Hallmark loves me

Adventurous living through calendar manipulation and time travel! It’s been almost a week again since I got out my electronic pencil and scrawled a notation. Maybe this new condition of suddenly missing six or seven days comes after the 4th anniversary of one’s 29th birthday? I mean, I’ve just last evening noted that I’d completely disregarded next week on my calendar. I’ve been making all appointments for the week of March 5 instead of next week, and I’m horribly paranoid that some of these were supposed to be for “next Wed” rather than, how I have them marked, March 7.

I’ve been knitting and reading and watching movies and generally forgetting to renew our insurance or purchase a long distance plan. I’ve forgotten to run a proper grocery trip (with a list) for three weeks running, and quick trips to the grocery at rush hour will lead to the demise of hurried men in suits if any of them indicate that their four items are somehow more important than my four items – I am just as hurried and tired as you, Mr. Powersuit, and prone to violent mood swings when I’d rather be eating this lasagna rather than standing here waiting to purchase it, so step away from my place in line, buddy. I can’t seem to remember what day it is, what plans I’ve made, or where I left my scarf however, I’m not really sweating these smaller things. I’ve finally given up on the return of our “free flying” pet cockatiel after the -18 C* cold snap, and have vowed to keep to 4+ legged pets in the future since obviously even clipped wings can’t protect a flying thing from a blizzard. In summary (ha!), with all the forgotten things, missed tasks, and vigils completed, I’m waiting for order to return on its own because I’m actually having quite a splendid time in the chaos. Really.

The Poisonwood BibleI have finished the first of many Pulitzer prize winning/nominated novels (#20 on my list). The first one up was “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver, sent to my door by the lovely M&C. I read through weeks ago and it’s still hanging out in my mind, kicking up Congo dust, tempting me with the disappearance things familiar, circling with dire warnings of a future built from inflexibility and arrogance. The book made me uncomfortable, gave me solace, and also took me far away, which all things that I love in a book (as all gypsies do, you see). I can highly recommend it, even if it was on O.prah’s booklist.

Here’s the description from Barbara Kingsolver’s website:

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it–from garden seeds to Scripture–is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

See? So yummy.


In news from late last week, Hallmark has come out with a new line of cards “Journeys” (Thanks DD). I went to the website, read a few cards, and bawled. That’s what we do in my cubicle in the morning – you should stop by sometime.

The new line lists health tests, surgery and chemo, coming out, addressing addiction, facing infertility, pregnancy loss, facing problems that come with an aging parent, divorce, job loss, leaving a bad situation and depression. Situations now common enough for a multi-national corporation to recognize.

Some are tut-tutting Hallmark for cashing in on others’ pain, corporate greed, and turning human contact into a mechanized purchase of sympathy. But – that’s what greeting card companies do. Sure, a personal note, letter, or hand holding is often far superior to a cookie-cutter card, but sometimes anything is better than silence. I understand that not everyone knows what they should say or do, or don’t know that speaking from the heart is the perfect thing. Sometimes, even I, Princess of Wordiness, really needs a professional greeting card writer to give me a push in the right direction. I’m completely ok with Hallmark supplying the words for people who can’t find the words or ways to express themselves.

I’m going to choose to love this new line of commercial emotion for a very simple reason: all the situations in the “Journeys” line are now acknowledged as being worth a card.

* You know, I can hear you Saskatchewanians snickering across the internets that -18 is what I’m calling a cold snap. I’ve grown weak from these chinook winds and those years spent on the coast. Yes, your scoffing is completely valid.


4 thoughts on “Hallmark loves me

  1. I loved Poisonwood Bible. I don’t know if you’ve read any of Kingsolver’s earlier books (Pigs in Heaven, The Bean Trees) but they are beautiful in a “Where the Heart Is” kind of way, but funnier and more vibrant. I thoroughly enjoyed them and would recommend them highly for reading on the beach. But with Poisonwood Bible, she absolutely rocked me. Truly an amazing piece of work. Her more recent stuff is good too, but that one was the best.

    I’m grateful for the Hallmark cards. Infertility and pregnancy loss are still a unspoken pain in our society. Any public acknowlegement of that pain, as commercial as it is, is good to see.

  2. Glad to know that you enjoyed Kingsolver, and also happy to know that Hallmark is acknowledging the diversity of human experience. Some people don’t know what to say until they’ve read it somewhere else, and I’m OK with that.

  3. Color me conflicted on the Hallmark cards. Yes, sometimes it’s hard to know what to say, and I’ll give them points for helping those people out. But there’s something about being so specific about someone’s pain that makes me feel really really uncomfortable. I’d rather receive a blank card with just the words “I’m sorry” inside. But I get that is only my reaction, and this may be helpful to many other people. Gah. I don’t know what I’m saying.

  4. You know, I love Kingsolver, truly I do… but Poisonwood Bible – though I liked a lot about it – bugged me. I felt like she was a bit too pushy with what she wanted the reader to think and feel about the situation in Congo. I felt like I would have drawn the same conclusions and didn’t appreciate being force fed – at least I felt force fed.

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