In our town we have one of “those” stores no one should be seen in. Garish lights off the highway illuminate the truly ugly sign that acts as a beacon for the weary traveler to and fro their daily tasks: work, school, volunteering for little league or football. Some people thing it’s a travesty to have this there, seeing this as a corrupter of our very moral values. But it sits there, bold and brazened, taunting those that hate it, and calling, like a sweet siren, to those that are drawn.
Joe got off his midnight shift and was called by that very sign. He swore that he would not go back, but he drives past everyday. He started going “just on special occasions” but then started finding that this started becoming a weekly thing. His wife confronted him when she saw the receipt in his wallet. He swore to her that he would not go back. That he was done and that everything he read told him to stay away. He felt powerless and even tried a 12 step program for his issues. But he was back.
Some people can’t help themselves. They feel needy and want what this has. They feel that they need to fill up a hole inside them with the cheap and tawdry that they can only find there. Perhaps it’s because they haven’t felt true love. Maybe they were never taught correctly that this is a gross facsimile of what they truly desire. For whatever reason, the store has it’s pull. And at all hours we see people flock.
“I saw the school teacher there a couple of days ago.” said one of the rightous town folk. Another said, “No kidding, I even saw the Mayor sneak in as his wife walked the dog!” Once you are seen there, you are marked with our modern equivalent of the crimson A. You are pariah and loathed that you’ve given in. Still, they cannot stop.
So, Joe parked. He sat in the car realizing what he was going to do and how it would hurt his wife and his community. He was in fact powerless though. When he noticed the parking lot was relatively still, he pulled up the collar on his coat and walked toward the entrance. As he walked in, he was met with knowing eyes and a toothy smarmy grin. As he heard, “Welcome to Walmart! Have a nice day.” All he could think of was, “The prices, the prices.”
A few years ago I started working through Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I didn’t get all the way through it but I did enjoy a particular exercise she called “Morning Pages”. The goal of morning pages is to write 3 pages. It doesn’t have to be intelligent, and it doesn’t have to be sentences. It just has to be 3 pages. She found that through this process, you start to leave all of the “I can’ts” and “I should be doings” on the page, freeing you to be a bit more creative in your life. The book, intended for artists who are suffering from a block, is also good for those who simply want to live more creative lives. Creative problem solving is in fact an act of creativity and permeates into all aspects of our lives, from working through how to talk to your child about sensitive issues, to tending to your partners needs.
I did this for a while and enjoyed it. Writing allowed me to look at certain aspects of my life and work through some fairly heavy things I was going through a few years ago. I am delighted to have found http://www.750words.com now. The website derives from the concept of morning pages. (750 words = approx 3 pages). It is not blogging but it does show you meta information about your writing, with statistics on frequently used words, what kind of things you are writing about etc. Kudos to the author of the website! I believe he runs it out of a coffee house somewhere in Seattle, WA.
The October Challenge is simply, write 750 words everyday for the month of October. If you succeed, then you get to be placed on the wall off awesomeness. If you fail your name gets placed on the wall of shame. You can also agree to either treat yourself to something nice if you succeed and do something (possibly donate to the site) if you fail. I’ve signed up and so far, I’m 2 for 2 with 29 days to go.
So, that’s what I’ve been doing lately to keep the creative juices flowing. Oh, that and I just upgraded my mac to the latest OS, Snow Leopard. I’m interested in learning some programming for the iPhone and been really enjoying the latest version of Garage Band.