The Big Paper is out again. This is a good omen – like sunshine after rain or daybreak after a long night. It means my ideas are overflowing from their usual recesses of an A5 journal or a computer screen. Space! They demand. Give us space to stretch and wander and have a good look at each other! Let us mingle and mix in that alchemy of intention and imagination! Let us play! So, out comes the Big Paper.
I like the Big Paper because I’m down on the floor like an 8-year-old when I write on it. I use coloured markers that make thick and satisfying lines and squeak agreeably as they leave trails of ink on the paper. I use arrows and squiggles and fill things in when I’m daydreaming. There is ample room for afterthought, for putting ideas down before putting them in order, and for white space, just in case.
Today, the Big Paper is about my writing directions over the next few months. You may remember that I took time away from writing, blogging, and facilitating Writing Circles last January to take on the challenge of teaching physics in a local independent school. It was an invaluable experience – difficult, interesting, and useful in clarifying for me how I want to spend my time and my teaching.
It turns out I’d rather find ways to guide and support people who are telling and capturing their own stories than work really hard at getting kids to arrive at the correct answers to someone else’s questions.
When I’m at a crossroads of career and calling, I often think of Howard Thurman’s remark, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” As much as I love physics and as much as I love teaching, teaching physics no longer makes me come alive.
Big Paper makes me come alive.
Watch this space for the return of Writing Circles in the Autumn.