I spend every weekday morning with a trio of eleven year olds who are defending their secret worlds from unwelcome invaders. They escape to their secret worlds when life gets too overwhelming. Or boring. Their secret worlds are filled with everything they love or dream of being or doing or having and are a place where they rule supreme.
One day, as I tried to describe the antagonist’s secret world, I was forced to dig around a bit to find out who he really was below all the bluff and swagger and it struck me that perhaps at the heart of every secret world there is an even more secret place. So secret it might better be described as a sacred world. A place hidden so deep within us that we don’t even know it exists, although there are inevitably clues sprinkled through our lives.
For a very long time now, in my secret world, I have been a published author of children’s books. In my secret world, ideas flow easily, the creative juices are always flowing, the perfect word is always at hand. And people are always stopping me on the street to autograph my latest book (as well as the ten other copies they’ve purchased for their friends). Sigh.
So I asked myself, “Self, what sacred world is at the heart of this secret place within you?” and I started looking for clues. I didn’t have to look far. There’s the brilliant blue embroidery floss I bought on a whim at Value Village (well, it was only a quarter). And the funky embroidery book I bought a couple of years ago that’s still sitting by my living room chair. (just a coincidence) There’s the 5 (count them, FIVE) jars of markers, pencils, pens and two kinds of pencil crayons (regular and watercolor) on my desk, not to mention the pastels (oil and chalk) and the paints (tempera, watercolors and acrylics) hidden away in a cupboard. Right beside the brilliant shades of wool felt. And sewing material. And yarn. And buttons. And can someone tell me what that jar of feathers is doing on the shelf above my desk?
Clues abound. But the biggest clue of all is the behemoth that elbowed its way into my office last week.
Yes, that is a drafting table.
Well over a year ago, a friend was cleaning out her basement and offered it to me. My heart leapt. Literally. My husband wanted nothing to do with it. He is really a very supportive fellow, but he was already tired of tripping over all the clues that have been slowly filling every nook and cranny of our home. I tried to be reasonable. I could see his point(s). Where would be put it? (I dunno.) When would I use it? (I dunno.) What would I use it for? (I dun . . . well, you see . . . I’ve always wanted to . . .)
In the end, I couldn’t resist.
Since my husband was so against it I knew I could not prevail on him to bring it home for me so my friend and I did it . . . all by ourselves . . . from her garage into the back of her truck and then back out of the back of her truck and through my front door and all the way down the stairs to the basement. You saw how big that drafting table is. That was no small feat!
And then it sat in our messy basement rec room FOR OVER A YEAR! I looked at it from time to time, but I did not touch it other than to lean some other clue up against it. And then my husband announced he was ready to begin on the final round of renovations. The rec room was going to be reclaimed and everything needed to be cleared out, including the table. So I took the next, most logical step and crammeditintomyoffice.
This time my husband helped me to move it. He even helped me to clean all the paint and glue off it first. (And, to his credit, not once has he ever even hinted at an “I told you so.”)
So now, every time I set foot in my office (the portal to my secret world), the very first thing to greet me is that vast, blank, white space. The empty center of my sacred world. Calling to me. Because in my deepest, darkest secret self I create the pictures that illustrate my books. There. I said it.
I once overheard a woman say that sometimes the only way she could motivate herself to clean her house was to invite someone for dinner. Likewise, the only way I know I will actually sit on the $5 stool I bought at a garage sale the day after I brought my drafting table home and start drawing or painting or something!!!! is to tell you that’s what I’m going to do.
So consider yourself invited. Be here next Friday, prepared to feast your eyes on what I have created, sitting on my stool, in front of my drafting table, with my crayons/markers/paints/feathers(?)
Quick! Press publish before you change your mi