Dorothy Johnson – Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge
Dorothy is an Arkansas girl who has been blogging from a ridge overlooking the Arkansas River since June 2013. Her posts range from sharing glimpses of the wildlife she encounters to her reflections on life in general. Often she’ll include spiritual or personal insights gleaned from her experiences.
Dorothy says she should have been interviewed for Gail Sheehy’s book PASSAGES because of her varied work experiences. She’s taught junior high English, spent time at home raising kids, worked as a writer and an associate editor at Leisure Arts, and functioned in a non-clinical role at Baptist Health. The one unifying factor in each of her jobs was writing.
When asked why she began her blog, Dorothy responded with her own question. “Is there anything that makes your heart sing – an interest or activity that excites you, makes you happy to wake up each day? For me, it’s the process of writing–finding just the right words to express a thought or capture a moment.”
She traces this thought back to a quote on a “Curly Girl” plaque by Leigh Standley, which summed up her feelings after one of her own life passages that led her back to creative writing. “After all that — she was surprised to find that she still knew the words to the song in her heart … And she began to sing along”
In addition to her blog, Dorothy writes poetry, fiction, devotionals and essays. She says her goal for 2014 is to finish a novel she’s been working on far too long.
What would you like to be remembered for, after your death?
My love and compassion for others
Are you are morning or night person?
I’m a morning person. In fact, the longer I live, the earlier I rise. I enjoy reading and writing along with a cup of good coffee.
What are your favorite hobbies?
Reading, knitting, crafting and recently have dabbled in quilting. I enjoy the outdoors, like to walk and hike.
If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go and why?
I’d like to go back to Italy for as long as it took to see it in its entirety. I saw just enough to make me frustrated when on a Mediterranean cruise. The country side was beautiful, the people were friendly and there’s so much history.
What is one goal you’d like to accomplish during your lifetime?
I want to finish and publish a novel I’ve been working on for far too long.
If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?
I love dark chocolate!
What is that one thing which makes you different?
Because of some early mistakes, I have a different life perspective than many people I spend time with now.
What’s the one thing, you can’t live without?
A means of writing, whether it be pen and paper or computer.
If given a chance, who would you like to be for a day and why?
Jan Karon, author of the Mitford series
What would you do if you had a million dollars?
I’d either contribute to or set up a program to help people receive an education and the counseling to become self-sufficient.
What’s your favorite album to listen to over and over and why?
His Love Reaching, a Christmas cantata. I think it beautifully expresses the true meaning of Christmas. I listen to it over and over each year.
Would you like to know the day you’re going to die ahead of time? Why or why not?
I don’t think so.
What one thing are you most proud of?
Starting over when I was 22 with two children after a bad marriage.
What’s the kindest act you have ever seen done (either to/by you or another)?
My extended family helped me get my life back after an ill-advised early marriage. They supported me financially, emotionally and in practical ways like babysitting and sharing their homes until I was able to get a degree and a teaching job.
What is your favorite way to waste time at work without getting caught? (we won’t tell)
I’m retired, but a long break at the drugstore connected to the hospital was a good way to break up an afternoon. Get a coke and look at all their nice gift items.
You were just given a yacht. What would you name it?
The Maria (pronounced like Mariah as in “They Call the Wind Maria”). It was my grandmother’s middle name, is also mine, and now is my daughter’s first name.
If a movie was being made of your life and you could choose the actor/actress to play you, who would you choose and why?
A young Diane Ladd
What do you keep in the trunk of your car?
A large tote with compartments for a phone book, an afghan, extra umbrella, first aid kit, roll of toilet paper (have you seen some of those service station bathrooms?), a piece of plastic to protect carpet from plants.
Tell something that nobody knows about you.
I’ve always wished I could sing well enough to sing a solo.
Name the most famous person you’ve had a face to face encounter with (“brush with greatness”).
Mary Tyler Moore stopped in Central Park when we were talking to a photographer who had a telescope trained on Red-Tail Hawks roosting on one of the apartment buildings nearby. She was dressed in a warm-up, wore no make up, just out taking a walk. She stopped, called the man by name and asked if the hawks were visible that day. We just smiled at one another, and I felt I would have been intruding to do the celebrity-siting autograph thing.
If you could be any animal in the world for 24 hours, which animal would you be? Why?
Porpoise — they look like they have such fun.
What is your favorite quote?
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for bad, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
What’s your favorite sport?
To watch volleyball now that my granddaughter plays it. For participation, I like to swim.
If you could plan your ultimate vacation, where would you go?
A month in Italy
If you could meet anyone from history, who would you meet and why?
George Washington. I’d like to hear how it felt to make the break with England and how he hung on during the worst of the Revolutionary War the early days of our country.
If you could meet anyone from the Bible who would it be and what would you ask them? (Besides Jesus)
The little girl raised from the dead by Jesus. I’d ask her about the entire experience — what happened to her between her death and the time she came back to life. What was it like to be touched by Jesus.
What is the craziest (or stupidest) thing you have ever done?
The stupidest thing I ever did was get mixed up with a handsome boy who didn’t have much ambition. (I didn’t know that at the time, besides he was so good looking! duh!)
If I wasn’t afraid I would _________ (What?)
Take voice lessons
If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
Fried chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, purple hull peas, Sister Shubert’s rolls, and my mother’s chocolate pie.