Free Writing – Day #3

The aim: to get writing again.

The method: using Free Writing Prompts from this list, over the next couple of weeks. Today’s prompt is in bold at the beginning of the piece.

The time limit: 15 minutes

Location: the communal cafe table at The Drugstore in Summer Hill.

That girl's face

That girl’s face

Tracing the outline of her face from a photograph, she took her imagination back with her to the age she was then.

She’d been counselled to imagine what life might have been like if her Kindergarten teacher hadn’t selected her, the tallest girl, and him, the tallest boy and had them lay down on butcher’s paper – long lengths of butcher’s paper. They were tall, after all.

The other children, of more ordinary height, were then instructed to trace around these extraordinary specimens.

Perhaps the outlines were decorated by the class before the lengths of paper were pinned on the front wall of the classroom for the rest of the term? No, in her mind’s eye, she sees them clearly – black outlines on white paper.

Her life on a wall – an unremarkable outline of a remarkable height. Nothing of her inner life. No decoration. Nothing worth remarking on, nothing but her height.

They’d traced a path for her that day – a thick black outline before her – a shape that time would fill with expectations – mostly other people’s¬†expectations.

What if the teacher had asked that girl and, let’s not forget, the boy, to take a day or two to fill their outline with shades of their heart, splashes of their dreams, spatters of their fears, brave stabs of the brush to mark the hurts – all covered with a wash of bright hope and dreams for the future?

Perhaps if that girl had been given a brush, way back then, something more than the restraints of an outline drawn by others would have appeared on that wall for all to see.

In its place, there might have been an announcement to the world of the whispers of her inner world. A beautifully coloured understanding of who she was – before others had a chance to colour it for her.

Imagine that!

Could she? She would certainly need a little time. A pen in place of a brush. Beautiful writing paper in place of the butcher’s offering.

She’d begin by tracing again the lines of that girl’s face in the photograph. She’d note the subtle colours of her face and hair, the shy dimple on her cheek as she smiled. Then she’d look deep into those blue-grey eyes and find some truer colours there.


Ten Things I’m Thankful For – Day #9

This morning I did something I shouldn’t have done. To be more precise, it was something that I regret doing. It’s not that it was something that, in and of itself, should or shouldn’t be done. It’s just that I wish I hadn’t done it.

I looked through a folder of photos on my computer.

The other day, I was intending to download just one photo from my camera to my computer and normally it would just download the one (or ones) that hadn’t already been downloaded. This time, for some reason unknown to me, it downloaded every picture on my camera. That meant I had two years of photos neatly collected in one folder. A lot can happen in two years.

So it was to this folder that I went, looking for one or two photos to ‘pretty up’ today’s thankfulness post.

What I found was many pretty photos, many memories, many friends and family members, many photos that, when taken, captured moments of joy. But in that mix, inevitably, there were photos in which, with hindsight, I now see pain and confusion peeking out from my eyes. There were photos that made me miss my more familiar ‘home away from home’. There was beauty in other lands that just made me sigh.

Within a matter of minutes, my flicking through the photos had produced a growing pain in my heart – a pain of love, loss, regret and yearning. All I had wanted was a couple of pretty photos!

Mercifully, I had to cut short the journey down ‘photographic lane’ to go to church.

It was the best thing I could do. Though, inevitably, there were challenges waiting for me there, I also found comfort. I was reminded that loss is the way to gain and that I follow a Saviour whose victory came through pain.

My heart still feels tender but, at moments like these, I am helped by focussing on the present. Today is the 26th April, 2015 – not some other date or time or era.

So at this moment, on this day, I am thanking God for:

1. The whisper of a friend’s recent encouragement to keep writing no matter how I feel, as I ate my sandwich today and wondered if I could be bothered writing or not.

2. The will to get up and walk to my computer.

3. The blessing of a quiet afternoon and evening ahead to rest.

4. The sound of rainfall outside which gives me every reason I may need to stay indoors and curl up under a quilt in front of the heater and read (or sleep).

5. An old friend at church making me laugh out loud (very loudly!) as he recounted some very ordinary tales of being drenched in storms on his way to work this week.

6. A functioning computer and internet connection.

7. Memories of last night – a ‘Mental as Anything’ Concert that I’d been invited to in order to make up a table. Turns out that I knew (and loved) most of their songs. I smile now as I picture my foot tapping along. I almost had the courage to get up and dance – almost – but I certainly danced on the inside.

8. Boiled Eggs – ready comfort in a neat package.

9. Prayer and a hug from the minister and his wife at church this morning.

10. One beautiful reminder from the photos perused this morning – of one moment in time when I was truly in the moment – and loving every minute of that moment.

Sunshine, an espresso, some reading material and something purple. All good things to have in any given moment.

Sunshine, an espresso, some reading material and something purple. All good things to have in any given moment.