Years ago my sister-in-law gave me a big wooden box filled with old oil paints. It had belonged to her grandfather who was an avid painter. It was also one of his many boxes of paint taking up room in her garage. Needing space to make a rock wall for her husband and a video game area for her boys she gave this particular box to me knowing it would be well-loved.

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The box is full of character and I adore it, but oil painting and ceramics being the only two forms of art I didn’t study in college, its vintage tubes of color remain unused because I am clueless as how to paint with them. I’ve often thought of creating a display case to show off the cool labels and crinkled foil, or setting it up on some table as a decorative display but time seems bent on running away from me so the box hides under my husband’s side of the bed.

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This year I am going to make an honest effort to write. I’ve been talking about it for years, blogging for longer, but I really haven’t anything to show for it. My excuses have been plentiful and well crafted – life is crazy and I don’t have enough time, too much is going on for me to get inside my head and heart, I don’t have a creative space to sit and write in, my health is a mess and I need to get that figured out (that was actually legitimate) I only have my Note 5 phone to type on and it’s just too small, my hand can’t keep up with my mind and it all comes out chicken scratches, blah, blah, blah.

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All my excuses are gone now. Life has finally slowed down to where I can think and breathe, I’m planting a garden to write in, my health is finally sorted out, and most importantly I have a tablet and bluetooth keyboard to type on (did the whole laptop route but the $$$ just kept increasing so I said screw it and basically bought a giant smart phone.)

The truth behind all the excuses? I’m scared to death. There is a big wooden box in my head. It was handed down to me from many different people who filled it full of rusted tubes of memories, ideas, characters, places, and ruins that I have no idea how to paint with. And worse yet there are tubes of mystery paint. I don’t know what colors they hide, if the oil and pigment have separated resulting in an ugly sloppy mess, or if the paint is just dried up and useless. What if the things I really think about myself are true staining my fingers if I touch the old vessels? 

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It is so much easier to keep the damn box under the bed and make excuses to keep it there. But it claws at me, it’s angry and tired of the dust. It won’t let me be at peace and my stubborn resolve is wearing thin. Therefore, 2018 will be the year of opening the box and learning to paint stories with its contents. I’m scared. I’ll probably suck for a while. I might come out looking ugly or incompetent, but I have to try.

So, 2018, take my hand and be gentle with me as I gather courage to move, and create within your timeline. 

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