Is ordinary common, bland, unpretentious and mediocre?
Or familiar, modest, humble and natural?
Common is the uncomfortable metal chair beneath me, amid a sea of folding metal chairs, in an audience of humanity required
to attend, diminished under harsh fluorescent light, in the large room with a failing sound system, breathing stale air. Familiar is
I seek each morning, a place within easy reach of my bookshelf, a cup of hot coffee, an east facing window that frames the sunrise.
Bland is a featureless container filled with overcooked white rice. Mediocre is something forgettable. Unpretentious tempts me to hide my vibrant self. Modest is a bowl of wild rice soup, creamy and delicious. Natural is a feast for the senses, an immersion into creation. Humble is knowing the radiant colors within me come from God.
Words are unpredictable, multifaceted, misquoted, misinterpreted. I seek words that reflect the person I strive to be, words selected by the person I am today.
Not the rusting metal of false comparisons, but an acceptance of my place on a continuum – some are better writers, with more training, wider life experience AND some are just beginning to write, learning to play with words and individuality and life experience.
Not the overcooked ego of false expectations, but an examination of my intentions – to write words so important to me that my book will be a free downloadable pdf, given away to all who wish to read OR my own recognition of a yearning for public success, a hardcover book on a best sellers list. No wrong or right, simply an envisioned and articulated goal.
Not false investments, but a celebration of the audience – a sea of individuals cushioned by comfortable worn upholstery and pained by time spent on folding metal chairs. People sitting on bar stools, tufted leather office chairs, woven mats, concrete curbs, simple stools, dirt floors, park benches, wingchairs and swings.
My strong offer to the world awaits within me.
Most Ordinary by Patti Digh
Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
We are our most potent at our most ordinary. And yet most of us discount our “ordinary” because it is, well, ordinary. Or so we believe. But my ordinary is not yours. Three things block us from putting down our clever and picking up our ordinary: false comparisons with others (I’m not as good a writer as _____), false expectations of ourselves (I should be on the NYTimes best seller list or not write at all), and false investments in a story (it’s all been written before, I shouldn’t bother). What are your false comparisons? What are your false expectations? What are your false investments in a story? List them. Each keep you from that internal knowing about which Emerson writes. Each keeps you from making your strong offer to the world. Put down your clever, and pick up your ordinary. PD