Rule number one, never put jam in your purse, even if you think it will come in handy for the Dramamine your son needs in order not to throw up. When it comes down to it, would you rather have some vomit to catch in the car (not that this is really the choice), or a purse compartment glued together by jelly? Keep in mind, this is your new purse, the one you shouldn’t have bought, but is both practical and pleasing. More than you can say for the jam in its once cute little plastic rectangle. Now: crushed.
The wrong things are gluing together. Sticky and troublesome. Time consuming. But this is what it means to have children, a family! No, no, you certainly don’t wish that away; but just a little less jam. To be a little less jammed up.
Sometimes life serves us up the perfect metaphor. Here’s what I’m taking from this (today) in terms of both writing and life:
- Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be over-prepared; to be thinking of each item’s possible utility “down the road” (yes, pun conveniently attendant).
- Ordinary things can glue us down, put us in unintended, unproductive, sticky spots. Don’t save each little thing for later; use it now, or let someone else use it.
- Your purse is yours, not for the conveyance of every little thing for the kids—well, okay, this can’t really be the case right now—at least, be pickier about what you try to prepare for others.
- Keep things nimble, and don’t let the words and stories—your time and energy—get caught up in a side pocket (full of congealed jam).
And for my characters, well…an earlier “stuckness” (a sticky spot with revisions on my “Yugoslavia novel”) got Countries of Lost Things started (and now “finished”) because I couldn’t get the revised entry-point right for Down the Street a Building Burned. Down the Street might be unsticking…and now some new jam has gotten into the pages of Countries. Next question: Will I have to rip apart the purse lining? (Only one pocket? A whole side of the purse?) Or do I just need to unstick my own resistance to letting go?
Now I’m ready for the fortune cookie. (But then there will be crumbs….)
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From the archives…
a child’s curiosity prompts a tour through history (and a children’s book):
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