What Takes Shape

There is something so fantastic about a blank piece of paper.  Clean.  Open. Welcoming.  I love the moment when Hannah pulls out a piece of blank white paper.  She places is it on the table in front of her, pulls out a marker or crayon and sits staring at the paper.  Her wheels turning.  Her imagination spilling out of her. No rules. No expectations. No right or wrong.

I’m pretty sure Hannah never knows what she is going to create when she pulls out the paper and starts to draw.  I like to sit back and watch her as she starts.  She slowly doodles a shape on the paper and then sits back to examine it.  Often she’ll turn the paper around and around studying the shape.  Until it takes shape.  And then she’ll begin her work.  Today I watched her go from sitting with a blank piece of paper to an abstract green, bumpy shape to an amazing picture of a dinosaur wearing a dress and sunglasses, standing beside two “townhouses”, under an orange sky, its feet on blue grass with two dinosaur friends.  I’m confident “I’m going to draw a scene with dinosaurs and townhouses” was not something that crossed her mind as she set out to draw  today.  But it’s where her imagination led her. It’s where her crayon took her.  And she was quite satisfied with the outcome.

I feel like I live many of my days like this.  I wake up with a blank day in front of me.  No idea of what moods lay ahead.  What obstacles I might stumble upon.  All I can control is how I step out of bed.  Whether I have a smile or a frown across my face. What “shape” I draw at 6:00 in the morning is all I can plan.  The rest just happens.

In watching Hannah add more and more details to her picture today and seeing her get more and more excited with each addition to her picture, I realized what a great way THAT would be to live.  To be more in control, more purposeful, with what I add to what’s already in my day.  What details will make my “picture” more exciting, more satisfying.  I don’t normally do this.  Because it’s not easy to do.  I usually just see my day falling apart in front of me and chalk it up to another one of “those” days. And if the falling apart starts at 10am, so be it, the rest of the day is lost.

I guess it doesn’t always have to be like that though.  Things as easy as a vase of flowers, a cup of hot cider, a phone call to a friend, a thank you to someone unexpecting it can really make that early Shape of my day something Better.

I’m going through some crappy days lately.  Crappy in that if I were to draw a picture at the beginning of my day it would just be a brown mud puddle.  But I had an epiphany, and I’m Not letting the muddy waters drag me down.  Nope.  I’m putting on my new Target herringbone rain boots and I’m going splashing in those puddles.  Because what fun will a picture of a mud puddle be to look back on when the sun comes out?  Not fun.  I’m adding some happy details to my paper.  Maybe not a dinosaur wearing sunglasses.  But happy none the less.




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14 responses to “What Takes Shape

  1. Sometimes I find it odd when I read that someone is experiencing the same exact thing I am experiencing. In a good way, of course.

    The image of Hannah shaping a picture on a blank page captivated me. I am no artist but I could imagine this in my realm–writing. There is something truly magnificent about seeing your picture or words go from little blobs to works of art. Even if it takes hours, months, or years.

  2. I love this metaphor. We all get so engrossed with the things that don’t work, we lose sight of what has gone our way. I like the “adding details” to your day element of your piece. This is a great reminder of how we can shape our day, even if it is working on the tiny, but important detail.

  3. Really…do you secretly know me?

    The rain is looming here this morning and I have to get in a shower and out the door to dance class in the next half hour IF my son ever finishes eating his breakfast. Outcome: grim. But I was truly just thinking, if I can get out the door drama and frustration free, what else might this day shape up to be? If we’re out, we’re free to go where the wind takes us…and I’m sure there’ll be some wind today.

    Thanks for being that little boost to keep my head out of the developing puddles. 🙂

  4. It’s windy, cold and rainy here–I needed this little reminder that the clouds pass and, if we decide to, we can make the rain an adventure.

  5. There is a strategy for making art where one person makes a doodle and the other studies it and creates something from that nothing. It’s all about imagination and creativity. Not perfection. While we can’t always control everything, we can adjust and create beauty even in many situations.

    Do you know Harold and the Purple Crayon? I love that book.

  6. This resonated with me on so many levels. For starters, it makes me want to pull out a box of crayons and just draw. (Something I haven’t done since 5th grade.) But it also reminds me of how much power we have over how our days go and how we respond to things. In long strings of crappy days – which we all have from time to time – it’s important to remember that we are not merely recipients of our lives, but creators of them. Thank you for this today.

  7. Rainboots do make the puddles a little prettier. Or at least make the mud a little more bearable. Wishing you brighter days filled with cerulean and periwinkle and cornstalk! =>

  8. This morning I crawled out of bed after four hours of sleep and thought: the number one key to a successful day (especially when I don’t know what lies ahead) is to get out of bed. What happens after that is just filling in the details. Of course it’s the details that make it beautiful.

    Thanks for the perfect metaphor for my day. Hannah’s dinosaur will stay with me a while longer…

  9. Becca. I’m not quite sure what to say except you’ve set me to thinking. Thinking about attitude and the role it plays in our life. I wonder how to change mine, to learn that each day is this beautiful blank canvass you describe just waiting to be filled with colour. I hope for many of these days for both of us.

  10. Becca, rain boots are an excellent way to navigate through mud, get in it, but it not get into you. All you need is a good hosing down when you are done with the muck.

    Hoping there are less crappy days and more expectant, white sheets of paper, waiting for your words to paint them a picture. ((you))

  11. Some days it really does take a huge effort to trim around your mood and focus on the positive. Here’s hoping that you days are easier and more enjoyable soon.

  12. Liz

    How funny…I’m in the middle of blog post that’s kinda whiney and cranky and negative, and I get stuck at the end, so I decide to come on over and read around and catch up on my friends so I can maybe get inspired…so I read yours and it starts with the colors and the blank paper and I’m like: “Oh no…now I feel worse! How cheerful Becca always is…I can’t post mine!” and then I get to your “mud.” Thanks. And I’ll put on my brand spanking new DSW Bear Paw galoshes and splash around with you! Great post.

  13. Love this post, Becca. Intentional, purposeful steering, even through mud puddles, can make all the difference in this tough days. Thanks for the reminder.

  14. I need to have that attitude. A lot of brown puddle days here, too.

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