Refreshingly Out of Place (Armadillos, Defamiliarization, and Seagulls)
My morning routine is to get up early, read Scripture, pray, write, and then go for a jog. This morning was ordinary in its sequence.
While running, I was listening to The Inside Creative Writing Podcast with Brad Reed. (Check it out if you are a writer or like to write.) The podcast was on defamiliarization, which basically means the art of making the ordinary as beautiful as it should be. Defamiliarization shocks us out of boring complacency in our writing (and in our life).
As I turned the corner towards the end of my run, I noticed something unusual on the sidewalk. As I trotted closer, I noticed it was an armadillo. He returned my perplexed look, wondering what this tall bipedal creature was doing on his sidewalk. Then he scurried off, his claws tsk-tsk-tsk-ing on the concrete of someone's driveway as he retreated into the bushes.
Enjoying the irony of the moment, I continued towards home. Walking inside the house, a flock of seagulls flew by overhead, singing their signature song.
Now we live in the suburbs of North Texas, so neither of these animals were expected. They were refreshingly out of place. The podcast extolled the importance of beautifying the ordinary in writing while the two oddball animal sightings were anything but ordinary.
God is such a story-teller. What I took from this morning's run is that: 1) the ordinary is beautiful if we pay attention and 2) things that shock the ordinary add color to life.
I pray that in your work today, you make the ordinary parts of your labor beautiful. And I pray that you are the armadillo, the seagull, that causes people to stop and think, "hmmm...that's different."
Photo credit: Richie Diesterheft via Flickr