I was looking through the keyhole. A tiny passage cut through brass plates on either side of a solid dark oak door, positioned inauspiciously under a sparkling glass door knob. Don’t believe what you see in the movies: the only thing that can be seen through a keyhole is whatever is directly in front of it.
So if you’re trying to spy on your babysitter (who is soon to be fired), you’re not going to learn a thing.
Keyholes have no peripheral vision.
But imagination, through the tiny scope of a keyhole, can see the whole world as through a wide-angled lens.
I saw Margaret, the wayward caregiver, smoke cigarettes with her other teenage friends. I saw her hold Fifi’s gray poodle arms in the air and make her dance on her tiny back legs in little stops and starts, fluffs of fur looking like a ballerina’s tutu. I saw Margaret watch television on my parents’ bed—the warm, comforting bed where I slept off the mumps and ear aches, where she wasn’t supposed to be.
All those things actually happened, I suppose. She wasn’t fired for nothing. Some I saw happen in broad daylight, others I just heard about. But I didn’t see them happen through one wide green eye, with my round child’s face pressed against the tarnished brass back plate of an antique glass door knob. When I looked through the keyhole, I only imagined I could see it all.
Those antique door knobs are hard to come by now. But don’t think for second that that tiny portal under the knob doesn’t still beckon me to crouch down on one knee and take a peek when I see one.
Claire Burge nurses a fascination with blue doors. Well, it started with a blue door. And as these things tend to go, one brightly colored door led to another and soon she was knocking on doors of all sort of colors in Dublin.
They just keep finding me, these blue doors. I think I might just have to knock on one someday. I quite fancy the idea of asking for the person who answers, to tell me a story, anything really, but the story of a life that paints a door blue is one I would like to hear. (p. 127)
Discuss Your Creativity Process with Us
We’re reading Claire Burge’s new release Spin: Taking Your Creativity to the Nth Degree together this month. Are you reading along? Claire shares delightful, tender stories about her childhood and young adulthood, followed with questions and activities about the mysteries we long to unravel, the places we might overlook life, merry-go-rounding and networking, and more.
What activities did you explore? Did you find roots of your own creativity in your childhood experience?
Considering the stories that unfold behind the blue (and green and red and yellow) doors, Claire asks, “What really intrigues you and keeps catching your attention? What holds you back from exploring it?” Share what might be your “blue door” that comes back again and again, and what keeps you from knocking on it.
Review “7 Counter-Intuitive Choices that Have Aided My Creativity” (Chapter 33). You’ll have to turn the book upside down for this one. Tell us about a choice you’ve made that didn’t seem like it would make a difference in your creativity, but has fostered your growth in some way.
What did you do on the pages of Spin to make the book your own? Perhaps you’ll share your thoughts with us in the comments, or link to a post you’ve written at your own site.
Join us for the full discussion of Spin: Taking Your Creativity to the Nth Degree
Buy Spin: Taking Your Creativity to the Nth Degree now and join us for our book club discussion