As usual, I had no idea how this prompt would turn out for me and it sent me in a direction I hadn’t expected. I’m excited to read your concrete words, to read about the tangible things in your life so I can better understand the invisible things of your heart. Today’s prompt is The Box.
It’s what’s within the box that we admire, hardly ever the box itself. The voice box isn’t the point but rather the words made with the cords, the alto that underlines the melody.
Boxes of papers line my attic, all the notes from every literature course I took. I have read through, aiming to make a box for burning, but then it feels too soon. A cedar chest keeps my wedding dress and also sweaters and quilts made by gone hands.
There are boxes of journals, one of midcentury film and ledgers of farm keeping. We are memory keepers, not just of our own – historians, we, with temporarily gripped hands.
I tell the story of how the one who made the quilt may be the one that tore her dress to shreds as a bear followed, how it scratched at pieces as she ran and tore. Let me show you the corner of the notes, Gerard Manley Hopkins and how I wrote contradictions to physics, how I worked creation out in poetic doodles.
A small box full of baby girl clothes and then the box of things I never expected, notes from a husband who still loves, they crowd my shelves. I line them up like limp-necked doves. When it’s time, it’ll burn.
If I lie in the box before then, my chin all wrong, see my fingers there without rings, put me there with paper, and know I know it doesn’t matter, but please daddy’s drawings and the ones from when Erin and I laughed so hard each trying to draw a walrus. Head to toe, line me with magic marker spidermen and Isaac’s science journal. Cover me over with words. The arms that rocked will be empty of self, but copy for my box still, your favorite line from Rich Mullins. Write it out word for word. Bless my children. Bless my bones. Pray it in stone else I raise above the fire and not see the sacrifice I got to make below, precious parts of me, incense.
When I’m in the hollow, be grateful on my behalf. Tell each other how we’ll all be changed.
As I consider a writer’s voice, I wonder how it is for you. If we all have one, I wonder about other things, other things that most of us have. Like what box comes to mind, for example? Voice is cadence and music and space, how you write out the matter in your life and the meaning it gives, so tell us about the box. It’s certainly different than mine. So how is it for you? — On Mondays I write out spirit by practicing a little with the concrete things in my life and maybe in a fictional life. If you want to join this small community with these prompts, send your readers this way, and link up below at any point this week. Practice writing, the craft; share it with us. Next week’s topic is the Path. Make sure to use #concretewords on twitter. Thank you always for coming here and walking with me.