October 28

Today's quotation:

If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.

Juan Ramon Jimenez

Today's Meditation:

I rarely allow paper to tell me how to write.  Sometimes it's convenient and helpful to write on the lines the way that they go on the sheet, but for the most part I see in paper almost endless possibilities for expression.  I'm in the minority, though, I know.  When I've told my college students to write however they wish on their paper, 99% of them still insist on writing with the lines.  After all, that's what they're used to doing, and that's what's easy.

I can't think of anything positive that comes from that, though.  It's behavior that certainly doesn't get us into the habit of being able to look at things in new ways.  Some of the best advances in life and technology come about when people see new ways of doing old things, or new uses for old tools.  Being able to see things in new ways is a skill that can be practiced, and if we want to begin the process then we need to start somewhere, don't we?  And what better place than an ordinary piece of lined paper that can be used in so many different ways?

A friend in college had a great influence on me--he was majoring in art, and he was able to see almost everything in different ways.  I started to think of him as walking around everything, seeing it from the sides and back and bottom and top while everyone else just looked at it from the front.  I admired him for that, and I took that lesson from him to heart.  I do my best always to look at everything in different ways, and my life is much richer because of it.

So the next time you're faced with a piece of lined paper, take a chance:  write perpendicular to the lines!  Write on the lines, write in circles, write in mirror image--it doesn't matter what you do, because you'll be seeing a new way to use something with which you've become so comfortable that you now take it for granted.  And once you do this, keep it up and try to see the world for all the potential it offers, rather than seeing the limitations that a set-in-stone perspective offers.

Questions to consider:

Have you ever written against the lines on lined paper?

Why do we tend to stick to writing on the lines?

Why are so few people willing to break the rules?  (Pun intended--sorry!)

For further thought:

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.

Henry David Thoreau

  

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