The first 600 word gem…
If words were gems and you could spend them anywhere you wanted, in any place you wanted, where would you spend them? What could you do with 600 gems, each counted as priceless, with no limit to their distance? Would you speak about things in the past or where the past has pointed you? Would you create a world filled with turmoil or one with Peace? Would the good of your universe always be in strife with the evil that lurks in every shadowed lament? Today is the day that such a journey could begin, even on your couch, even as you watch another life launched. Every detail is a story in and of itself.
And everyone has a background, something that they bring to the table of story telling that is like no one else’s tale. Truly gathering matter is not a difficult exercise. In each of us we have a glittering uniqueness buried somewhere inside. What is hard to find is the strength to share it. Telling our stories either real or imaginary opens us up to scrutiny and criticism. Who wants to hear rejection written or spoken? So, often before we try, we have talked ourselves out of our own adventure. What is the story you have to tell today? Mine is a story about a little girl lost in a world of choices. As she grew, the choices became so bountiful that she was blinded to even one that would make sense for her. She was left to accept the path that she had stumbled along year after year by default because she was too afraid to take any real risk. Everything seemed so scary.
Still, she knew what she wanted. She wanted the fairy tale of love, family and harmony in every facet of her world. She wanted the Better Homes and Gardens or Martha Stewart’s Magazine picture perfect home. What she found herself wandering through was a maze of mirrors. Many days the reflections of herself that she stared at did not remind her of anything other than a monster or a misshapen form that could have been a thousand other pear-shaped unrecognizable people with warped faces and elongated noses that appeared more pained than happy. What she didn’t realize was that with one solid kick she had a well laid out escape. The house of mirrors works because we refuse to smash our own established illusions. We stay within the boundaries of the house of mirrors as designed by the owner of the carnival who seeks to make a profit from our own hidden turmoil.
We nervously laugh at the long-necked giraffe human because we realize how fragile our necks are sticking out there for someone to capture our lost heads from the moment weakness shows up. In the movie, We Bought a Zoo, Matt Damon’s character Benjamin Mee remarked, “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery.” How many seconds would it take to shatter those distorted images we have of ourselves? For some that answer is a lifetime; for others it is an eternity with most falling into the midst of two extremes. Yet, in 20 seconds we can agonizingly go from the birth canal to breathing, from breathing to last breath, from walking down the aisle saying I do to taking on a new name. Part of a new name is a new identity. The first 600 words can be your Gettysburg Address like that of the shorter 275 words address delivered by Abraham Lincoln that traveled the world.