So, this is what happens when I file things away.

In the fall of 2008, I attended a one-day workshop called Writing Fiction For Kids.  It was my first classroom setting around writing since first year college when I allowed myself to take Creative Writing 1100 “just for fun.”  *hint:  If you think something is fun, you should do it more often!  It may actually lead to something!

Lois Peterson, who is a local published author of fabulous young adult fiction, was the instructor.  In addition to pearls and gems about actually writing, she gave us a great organizational tool to house our story ideas.  She suggested taking an index card file box and a stash of index cards (you know, like some people use to record and store recipes) and alphabetize story ideas that we jot down on these index cards when inspiration strikes.  When you sit down to write, you leaf through the outlines you have started and choose one to work on.

The part of me that loves things to be stored in their place jumped at the chance to visit Staples to buy these supplies.  Over the next few months, I filed away a story idea about fairies, another about a horse named Chestnut, a sad little number about a girl named Paige and a quirky piece called Masala Chai.

This past Saturday morning while my youngest slept and my oldest was at the pool with my husband, I pried myself away from the computer and chose to spend my time writing fiction.  (I have discovered lately that the computer is actually a vice for me…it completely sucks me in and takes away time from my creative writing).  I got out my box of forgotten barely-written treasures and plunked myself on the couch.  I became reacquainted with the little stories I had started years ago, and then stopped when I came to something of which I didn’t have the foggiest recollection.

What is this? I thought.

Behind the card bearing the title “Images” were 8 magazine cut outs that I had kept for my vision board.  A vision board that I had not yet made.  (Check out this cool blog post from Christine Kane all about vision boards!)  As I pulled out and read each image (not surprisingly 7 out of 8 of them were word-based), I gasped at their relevance to my life at this point.   No, really, I’m not being dramatic – I actually gasped out loud at each of them.  It was awesome.

Here’s what I found:

“Get your daily allowance of ‘ME’ time.”  (Hello!)

“Put beauty back on your to do list.” (I hear ya!)

“Achieve balance in your life.” (Yup, this has been huge on my mind!)

“Take care of you.”  (Uh huh.)

“Get healthy.” (This sentence, like the one above, was clipped – it was probably part of a sentence like ‘Get healthy recipe ideas inside’…or something, but the first two words resonated with me…still do!)

And then, check this out.  This is from Nikki Giovanni, a poet and a mother among many other things, and I absolutely love it – maybe even more today than I did when I clipped it.

“Today I am 64 years old.  I still look good.  I appreciate and enjoy my age.  While I have always liked my career, I have way more fun with it now.  I’ve got nothing to prove, and I don’t care what the critics say.  When I finish writing a book, I don’t push myself to start the next one; I enjoy having just written one.

A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are.  Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.  You still bring to bear all your prior experience, but you’re riding on another level.  It’s completely liberating.  Now, everything I do, I do because I want to.  And I believe the best is yet to come.” 

OK, WHAT?!  This has been hiding in a recipe card box for the last 3 years?  Not anymore!!  I pinned it on to a 20”X16” canvas using these cute push pins that I bought 2 years ago that were still unopened in a box in my desk drawer.  I also pinned on the other messages, the only pictorial image I had which is a pair of beautiful shiny metallic pumps AND the following quote by Stanley Kunitz:

“When you look back on a lifetime and think of what has been given to the world by your presence, your fugitive presence, inevitably you think of your art, whatever it may be, as the gift you have made to the world in acknowledgement of the gift you have been given, which is the life itself….That work is not an expression of the desire for praise or recognition, or prizes, but the deepest manifestation of your gratitude for the gift of life.”

Amen to that.  I think if I read that quote to myself every day, I would always remember why I sit down to write in the first place.  I strongly believe that the gifts we are given are indeed just that – something we are born with that must be used in order to be acknowledged.  As I’ve said before, a gift unused is such a shame!

Now I can finally say that my vision board has been started.  Do I believe it’s going to magically make me do all of the things I pinned on there?  No.  But it sure is hard to ignore these words that obviously mean enough to me to make me cut them out and tuck away for safe-keeping!  (especially now that they are literally in my face every day).  And do I think that by cutting out that gorgeous pair of shoes I expect them to be delivered to my door by an anonymous and generous sender?  Well…stranger things have happened!

Do you have a vision board?  Favourite quotes that you have placed strategically around you?  I’d love to hear your favourite sayings or learn about what inspires you if you’d like to leave a comment below.