I have decided to start this blog in honor of my inner writer who came to life in a dream, begging to come out and play. She gave herself a name, Mary Knox. Awakening from an uninspiring slumber, Mary was reborn in an abandoned bakery. She is a representation of my inner writer, of all our inner writers who are entrapped by the tedious tasks encompassing our everyday lives. Essentially, Mary Knox represents the tortured artist inside many of us who lose our creative spirits in the daily grind. She resides along an abandoned railroad, in an old forgotten bakery. Walking along the railroad is comparable to revisiting a pathway in my brain where I naturally create stories. While this trail is abandoned, it still exists. While the bakery is grey and barren, it still exists and longs for a time of vibrant renewal. We lose these integral parts of ourselves, but they never truly leave us. They wait patiently for the day when the writer returns pen to paper, when the artist returns hand to clay.
I hope Mary inspires you to revisit your art!
I’m teaching in my normal setting surrounded by adult international students. Oddly, though, I’m writing what looks like nonsense on the board, letters that students are supposed to know how to fill in. I see it as a boring game of Hangman. My marker runs dry and I hold it up; as it oozes brown ink, I jokingly say, “What is this?!” An older female student kindly takes the marker from me and throws it in the recycling bin. I find a newsletter from “Mary Knox Publishing” in the pocket of my khaki green capris. The lettering is typed in purple and green, yet somehow comes across as professional and important.
I find myself walking along an abandoned railroad where dry yellow grasses crunch beneath my feet. I’m thinking to myself that it’s impossible, or at the very least out-of-character, for me to be up and moving this early in the morning considering I can barely make it to work by 9 a.m. on a normal day. Still here I am taking a stroll, so there must be a reason.
I happen upon an old, abandoned bakery and suddenly feel like I’m in a different country – somewhere historic, perhaps Europe. I realize this place is a bakery despite the fact that I step inside and there’s not a hint of baked goods, no scent, no visual. I linger behind the grey, stone counter as if waiting to be served in this barren, grey place.
A woman who reminds me of a fairy rough around the edges stands in the back of the room, in front of an unopened freezer. She fixes her floral pink apron, with no need to fix her pixie cut of silver hair. She turns halfway toward me and says something to the effect of, “I’ve been expecting you,” (though somehow sounding less cliché). She slyly purses her thin pink lips and waits for my reply. I stumble to a stool to sit down; meanwhile she approaches me. We converse intensely about her publishing company Mary Knox Publishing, and most importantly how frustrated she is that I’ve stopped writing. All the while she comes closer to my face.
The dream ends with her face on my face, her eyes peering deep inside me. I am barely seeing her original complexion because now we are one – she is me and I am Mary Knox. We say in unison, “When I can find the words, I will find you.”
As I woke, the words “Mary Knox Publishing” and “I will find you” lingered in my mind. My instinct was to Google the first phrase, only to find that Mary Knox Publishing does not exist. Her publishing house is a figment of my imagination. A popular writer named Mary Knox does not exist in Philadelphia. She is a representation of my inner writer.
This manifestation of a bakery is no coincidence. On a practical level, a baker named Mary serves me a wholesome lunch every Wednesday at a farmers’ market. She serves meals in a graceful, creative spirit. Her sandwiches and salads displayed on my parents’ clay dishes are truly works of art. On a more symbolic level, bread represents nourishment. Unfortunately the bakery in my dream lacked the sight and smell of bread; though the door to the bakery remains open. I can always choose to nourish my soul through creative writing. I can always revisit my authentic writer self. Baking the bread in the oven is akin to lighting a creative fire in my mind.
Mary and I bowed our heads together and spoke in unison, “When I can find the words, I will find you.” I felt that our coming together signifies the cohesion of my daily self with my inner conscience. Finding the words, for me, means rediscovering myself. I felt intensely connected with my conscience in that moment, but we both know that this connection will loosen and tighten over time because finding the words is not a simple endeavor.
My dream of Mary Knox was preceded by my marker drying out in class. I believe my conscience was trying to tell me that perhaps my ink has dried out, but all I need to do is pick up a different pen.
English majors remember a time when writing was a daily, essential task. Though Time passes by, and writing passes by along with it. I choose to watch a 20-minute story on television, rather than write a short story of my own. I choose to sweep the clutter off my kitchen floor instead of clearing my head. I restock my fridge with groceries and fail to replenish my soul with creative fervor.
These are habits I choose to break. I choose to bow my head with Mary and revere my desire for creative expression.