We write ourselves into boxes all the time: check which box applies, keep your signature within the lines, what do you “do?”, etc. We wedge ourselves into these tight but cozy places and bend ourselves double to reach their reassuring absolutes. Every box is a story we’ve learned to believe. And there, fully contorted in the dark and stuffy air, we wait. For what? More closet space?
There is a certain safety in our boxes; big brain pattern recognition protects our delicate flesh. And as the oxygen runs out and claustrophobia sets our bones humming, we break free for only long enough to scuttle into our next hermit shell. For these few tender meaty moments we are at our most vulnerable. But there can be another safety here, a stronger protection.
There is a world far beyond the writing of it in my mind. It is as whole and real as any dream, and just as hard to translate. When we measure it we change it – Heisenberg at his most cruel… or?
I’m sitting at Wendy’s behind metal bars protecting me from a rainy afternoon (see pic). But I’m overcome by the freedom I pull into my body with every breath. I am alone here in an inky bliss, revelling in the tactile assertion of my pen tip on the page. I am between boxes, bared of any expectation but surprise. There is only the present, and I clear my brain to give space to the story, pure. Because when you let your words find their own way – each as sensation rather than thought – they create a new safety by building you into their world. And if this new reality is honest enough, human enough, it will open itself as an invitation for others to climb in there with you.
Dare to write without a lid and a lock! Write as play. Risk everything. Or don’t write at all. Even if you have deadlines and editors, never forget that every word is still a game to find the truth. Because the world has more than enough words, but only one you. And the story you write between your boxes is the only way to discover who you really are.