The world is made up of lines. Lines that connect. Lines that divide. Lines that intersect. Lines invisible and lines visible. Lines as thick as the Great Wall of China and lines as thin as an invisible filament.
I am beginning to think this metaphor of lines might play a significant role in my life. I noted yesterday that I would like to erase all the lines that divide us. But perhaps I need to understand the lines before I can change them.
What would happen if we learned to control the lines, using them only as a means of connection not separation?
I am feeling my way toward a new writing project, one that explores these lines of connection and separation. I’m not sure where this will head, but today I want to share a few old pieces of my writing that somehow relate. The first is a character description of a woman who has created the connecting lines between herself and her family, but those lines are fragile threads. She has also drawn thicker lines around herself, lines growing in weight and strength that they may be impossible to destroy.
Image of a Lost Woman
A woman sits and thinks back on her life, wondering where she went wrong. When did she suppress all her feelings? When did she allow the concerns of her world and her family to become more important than her soul? Is it too late to regain what she has lost?
Her flame red hair has faded now, interspersed with hair of white. Her face shows the lines of time, but also of frowns. She has forgotten how to smile, and the tracks of her frowns lie ingrained deeply in her face. When her granddaughter was born she smiled the biggest smile she had in a long time. It was painful to see straining muscles that had been stagnant for so long.
Why had her life become like this? She thought she had done everything right, raising three bright children, providing them with a comfortable home. But now they have grown and moved far away. That makes her feel like a failure, because in the fantasy world children stay near their families so that they can always be together. Her children say that she has not failed, that she has given them the tools to think, explore, and live beyond expectations. But she knows they are wrong. They should want to be near family. They should want to have family gatherings and rely on each other. She worries that when she dies, they will lose touch with each other, like she did with her older brother. They kept in touch with the obligatory phone call now and then, but she never really liked talking on the phone. They saw each other every few years, until the end. She spent time with him before he died. She does not want that for her children. But she fears this will happen.
It must be her fault, she thinks. But where did she go wrong? She has committed herself to her family since the birth of her first daughter. She has tried to make everything perfect, and do everything right. But now she feels alone, and like a failure. Perhaps she lost something important along the way.
The second piece of writing I’d like to share with you today comes from an old blog post called Dots, Lines and Connections. I share this with you because the image of lines has obviously influenced my life in many ways. Here is a passage from that post (but feel free to visit the post itself for the whole thing):
As I’ve gotten older, I have tried to find and connect the dots in my life. Each dot represents a person or an experience. My own dot is in there too, near the center, but there is no true center to this complex image. Sometimes the lines don’t connect smoothly, and twist around to reach other dots. As this complex web grows, sometimes dots never meet, never link, never connect. It is impossible to connect everything to each other, everyone to each other. But I am fascinated by the intersections and the connections that bring people in and out of my world.
In the living version, lines stretch into the distant past and sometimes break. But sometimes they reconnect with stronger cords. There is some old saying that says something about friends being there at the right time in your life. Perhaps that is true, but once someone has become a part of my life, I’ve connected the dots between myself and that person. The line may stretch and fade, but they never truly disappear.
One other interesting note, “The Line Between” was also a working title of one of the fantasy fiction stories that I’ve started and stopped a million times.
Maybe the metaphor of lines will lead me somewhere. I just have to follow the dotted line.