Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends,
Writing is about limits. Word count limits, world building limits, back story limits. Every choice we make as an artist constrains the next choice and the next. That’s part of why it is so much easier to write to a prompt than to a blank page. We often misconstrue the artist as someone who can make up anything, conjure beauty and interest out of thin air. This is not true. All creativity is born out of the constraints of our experience. The old adage, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” still holds water.
When life gets tough and puts more limitations on our relationships, our finances, our physical environment we must respond with the best our brains have to offer to create a work around. Yes, creativity can feel spontaneous and freeing, but it cannot happen in a vacuum.
That’s why I love today’s prompts. They put very specific limitations on a character and an object/idea. And from those restrictions something entirely different than what might have otherwise manifested can appear.
Today’s prompts are: something beautiful yet useless, person of a different size than most people.
My ideas are always bigger than I am. Everything is bigger than I am, which is mostly ok. It means I can slip under and around all the places no one else can go, but it means I can envision so much more than I can make.
But maybe that’s why I started this project to begin with. The space behind the refrigerator is always warm, and no one ever looks there. I wanted to make a friend. A friend that wouldn’t try to eat me or knock me away from their nest, a friend who didn’t have to hold me in their hand.
I started gathering things I thought would be useful, but then it turned into anything that glittered. So many sparkly things accumulate in the small spaces of the world. I crafted my person piece by piece with glittery wash tape and sequins and beads and lego blocks. I even made them a chair so that we could sit and talk.
The eyes danced in the dim light behind the fridge, but they were never quite alive. I could sit there, in their lap, for hours and still never feel the comfort of having a friend of my own. They had no opinion on the best tasting berries. They were so beautiful, but empty and cold. So much of me went into its making that I felt a little empty too.
So I hauled it up, by pull and string, onto the counter for everyone to see. I couldn’t keep its gossamer stranded hair to myself.
Of course, this meant the people whose house I lived in finally noticed me, sitting with the thing I’d made. They stared, and then they screamed. And then they took a bunch of pictures with their phones.
They threw me out into he wild of the backyard. But they kept my friend. It was too pretty to throw away. When I snuck back in that night–vents, people, your houses have vents– I found my friend up on a book shelf. Pride of place.
Ideas like friendship and love are too big for most people to really understand. And way beyond my ken.
What does it take to make a friend?
I realize the last few have been rather short. If that bothers you, my apologies. But I’ve been hard at work with other projects such that I don’t have a wellspring on creativity left over at the end of the week. But I hope you all will take the prompts and make them your own. Comment with your own work or with what you think it takes to make real friendships.