Every now and then, I refashion the refrigerator door.
This is something that I imagine organized, intentional, and purposeful people do on a regular basis.
In my case, the motivation has more to do with either 1) avoiding some other necessary and unpleasant task or 2) being bored with (or similarly overwhelmed by) the current refrigerator fashion.
The side of the refrigerator rarely gets such personal attention. With its sidelong stance and hoarding tendencies, it lives a prodigal life of its own making. (Which is to say, I have neither the will nor the stamina to tackle 8 years worth of haphazardly displayed this-and-that.)
The fridge front is currently in a Magnetic Poetry season, a season that usually lasts anywhere from 6-9 months (because it’s so intellectually fulfilling with all of its semantic possibilities) and then gets packed away for 2-3 years (because it’s so pragmatically and emotionally taxing with all of its potential organizational disasters…like when the standby adverbs and adjectives start mixing it up so that I can’t even think straight for all of their renegade whimsey).
Words are just about the best thing ever, which makes sense since God used them (in some perfected and sacred form, I presume) to speak the universe into existence.
With all their inherent power, then, the best writers know how to transform them from individual units of nothingness (dry as dust until someone breathes life into them) into startling and exquisite bolts of energy that can be surprisingly life-giving even as they knock us to our knees in breathless amazement.
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
[No digressive Tolkien tangent to follow. Simply this: go here and listen to Tolkien read about Gollum. And this: read The Hobbit if you haven’t. Please. I beg you. Before you see the movie, which is, remember, an adaptation of the book.]
“Oozy smell.” Perfect. Wonderful. Miraculous. Nine letters. Two words. Infinite possibilities.
I recently hosted a play-date with my five-year-old neighbor friend. The plan was to do typical five-year-old-play-date kinds of things – books, snacks, stickers, crafts – but instead, she spent two hours at the refrigerator, choreographing a linguistic dance of sorts with what she dramatically referred to as “all these words that have vowels and competents in them!” Two hours of enthusiastic magnetic lexical ballet thoroughly dismantled the (neurotic) demarcation lines between nouns, adverbs, and adjectives (a good excuse to refashion the refrigerator door in the coming weeks), but it left unscathed the topmost semantic creations from the recent months:
Wild angel worship pierces my night with a vision of sweet eternity.
Translucent and smooth poetry whispers to me and surrounds my broken heart like ferocious love.
Deliciously sacred words dance through the universe and celebrate deep in my blood like fresh morning stars.
And that just about says everything a person could ever hope to say (on a refrigerator door, anyway).