There’s something compelling about a door.
Anything can be behind a door. Open the door and a story begins. Or maybe it ends. But for sure, the doorway stands between what was and what will be. Which explains why Janus, the Roman god for whence the month January comes, is perfectly suited for this first month of the year. Janus represents the transition, the both-sides-of-the-story; he’s depicted with two faces, and often found adorning doors, or gates, or archways. That’s Janus–and January–for you. You never know what you’re going to get until you open the door.
I was sorely tempted to just stand on the other side of the door for this January and wait until I felt a little stronger, a bit more hopeful. But eventually, I stepped through.
Do you remember that game, “Mother May I?” I played it when I was just a wee girl and I taught my kids how to play it. One of my favorite ploys in the game was to allow a child to get almost to the finish line and then on the next turn, when the smug kiddo had just inches to go, I’d say, “Joey (because he was the oldest and best able to handle the vagaries of life), you may take THREE GIANT STEPS! (Pause for a beat or two) BACKWARDS!” (Oh, don’t get worked up, Joey would almost always win. And he learned important lessons about the Game of Life along the way. But now that I think about it, he will not so much as play a game of cards with his dear, sainted mother today. I believe I’ve suddenly had an insight as to why.)
Anyway, I really, truly wanted to take three giant steps backwards this January. Or maybe just call out, “Do Over!” the way my kids would when they didn’t like the way things were going. But those aren’t exactly very effective strategies in the grown-up world. So I just pulled myself up by my faith and carried on.
And then I remembered that Thomas A Kempis, who was a veritable font of quotes that one could copy on notecards and keep handy for inspiration, had one particular quote that should perhaps be above January’s door:
THEY TRAVEL LIGHTLY WHOM GOD’S GRACE CARRIES.
(And for those of you who’d like a little writing inspiration, The Muffin is also a veritable font this month, with my two posts, The Secret to Success, and Just for Today, For Writers (Part Deux) in the offerings. I wish for you a year full of writing happiness, and I hope you’ll let me know all about your beginnings or endings in 2021!)
Great thoughts about doors!
Thanks, Tina, and I think you have a new book coming out? I need to catch up on my news!
I used to do an exercise at workshops:you are looking on or out of a door. Sopw don’t tell. Always interesting responses.
An excellent prompt, Linda! I might borrow that one for a workshop. 🙂
Cathy–Another great (fun) prompt is a car commercial. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=525P9K0KXRk
After people watch it, have them begin a piece with, “Don’t tell…” The results are usually quite rich…
Great idea, Sioux! I had a story open with a car scene…hmmm. What did I do with that story? 🙂