I’ve secretly longed to try my hand at book spine poetry.
Do you know it? If you’ve ever walked into a bookstore or a quirky coffee shop and noticed a pile of books whose titles make poetry or a short story, you’ve witnessed the glory and wonder of book spine poetry.
I’m not even sure that’s what it’s called—but it’s pretty amazing—particularly since I own a small library of books and have trouble assembling even a fragmented sentence from the titles at hand. But one night I was somewhat successful. I came up with this:
Choose Your Own Adventure,
Queen of Dreams.
When Light Breaks,
You Come Too,
The Girl Who Chased the Moon.
No, it’s not the stuff of magic, and there’s not some sort of prize for poetry pending for making a thought out of random book titles from my own personal library. It’s not even a very good example, just an amateur attempt at creating poetry from titles. And yet…
There’s something about it. Or poetry magnets. Or random word association. And it occurred to me that what we see in those things isn’t about how beautifully put together the final words are—though it’s nice when that works out—instead, it’s about enjoying where my thoughts go when I let them wander free.
Choose your own adventure, queen of dreams.
Haven’t I been thinking about adventures of my own, a bucket list growing longer each day? And haven’t my dreams been startling and vivid and haunting my daylight hours? And don’t the brave eat, pray, and love? Don’t we want others to come along on that journey?
Then I began to wonder how many other signs we see from the Universe when we’re open to poetry and words and magic. I’m not talking about believing our horoscope word for word, or living out someone else’s prediction of our lives. I’m talking about noticing the things we notice and spending time thinking about why.
Maybe the message we’re getting isn’t what we think. A billboard advertising engagement rings at a local jewellery store is unlikely to be a sign that we’re getting married soon. But if it keeps catching our attention, perhaps we have thoughts on the future that may need our attention.
Maybe we need to look closely to see what it is about the things that grab our attention while so many other things don’t attract our notice at all. And that’s where the magic comes in—being able to look deeply into ourselves to ask why certain things resonate and what it might mean for us.
For me, I have always loved words. I don’t read books: I drink them in. I devour them. Words have always been life for me. A passion, yes, but as necessary as the air I breathe. For years of my life, I suppressed that part of myself. I insulated myself inside a corporate world by day and stayed long hours in classes and pouring over textbooks at night. I set a goal, and I worked toward it. Writing became what I did very rarely, and then, not at all. Reading became something I did in my free time.
Then my world broke open. Everything I planned fell to pieces, and I found myself standing in the middle of all that destruction—finally free. Heartbroken in many ways, of course, and struggling to start over. But free. And in the midst of everything falling to pieces, something finally fell into place: I began to write again. But not like I did before. It wasn’t just bits of poetry or prose here and there. It was stories, whole worlds.
The universe had given me signs and subtle indications for years that I had brushed off as being the sort of thing other people do—people with more time or money than what I had available. And then the world I created fell apart, and the universe sent my writing through the void of everything I’d lost.
I found my muse, if you will—and it’s never left me.
So I wonder now what other indications are out in the universe of thoughts, feelings, or ideas that we need to explore but keep brushing aside. Recurring themes. Interests that keep snagging our attention but then are put on a shelf for some time “later,” whenever later may be. What if we paid attention though? What if we turned our attention to what interests us and took the time to figure out why? It seems that it might open doors to another path or perhaps shine a light on things in our lives that we need to deal with but that we never seem to make time to process.
Or perhaps we won’t find anything. Maybe there are no signs, and the things that captivate us are just distractions that mean nothing. Maybe book spine poetry is just a thing to do when we’re bored, and we just want to test our ability to create random ideas out of nothing more than a collection of books—but maybe it’s more.
I found my passion beneath the pieces of a life I had carefully constructed and then swept away. But I might have found it before in my love of the written word, my attraction to certain pieces of art, and certain advertisements. I might have found it in the films I was drawn to or the type of people who caught my attention.
The universe could have used skywriting, and I wouldn’t have paid it any mind, or thought it applied to me. But when we open to what’s around us and truly begin to notice the ways certain things resonate within us, I think there are possibilities waiting.
Look at it as a magical treasure hunt that involves opening up our eyes and our minds and being mindful to what attracts us. Maybe what we find is a darkness within us that needs to come to light and be addressed. Maybe we find the deepest of passions. Maybe if we let those things be—our lives will still be just fine.
And me? What will I do? I think I’ll follow the signs. Choose your own adventure, Queen of Dreams.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Editor: Lieselle Davidson