17 January 2024

Open A Drawer

Today's 15 minute writing exercise, from The Observation Deck: A Tool Kit for Writers, by Naomi Epel


I thrust my hand into the deep well of life -- in this case, the drawer of my office filing cabinet -- and came out with a parking ticket. That I have not paid.

Ah, the metaphor right there. The things not attended to. The niggling pieces of life that cause shame and denial. Shame, you say? Denial? It's a parking ticket. Pay it and move on.

Why does a slip of paper like a parking ticket, or the memory of getting it (read: not paying attention enough to realize I couldn't park in the miracle spot I thought I found), evoke such negativity and self reproach?

Option 1: It really is representative of the ways I don't pay attention, the ways I let life's small responsibilities and annoying demands pile up in ways that come back to bite me.

Option 2: It actually represents the ways in which "the man" is working every day, in every way, to keep. us. down. Control. Rules. Restrictions that thwart us at every turn. The capitalistic enterprise, squeezing pennies and dollars out of us every chance it gets.

Either way, this particular slip of paper makes me mad. Mad at myself, mad at the SFMTA, mad at inflation. Plenty of anger to go around, thank you very much.

What to do in the face of that anger? How to navigate the downward pull of self and municipal loathing?

RESIST. Everything is resistance. Instead of giving in to the loathing, ground myself in the sure knowledge that I am more than the profit I generate for the state, that I am more than a cog in the economic machine, that the parking ticket does not define me. Seems silly, no? Seems silly, yes. But it's the little things, man, that pile up and bite us, the little things that layer one on top the other. 

So what is the work? The work is to be the artisan, laying other, better things one on top the other. Do not let the parking tickets, and the missed train, and the leaking tire, and the Christmas tree decaying in the corner of the yard be the things that build up on your precious frame. Decide what belongs there. Make creative choices. Choose colors, forms, mediums that you love. You don't have to say why you love them. You don't have to justify a single choice, because it's your precious frame and your wild, precious canvas, and you can layer on these things: paella. fire in the hearth. goal in the back of the net. fiddle callouses. children. carmelized onions. music. crunchy gravel. all the things that reveal the great beauty all around you, in you, breathing between you and the ones you love.

Do not let T*ump or the utterly, shockingly, mind-numbingly disappointing political landscape occupy a single centimeter of your canvas. Layer beauty upon beauty and watch the slings and arrows -- and parking tickets -- bounce and slide right off.

* * * 

No comments:

Open A Drawer

Today's 15 minute writing exercise, from The Observation Deck: A Tool Kit for Writers , by Naomi Epel ______________________ I thrust my...