on the other hand, I’m generally excellent at living in the moment!)

The other day, my friend Laurie from Laurie Writes asked me which charity I would choose for her “friend” to donate to. Being as dense as a 1970s vegetarian nutloaf, I asked what issues her friend was into, at which point she admitted she was planning a donation for my birthday. D’oh!

I had to go back and look at the list of 49 charities. It was daunting. The list looked longer than I had imagined it would. So many needs – how to pick just one? What is most important?

I finally took a deep breath and picked WriteGirl, a writing mentorship program for young women.

It doesn’t address the most pressing needs (I’d argue water and food come first) or the people in the world who are worst off. It doesn’t solve a tangible problem.

But I have been in the room with the mentors and girls as we all worked on our writing together, and I can say this: it brings magic into the world. It provides the writers involved – both the girls AND the mentors – with a bright clear path to better, braver writing, more joy and a world where possibilities sparkle and shine.

Hyperbole? No, I don’t think so. Something amazing happens when 140 women and girls get together and work hard on writing and cheer for one another. It is a banquet for the soul, and I wish every writer could have the experience. (I wrote a post about it a while back, when I could go to workshops, before I moved too far away).

The girls who go through WriteGirl are all bright, but they aren’t necessarily the girls who are headed to college before they become mentees. They attend some of the largest, toughest, most overcrowded urban Los Angeles high schools. So far, every girl who has gone through the program has gone to college.

WriteGirl introduces them to the idea that their words can influence people, make them a living, and bring them joy. And in return, the girls remind the mentors of what it was like to be young women writers whose talent hadn’t been smooshed down by editors and deadlines and paychecks – writers for whom the page is a playground of possibility. This is a priceless exchange.

Oh, and another thing? Every year, the program produces a book with writing in it by all of the girls and most of the mentors, so each girl leaves the program a published writer. Cool!

So…if you want to help the world, donate to any of the charities on my list, or any other charity you know is doing good work. But if you want me to pick one for you to honor my 50th birthday, I vote for WriteGirl.

A big thanks for playing along for the past weeks. I’m amazed that anyone would keep reading, and I appreciate those who did. My blog readers are the cherry on the sundae of my life. I’m grateful for each of you.

OK – now for a quiz. The winner gets to designate which of the 49 charities they’d like $50 donated to. AND $30 in iTunes gift cards. In the event of a tie, the winner will be drawn at random. And since these are random questions, extra points are given for creativity. Hey, it’s my contest.

Random Crap About Suebob: 10 Questions. I don’t think you can look these up anywhere, so wild guesses will suffice.
1. What floral scent do I hate? (not Patchouli. I don’t think Patchouli is even a flower. I think it is the smell of Satan’s toejam).
2. What vegetable would be served at Suebob’s last meal?
3. If I could have tickets to any event, what would it be?
4. My favorite color?
5. How much does it say I weigh on my driver’s license?
6. What breed of dog do I call Goldie most often? (her nickname)
7. Favorite san serif font that will out me as hopelessly stuck in the 1980s?
8. Favorite cellist?
9. Where am I going on my next train trip?
10. How old is Goldie?

  1. July 6, 2011 21:39

    Hey, happy birthday, pretty lady! Your celebration has been inspiring– thank you for spreading goodness into the world. Here’s to another 50, even better than the first!

    • July 7, 2011 05:54

      Thanks, beautiful. I’m hoping to make the world a better place for the next generation…by the way, how’s that next generation coming along?

  2. ktphop permalink
    July 6, 2011 23:19

    I think we need to start a movement to get 50 comments on this post. Because that would satisfy my weird little control-freak neatnik problem.

    Happy birthday!

    • July 7, 2011 05:51

      So far only 23. But if I comment on every one, that’s 46….

  3. July 7, 2011 04:58

    What a great idea this is!


  4. Norah permalink
    July 7, 2011 06:43

    I suck at quizzes but I do want to say Happy Birthday! I hope it was as memorable as you are. I have learned so much from your Blog, thank you! And thanks for the great list of wonderful organizations.🙂

    • July 14, 2011 07:40

      Well, it was a pretty silly quiz LOL. Thanks for reading!

  5. July 7, 2011 07:51

    Such a great thing you’re doing Suebob. I hope you had an amazing birthday!

    • July 14, 2011 07:40

      Thanks, beautiful. I was just fondly remembering you & Sarah singing by the pool in San Jose.

  6. July 8, 2011 06:32

    Here from Busy Mom’s blog to wish you a Happy Birthday (belated as this is) and to say, WOW! Congratulations on completing your 50 posts. What an awesome way to celebrate — off to read the rest, after I grab a second cup of coffee, of course!

    • July 14, 2011 07:39

      Thanks, Liz. I love me some Busy Mom, too.

  7. Lisa permalink
    July 8, 2011 08:30

    Happy Birthday!

    • July 14, 2011 07:38

      Thank you. It was great. And when you turn 50, that is saying something!

  8. July 8, 2011 21:22

    Happy Birthday, Suebob! I love this idea, and that you completed it. And there are SO many wonderful organizations out there. I’m glad you picked one for the arts as it were. Food and water and safety and shelter are paramount. But man does not live by bread alone, we need to feed our spirits as well.

    • July 14, 2011 07:37

      I spend a lot of time thinking about the things that feed our spirits – I’m always amazed that people will fight and die for art, poetry, music, fashion and beauty. It’s pretty cool.

  9. stacy permalink
    July 11, 2011 21:34

    lavender, optima, yo-yo ma. what were the other questions?

  10. July 12, 2011 13:14

    Loved this. Fantastic pick!

  11. July 14, 2011 12:26

    So where are the quiz answers? How can I improve next time if there are no answers??!

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