So… there is this red rubber ball. A guy at work found it behind a dumpster near work and brought it it. On the ball it said “The Rules of the Red Rubber Ball”. It caused a discussion among my fellow IT-ites at work and it launched me on an adventure of trying to figure out what the deal was with the Rules of the Red Rubber Ball.
Turns out, the deal is… this guy Kevin Carroll is a motivational speaker who started his life’s passion on a playground playing with a… you guessed it… red rubber ball… you know the kind… the ones that kids played kickball with in grade school.
My literal red rubber ball experience was when I was in third grade and I was forced to play kickball. I played four about ten minutes… right up until it was my turn to kick. It was rolled… I tried to kick it… I missed… I fell on my face and bled all over the macadam and got laughed at for days.
Needless to say, I was skeptical of anything surrounding those stupid balls.
The idea, though, of the Red Rubber Ball deal is (yeah… motivational speaker… duh) find what grabs your soul, what you would do for free, and keep it as your passion.
I don’t have to think much about what that thing is for me. It’s not a red rubber ball. It’s not sports. For me (yes, mom… Go Figure) it is writing. What would I do for free? Better question… what DO I DO for free. yep… writing.
I remember the moment I realized that I loved writing. I was in 4th grade. I was in Mrs Fitzgerald’s English class. I wrote a short story “The Cat, The Dog, and the Jellybeans”. When I was in 5th grade I got sent to a 6th grade English class and I spent as much time as humanly possible in the Story Corner in Mr Davis’s class. There were projects all over the walls that were meant to encourage people to explore writing. I loved that class. I wrote in depth instructions for tying shoes. I wrote in journals and got an A in advanced English class.
I ended up on the Jr High School newspaper.
I ended up on the Jr High poetry book.
I wrote and wrote and wrote because I loved writing
I filled little green composition books with poetry in High School
Then I realized that I was being made fun of by the people who were my support system. I was so cute going out into the apple orchard and climbing a tree and writing (and reading) when I had time. I was so cute sitting in the hay lofts of the barn writing. I was so cute still clinging to being a kid when everyone knows that people like me don’t write and if they write they never publish and if they publish THEY have to pay people to publish their crap because no one would ever dream of publishing the crap that people like me would write. And no one EVER EVER EVER reads poetry let alone buys poetry.
My red rubber ball was clamped in a vice and run through repeatedly by the shiny shit covered tines of a pitch fork.
It was years before I ever wrote anything again and when I did it was essays not poetry because the voices stuck in my head reminded me how no one writes/reads/buys poetry and how people like me would have to pay someone to bother to read anything.
What is my red rubber ball?
The words that chase each other, the way that Herman and Peanut chase each other on a good day… playing with each other… growling and smiling and enjoying the chase. And there are even days when I work to patch the pitchfork holes in my red rubber ball. I don’t care who likes what I write or who looks on it as so much worthless trash.
It took me a long time to get there
but I’m there.
Love and Light
August 1, 2017