“Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man (woman) or a nation” Oscar Wilde

 One night a few days ago, as Amelia heated a skillet filled with things for dinner. While stirring, she thought about all the new skills she has acquired since starting a blog. Amelia can navigate the act of writing, keep notes and lists about ideas that resonate in an ongoing journalist method, and she is practicing and writing more because of the blog, which helps her hone her craft. She can keep files and records archived for the novel, and manage and navigate all the blog dashboard workings and data. This represents many new skills!

Amelia is also realizing how manageable and methodical she can be when navigating the character assassination and the panic fear factor. (Can this go on her resume somehow?) Amelia finds that, with time, it seems she learns more easily/readily about people lying about her; she navigates the political posturing with less defensiveness; and even in a negative climate (one full of knee jerk reactions not issue based reactions), Amelia is able to engage in a practice of good government, ethical practice, and progressive change. Amelia realizes that the act of writing may in fact be even more significant to her personal growth and to public change than she ever could have imagined.

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” Mark Hanson

“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man (woman) who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” C.S. Lewis

In addition to blogging, Amelia can sew, make art, strum the guitar, sip and cook, garden, read, grow children, cut firewood, do important thinking while driving, and ride a horse.  All this “everything” is about living; and Amelia values the simplicity and demands of these simple acts and engages in them with an open mind (mostly) and an open heart (generally).   In Frelinghuysenfolly, Amelia’s utopia includes visions of self-sufficiency, community centered sufficiency, and living authentically. Then, there is an epiphany. Only the slightest shift in perception mark our differences, and the difference between authentic and unauthentic is the simple matter of what you do with your intent. Is your intent motivated for your own need and development, or the needs and development of humanity? Amelia has committed internally, to pose herself these questions as part of writing each part of her novel and encourages the same questions be asked by those governing her town about their township work. 

Since raised in rural Maine, Amelia knows directly that it is good to live in a town and watch the town for 6-8 years before actually becoming involved. A general rule of thumb in small Maine towns is if you have not been in town for 8-10 years then “Ain’t been here long enough to know for sure.” Observe; get to know. I can guarantee a truth here- first hand observation and exposure to a person or an issue is the best way to assess and make good decisions about a situation; doing so on hyperbole or rumor will never get you even remotely close to the truth.

Since moving to Frelinghuysenfolly, Amelia and familial crew built a building, worked on the restoration of cultural significant buildings, administrated a range of art programs, and started programs at the school, as well as volunteers in all facets of her community when she can. All these actions enable experience and observation that assists in understanding where she lives. Is it not an act of volunteerism simply to make the commitment to go to town meetings and pay attention to local government? Hers is a world directed by doing, not by undoing, and she utters this hoping to motivate the engagement of others.

Amelia reminds herself daily that “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Sigmund Freud said, “What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books.” To which Amelia adds, “If certain people in power had the ability to unplug her internet, she is sure they would take that step in a heartbeat, but since they can’t burn her, burn her writings, or unplug the internet, she will just keep making true observations and progress.”

In closing I would like to quote an elected official speaking at this week’s town meeting.

In reference to a meeting that was on the agenda months ago, but had not been discussed again, Amelia asked, “What happened at that meeting?”  The answer from an elected official? “I think I was there.” 

Do we know what happened at that meeting as a result of asking this question? No. But we at least learned what is going to happen next.