Over the past two months, an sneaky anonymous artist has been leaving small takeaways in the library where I work. Typically, we’ll find a small plastic bag on the shelves filled with small magnets made from dichroic glass & a printed message inviting whoever finds them to take them & enjoy. Patrons have found them too & in general, coming across the packets are a nice little unexpected surprise. A disruption of craft & charitable feeling into a regular routine.
The whole experience has gotten me thinking about some of the more experimental writing prompts we undertook in my last year of Creative Writing at Mary Wash. We students were encouraged to think of ways to get our stories in front of people: whether it was fliers we posted in the department hall, mini-books with flash fictions, postcards, or blogs. The anonymous artists has inspired me to spread some found stories around my little town. There’s even a sort of romantic element to the fact that we have a working rail station running through town & that anyone could come across my words.
But here’s where I trip myself up: thinking about what to write & to send out into the world. I ask myself what I would want people to come across & the immediate response is, well, not my own words, maybe a bit of poetry or a collection of famous sayings. Pardon me, self, but that is not the point of the exercise. Then I think, oh well, I could root through something I’ve already polished, maybe pull out a snippet or two? Again, self, this is about spontaneity, not a practiced recitation. I mean, c’mon, you write a blog with entries you give not much though to. You can’t think of anything?
The truth is, I can, but I’m nervous. I work in a library in a small town. I keep envisioning how one of the Libertarian regulars would react to finding my little anonymous work. Or one of the homeschool moms. Or what if one of my illiterate patrons came across it, realized there was nothing they understood, & threw it away. Or or or or. . .
As you can see, dear Reader, this post is really just a way for me to talk myself into both the act of creating & the act of letting go control. Because really, that’s the crux of any creative act & it is one I struggle with still. But when the tension is resolved &, as a result, a stranger sees the world anew, something magical has truly happened.