Chai and Chi

Best chai house in Portland? Tea Chai Te (NW 23rd)

One of the most interesting parts of working in cafés is the opportunity to overhear conversations. This afternoon, the background “music” for my pot of eggnog chai (total yum!) was a Portlander who was fretting over how badly his “chi” was affecting his ability to grow his business. If he could just get his chi in line (I’m picturing a whip with a barbed end) all would be well.

The guy across the table from Portlander #1 must have been a life/work coach. As Portlander #1 bemoaned his pitiful chi and complained about everyone he’d ever worked with, Portlander #2 kept trying to redirect him to the need to shift his thinking so that his business could grow. You see, Portlander #2 (and me, and everyone else within earshot) could have easily told Portlander #1 that his chi was suffering from cause-and-effect (or to keep the Eastern vibe: the law of karma). Cause: act superior to others. Effect: they won’t want to work with you. Effect: your business shrinks rather than growing. Cause: spend lots of time worrying about your chi. Effect: you put less time into your work. Effect: your business doesn’t grow.

Stinky Chi Man (not to be confused with Jon Scieszka’s wonderful book, The Stinky Cheese Man) isn’t the only one who finds it hard to smell the cause affecting his own chi. Chi is, after all, energy. Life energy. It is affected by every choice we make. Choose to whine away your time? Stinky chi, man! Choose to create hysterically funny stories that kids love? Scieszka knows how success smells. Not too stinky!

Today, put some of your life’s energy toward writing. And to balance out what the Stinky Chi Man was spewing, consider writing something funny. (Should you need an incentive, keep in mind that almost all editors are actively searching for humor all of the time . . . and they almost never get it.)


About kimgriswell

I'm an author, an editor, a writing coach, and a workshop leader. I spend my days asking questions and looking (or listening) for answers, and thinking up ideas for new stories to write for my favorite audience: kids! I guess I'm just about as curious as Rufus Leroy Williams III, the intrepid pink hero of my picture book series from Sterling Publishing, is persistent. Did you know that in 5000 B.C. people blamed 'tooth worms' for their cavities? Neither did I until I developed THE HAUNTED OUTHOUSE for the Bathroom Reader's Institute. Turns out, ancient dentists filled the wormholes with metals like gold or silver. Except the Aztecs. They used a mix of iron, water, and belly-button lint. As you'll discover by reading RUFUS GOES TO SCHOOL, RUFUS GOES TO SEA, and RUFUS BLASTS OFF! I believe that reading opens up worlds for young people. Books did that for me, and I hope my books will do the same for today's kids.
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2 Responses to Chai and Chi

  1. Kathy Doherty says:

    Who moved my chi?!

    I recently introduced a fourth grade girl to Jon Sciezka’s books. Together we read his biography. We learned Sciezka received rejection letters early in his career from editors who said his books were too sophisticated for kids. Ha!


  2. kimgriswell says:

    Reblogged this on Kim T. Griswell: Bespectacled & Bookish and commented:

    Continuing the new “tradition” of learning from myself by re-reading past blogs I would encourage all of you to go back and read your own writing from a couple of years back. Amazingly, when enough time passes the writing is so far removed from you as the creator that you can truly read it as a reader, rather than the writer. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn from this process. It’s the biggest reason I encourage writing students to put their work in the (metaphorical these days) drawer and put some time between themselves and the work before they pull it out again. If you do that, you’ll be able to read it as a reader and critique it like an editor!


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