Imagine This

There’s smart science behind why fake it till you make it works so well. John Green’s Paper Towns explains the positive space between becoming and being.

“If you don’t imagine, nothing ever happens at all.”

–John Green, Paper Towns

I just swiped to the very last page of John Green’s Paper Towns. I actually kept swiping, hoping to find more, willing the book to not end, but it did. The story, the concept, the characters, all struck me. But there’s nothing I want to tuck into my pocket for later more than the two sides of the coin of being a paper anything.

It turns out that paper towns are fictitious towns or streets map makers put on their maps to ensure that no other map maker can copycat them without being caught. Because if another map maker puts your made up town on their map, you’ll know they copied you. What an exhausting, and equally intriguing, concept.

The meaning of paper towns and paper people, however, changes throughout the book. It’s also about being fake, what people imagine you to be, and the beauty and detriment of this concept.

Margo, the girl we’re trying to figure out if we’re cheering for in the story, is running away from her fake town and her fake friends and the fake image of herself. It would be so easy to tie the messaging of this story with the pretty bow of Be yourself; no copy cats allowed.

But I’m not quite sure if being paper is so bad all of the time.

Yesterday Jason and I were sitting on our patio discussing our weekend and our kids and our us. Dinner was mostly made, the corn roasted, the chicken almost there, the watermelon already gone. Our kids were “watering the plants” which really meant “getting soaked.” It was hot, our drinks were cold.

He had met with a friend last week about job searching and because of schedules and noise and a busy-ness that comes from I’m not quite sure where, we hadn’t talked about it yet. He was telling me that his friend was looking to do something brand new, to reinvent work life, but when his friend said what that would look like, it was the old job description tap-tap-tapping between them as if it was rolling out from a well-worn typewriter.

His friend couldn’t quite imagine what different would be, so for now, a paper job would do. And I wonder if that’s so bad.

Know what you love, and focus in on that. This is a quote, a mantra, I love. I know about honing in on what I want. About placing my thumbs and my index fingers together to make a tiny, manageable frame, to create a reality I can grab onto. To see what’s there, beyond my noise and my distractions.

But I also know this: we can’t become anything until we imagine it.

There’s such a fine line between sitting with the reality of what is and imagining the possibility of what could be. We need both, we are both.

We’re how people see us and how we see ourselves.

We’re how we act and how we feel and how we think.

We’re who we are in a group and by ourselves and with strangers and with our people.

We’re who we are on social media and when we run into people at the grocery store. In our pajamas. Having just dropped the pasta. And misplaced our wallets. And said yes to the soda, the candy, the takeout.

We’re where we’re firmly planted and where we’re about to step into.

We are and on the cusp of.

We’re our story as it’s already written and how we want it to be.

We’re the perfect mix of what is paper and what is not.

So here’s to imagining and dreaming and creating when we can, and embracing paper until we’re ready to do so.

paper-towns-pin

Great Summer Reading & Thinking:

“We are missing precious moments with our families when we stare enviously at other women’s bodies in the summer.” Dining With Alice

“Daily mama note: Remember the quiet one. He waits for you too.” Good Day, Regular People

“History teaches us that some lives clearly matter more than others.” Fannon Holland at Jenny Chiu’s

“As a writer, my consolation in less than desirable situations is that I will at least come out of them with a story.” Up Popped A Fox

“I’m not sure what possessed me to think that the girls expect a photoshopped reality, that their vision of me is a Pinterest album.” Amanda Magee

A Kindness Wins Story

summit-ave

Image via Summit Brewing

Kindness Wins has officially been out for two months now and because I’m me, I’m now having a book party and because I’m married to Jason, it’s at Summit Brewing.

Please join us on Saturday, June 27th to celebrate kindness with friends old and new. That’s what it’s really all about, isn’t it? Creating a space where it’s easy to see how very threaded together we are.

Everyone is welcome, but RSVPs are required so Summit and Cajun 2 Geaux (the food truck of the night) can be ready for us!

All the details are right here. Please come, you’re invited. Yes, you.

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Comments

  1. I am sitting at my desk, my head a stuffy, hurty mess of allergies and a crying hangover from a Sunday night reflecting on my girls growing up and our last stroller being donated. I spilled coffee in spectacular fashion this morning, has an expletive filled snit, and now have stained, coffee scented rolled up sleeves. This day was feeling like an utter loss, something to endure, and then this. These words, so wide open and gentle, as safe, comforting place to slip in and feel as if I am more than this moment, but also that this moment is ok.

    I have more tears coming, but within them will be several that are for the gratitude of friends like you.

    You are changing lives every day, my friend, every single day. xo

  2. Beautiful.

  3. While having dinner on the deck last night I said (rather casually) “anything is possible”. My 7yo was intrigued. “Anything?” he said. “What if I wanted to fly?”. Without missing a beat I told him OF COURSE he could fly, but he’d have to figure out how to do it–imagine it, if you will. Anything is possible, it just might not be easy. It might require sacrifice and adaptation and hard work and a whole lot of dreaming up the impossible.

    I must remember to live by the advice I give my kids.

  4. Have a blast at the book party!!! I just started reading paper towns and cannot wait to get more into it. While dropping everything sounds nice sometimes, I think it’s better to share with people that you are changing. It’s great to grow and change in new directions.