Yesterday I left Brattleboro, starting to my journey by chipping out the little yellow car. This first snowfall of the season was so cold that the layers of snow against the windscreen were hard tiny pellets of hail, sparkling like granulated sugar. My wheels span on the ice, and the illustrious Brendan Taaffe pushed me out, his hands braced against my hood and his feet raised on the side of the house.
I hate leaving but there is something magical about being on the road, with new adventures unrolling with the horizon. Through Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania, most of it through dense fog and heavy rain and one finger on the radio’s seek button. The last of my snow-souvenir slipped from my roof somewhere around where I went to college.
Pardon the most obvious of metaphors, but this all got me thinking about how hard it can be getting started, to warm up one’s engine and get moving. It reminded me of the cues we send in playwork, those that we plant in the landscape as hidden surprises for the children.
What makes a great cue? My favorites are those that seem natural, like a ‘careless’ pile of sticks, or those that are pleasantly surreal, like a watering can perched halfway up a tree. I love hearing a little giggle, and the question “what’s that doing here?” Both suggest that anything is possible, in the history of this place or its future. In preparing for the writing prompts I’m sending out in 2016, I’ve been thinking more about sparking adult’s play as well.
What writer urges you pick up a pen? What thoughts make your hand itch to draw? What song calls you to dance around the kitchen?