b ~ Politic, cautious, and meticulous;

3LittleWords (Small)


When Elizabeth Gilbert was young

her mother made her practice

selling door-to-door

by standing outside their house

and knocking.

Each time her mom would pretend

to be someone else;

creating new scenarios,

waiting to see how

Elizabeth would react.

Helping her to be brave enough

to talk to strangers–

to convince them

that they wanted

what she had to offer.


Now she says those games with her mom

served her well.

They helped her get a job

as an adult.

They paved the way

for the tough parts

later on.

Making it easier

to put pen to paper

and write her memoirs

and the novels.


When I was little

I used to do practice interviews

in bed before I drifted off to sleep.

I would hold my stuffies in my arms,

the pretend microphone in my hand,

and answer any questions the crowds had for me.

I think I wanted to be famous.


As I got older I would often

pretend to be at a job interview.

While in the car I would pass the time

by conjuring up sample questions.

I hoped the more I practiced,

the calmer and more competent I would

be when the real thing came along.


I would pose this question:

“What three words best describe yourself?”

For the longest time my answer was:

creative, cautious and compassionate.

I liked the alliteration

and that in some way

it represented head, heart and hands.


But now those choices seem inadequate.

The exercise itself seems

outdated and silly,

maybe even impossible.

How do you distill your essence

down to a handful of letters?


Baker–not butcher –but maybe candlemaker.

Mother, wife, friend.

Librarian, bookseller and teacher.

Photographer, writer and artisan.


But there are so many parts of me

not represented.

Perhaps that is the true challenge:

To try and find the words that best describe.

That mostly tell your story

and complete the picture.

Knowing full well that there

are other parts–

secret and indescribable.

Those bits of yourself you do not share

with anyone.


Have you ever imagined

yourself in this way?

What if we could

cut bits away,

whittle everything down,

carve the extraneous…

Until all that remains

are those


Little .


About andi

Writer, editor, wrangler of small boys and dogs.

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