If Literature Were a Time Capsule

Kindness Doesn’t Work Like Karma

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Photo Credit: Me

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”- Ernest Hemingway

I do this thing.

If I’m in a groove of creating art I find myself at a loss for words. If I’ve been writing more and brimming with story ideas, the blank canvas stares back at me.

I can’t seem to focus on both.

I was in my studio by 5:00 this morning adding the finishing touches to a three piece canvas set. I was fixated by color. Hours had gone by. It was time to sit and write.

and write?

and wri…

Ugh.

I packed up my gear and headed to the library. I love my local public library. It’s a small library intended to serve a small community. It’s my safe place.

When I crumble underneath the weight of depression it’s easy to isolate at home but I also think of my local library as home. They’re fairly similar. Both have a fireplace, coffee, lots of books and people who won’t stop talking to me when I don’t feel like being talked to.

I hadn’t left my house in days. Today would be different. Today I must go. I decided to utilize the superpower of the public library to rejuvenate my creative endeavors.

Things don’t always turn out the way we think they will regardless how convinced we are.

I was still struggling. I was just waiting.

and waiting?

and wai…

Ugh.

I was waiting for something to spark.

There’s these moments. They can happen to us at 9:00 AM on a Tuesday, or wake us during the night. We could be brushing our teeth, or dancing around the kitchen, or on a date and it hits us. It’s a wave that carries us off to our keyboard, or typewriter or good old fashion paper and pen.

We can’t control it.

Creativity isn’t a 9–5 job. It’s the air we breathe.

There was none of that. Nope.

I needed to do something, anything with this time chipping away at every emotional notch in my soul incapable of releasing the words from my fingertips.

There was a pen sitting on the table. I picked it up. I had an idea.

I wrote quotes about reading on colored index cards and randomly placed them inside random books for random people to find.

I thought of how excited and loved, and lucky I’d feel if I found one in a book. It feels kind.

Kindness. The world needs more kindness.

It turns out kindness doesn’t work like karma. I still couldn’t write. I hadn’t a single idea except for my notebook filled with ideas but nothing clicked. They’re stories not ready to be told I suppose.

I sat back down in front of the fireplace and wrote a list of all held captive in my mind.

Shitty first drafts. First draft are shitty. You write and it’s magical and meant to be, and you feel high on triumph but only until you go back and read it.

Newspapers and photographs. The ability to embrace all that surrounds us.

Handwritten letters with ink so powerful it strengthens human connection.

A notebook and pen are the bare minimum, covered in dust laying on the bottom of a writer’s toolbox.

I wrote a budget. Creatives scrape to survive. It’s not about money for people like us.

Then it came to me. I did have a story to write.

I do this thing.

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Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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