Box of dreams

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Everything I love about the slip into winter has already happened: the harvest, the magic of autumn and Halloween, the lights and celebrations of yuletide, the optimism of the new calendar year.  So many wonderful things packed into four months, with all their expectation and excitement, giving that season a particular luminosity.  But now what?  The new year is here, we’re back to work and routine, those shiny resolutions are starting to seem a little dull and difficult.  There is always beauty in nature, but sometimes my walks seem interchangeable as the world lies dormant waiting for spring.  Much as the dark half of the year is my favourite, this deadest part of the season is the time of  year I find most challenging.

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But this poem, Winter Transition by Crone Chronicler, prompted me to think of this period in a different way.  I love her concept of the world settling into ‘ordinary time’.  The festivals do nothing if not remind us of transience and that each season has its purpose.  While I know the purpose of this part of the year for me, it’s still difficult to say goodbye to that season that I love.  So I’m glad I had this reminder of the value of that ‘ordinary time’ between celebrations.  I realised that taking the tree down and returning the house to its usual state wasn’t just a chore, marking the end of one of the high points of the year, but was a ritual in itself, returning it to that tabula rasa in which my dreams can take root.

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And I have a box of dreams to work with.  Not resolutions.  Not must dos.  Creative snippets from which my year will be shaped.  When I retreated to the dark, I took note of everything – my dreams, meditations, writings, quotes that spoke to me, things I saw.  And I gathered almost 100 starting points – the ‘bones’ of my creative year.  Each one is recorded on a scrap of paper and stored in this box, germinating in the dark.  A couple are full-blown story ideas, most are a rag-tag collection of themes to be explored, random images, character sketches, story titles, potential blog posts.  Some of them will fade away, losing importance, never destined to be born.  Others will make magic – shaping themselves into worlds and people and stories and art.

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This is the honing tide of the year, when I begin to polish and shape the dreams I have dreamed.  I’ve already begun, plucking ideas from the box and setting those that resonate aside.  But they’re still only chimeras – characters without a story; objects without a purpose; tableaux without a context.  If I do nothing with them, they’ll wither and that magical time in the dark will be lost.

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But no fear, the dead of the year is here.  Plenty of time to hone and polish and make sure these dreams take flight.  I’ve returned from that magical tide of myth and magic, back to ‘ordinary time’ and space.  Where the cold crisp mornings and evenings, with the moon bright in a clear sky give space for clarity of thought and the wild wind urges transformation.

Please take a moment to discover one of my more recent blogging companions at Backtowhatever.  She has kindly nominated me for the Inspiring Blogger Award.  Here, you’ll find writing that is poignant and powerful – making beauty of some very difficult personal experiences.

 

85 thoughts on “Box of dreams

  1. That’s a wonderful way to usher in these winter months and keep your creativity honed during them. I find January, February, and March challenging. I don’t want to go out. Even running errands takes energy. Maybe I can diminish that sluggishness with bursts of writing productivity. We’ll see…

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  2. What a beautiful box, Andrea. I love the idea of tucking away ideas for a later time. I do the same with an idea journal. It contains random scribbles of story ideas, character names, places, etc.
    This is a difficult time of the year for me. I need sunshine, warmth and greenery. Thankfully the winter birds are around to make me smile. Lovely post.

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  3. I love the idea of your snippet box! I am almost done with a vision board, which will help me shape my year (or so I hope). Here’s to your snippets coming together in fine form . . .

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  4. As always, your thoughts are clearly and poetically expressed, something that drew me to your blog. I agree with you that this period of the year, right after so many holidays, can feel dead and hard to go through. But days are already getting longer and I’d like to slow the passing of time to give me the chance to fulfill some of my winter plans, the ones I dreamed during the summer. Thank you for reminding us of the moon and all the natural elements that live with, around and above us. We all part of the same world. And thank you for the links, too.

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  5. Andrea, this is a very thought-provoking piece and I hope that your ideas and thoughts and half thoughts are brought to fruition as the year unfolds.

    Unlike you, I see this time of year as one of growth. Maybe it’s because the buds are already on the trees; the snowdrops and camellia are blooming and the days are lengthening wonderfully. Out in the woods, the birdsong is magical.

    Delighted to have you back with your lovely lyrical writing. jx

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  6. I have one of those – box of dreams – and it’s under our bed where it has been gathering dust since we moved to Canada 😀 I haven’t added to it in a long long while… may do so now, your post has inspired me.

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  7. Ooh Andrea, I can so much relate with this post right now. Like you, I love the fall season and the magical days that lead up to Christmas. To be honest, up till now I never really so much dreaded the winter months but strangely enough this time I feel like I’m struggling with this stillpoint in my life. Your blog feels like a comforting cup of hot chocolate right now. I also keep a virtual box of idea’s and stories but I like the idea of a real box. It may give more ‘body’ if you know what I mean (like part of an organic processing) To quote one of our fellow bloggers; you truly have a gift Andrea. I’m grateful to have like a box of poetically inspired vitamins for the soul close at hand – cause that’s what it feels like.

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    • Thanks so much Karin. I think it’s really January that is the problem Karin! Once we get to Imbolc, I think you can feel the change in the air, the freshness of spring – I guess we just need to think of this month as a pause, time to catch our breath 🙂

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  8. Andrea, this is lovely, honest and inspiring. When I was in high school and just beginning to write short stories for the school newspaper and contests, I wrote down every negative comment a teacher or fellow student made, or every contest where I didn’t make a showing, and I kept them all in a canning jar so I could draw them at random and challenge myself to learn from them.
    Your post is so much better, and I thank you!

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  9. You are like the spring bulbs which have been buried deep gathering in what is needed to burst forth in style. (And each year the same bulb will produce something just a little different from the year before!). They have only a short time to bloom. Your resources look as though they will sustain you much longer. 🙂

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  10. I am in England at the moment and enjoying this quiet, dormant time of year that does not really happen in Spain. I am looking forward to seeing what new things grow from out of your little wooden box, Andrea 🙂

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  11. I always find inspiration in your posts, and the box of dreams intrigues me! I was recently going through a box of textiles — glittering little fat quarters of patterned Japanese silk that I used to cut into squares and make flower hair ornaments out of — and I reflected on the fact that in my journals, I hoard snippets of stories in a similar way, all jumbled up together, only some of them getting put to use. Now I’m thinking about freeing the best of them from that journal… I get so fixated on The Big Project, it would be good to shake things up now and then for a shorter piece, picking an idea or a character or a color or a pattern at random. Thanks!

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    • Thanks Sunshine – that sounds like a wonderful box! I could have written them in my ideas notebooks, but I wanted a way of keeping this year’s ideas fresh and to put them to use. It’s like your whiteboard in a way – something to keep them visible and at the front of your mind 🙂

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  12. I’m a bit late to the party here this week, I see, but I too just love your box of dreams – so much more satisfying than an ordinary notebook or journal. I think I might have to steal your idea for myself and then take a strip out every now and then and just write whatever turns up. That would be fun as well as discipline – something I sorely need in my writing world.
    Wonderful post Andrea, thank you for the inspiration 🙂

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  13. a wonderful post Andrea!! you have inspired me in this rather bleak time where my energy level is so low that there are seeds inside us transforming and struggling to break out of the frozen ground. All the best with your creative bones!!!

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  14. Maybe my inactivity in recent weeks is simply ideas germinating out of sight Andrea. But so true – noting can be continually vivid and active. There has to be rest and regeneration. Thanks for reminding me that lack of activity is not necessarily time wasted.

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  15. Your wooden Box of Dreams is lovely. it’s fascinating to read your thoughts for future writing and how you do your planning. The comments on your post are bursting with newness and promise. You sparked a good conversation. I’m touched and honored by your mentioning Winter Transition. Also I checked out Backtowhatever and was taken by her blog. ❤

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  16. Beautiful…and thank you for giving me a new perspective to consider about this time of year. I was also just thinking “now what?” and feeling very unsettled about it. You have given me reason to stop and consider….and perhaps just be quiet ….

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  17. I need a Box of Dreams! I write things down on slips of paper, in journals spread about all over the house, on backs of magazines, and then of course lose them or forget where I’ve put them! How hard is it to have one central place, I ask myself? As I’ve said before, I too love the autumn months leading up to Christmas but find this time of year quite difficult as so many do. It’s lovely to be reminded of the season giving us clarity of thought on these cold, winter, moon-lit nights. Beautiful post Andrea.

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  18. I love how you ritualize the everyday, Andrea, celebrating creativity in its smallest and grandest forms. The box with the scraps of paper is such a lovely idea (it’s your father’s box, right?).

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  19. I have learned so much from you, Andrea. It is so insightful to read a writer’s process. And you are so kind to share it. We will all benefit from your “slip into winter” and your box of dreams….I can’t wait!!

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  20. I’m hopeful this darkest season will see my writing gathering strength. For the first time in too long, a manuscript is growing in length—a good feeling that offsets the cold and dark of January and February!

    I love the idea of your Box of Dreams. And I hope the new year sees them bursting with growth.

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  21. What a beautiful way to savor your dreams. I don’t keep mine in a box, but in a journal, and every once in a while I look at them and wonder. Some I know I’ll never work on, while others are possible. Happy 2015!

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  22. Andrea,
    Lovely writing! I’m drawn to your “tool” box of dreams~ inspirational pieces, quotes, snippets, and story seeds. I have tried to use my phone notes to record “bits;” although your technique appeals to me. The process of putting pen or pencil to paper and the act of securing the musings into a box seems more “certain”or lasting, certainly more beautiful than a phone!

    I, too, prefer the “darkest,”winter months, “the slip into winter,” and seem to write their characteristics into my stories and settings. It’s a deep call, almost a “voice” that brings out my most creative work.

    A beautiful post!

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    • Thanks Lynne 🙂 I suppose it gives them, not an urgency, but a time frame – this year’s ideas to be worked with or lost. Though I wouldn’t ever lose them, they’d be transferred to a notebook if I didn’t use them this year. But it is good to be able to pluck them from the box and work out which ones speak to me.

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  23. I have a box exactly like that one, but it’s full of silly and rather crud bits of jewellery that I never wear. Now you’ve given me a brilliant idea (as you often do, Andrea), so I’m going to get rid of the jewellery and fill it with creative ideas instead. Never too late, even though the new year is now underway.

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  24. I love boxes–I think it’s so cool that you have an actual box of dreams. I am rather solitary so I find this time of year oddly invigorating. All the big holidays are done, and I can pull into my Kour cave and do all the things I want to do without any distractions. The weather is the perfect excuse not to venture out much. It’s definitely a very inner time of year.

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      • Summer is tough. I hate being hot. And I’m not one for big parties and events. Though outdoor parties are better because you can wander off when you need to. 😉 Oh yes, that does sound lovely. The ocean is so much calmer when it’s not beachgoing time. 🙂

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  25. Love this idea of a dream box. I am a hoarder of sorts and do collect memories but never really thought of them as a dream box. It seems so much more sweeter now, the thought of putting them together and going through them years later and as you’ve said, it could be anything that could help us be more creative. Thank you for this tip.xoxo

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