Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Opening the Magic Box

By Linda Grupp Boutin

Do you remember it? The waxy smell when you cracked it open that first time. Your eyes filled with colors unimagined begging you to try them on crisp white paper just to see them better. That wonderful teacher who demanded the big, 64-color box with the sharpener and a real gold and silver crayon. For me, it happened at the beginning of school each fall. Holding the precious recommendations of school supplies, inevitably a new box of crayons headed the list of needed items. Some years, only 8 or maybe 24 crayons might be required, but I could count on a new box of fresh, unbroken crayons.
Brand new set of 108 crayons!

Opening that box, I tried to keep the brand new smell, look, feel to those colors. I wanted to always return one of those soldiers to the position assigned by Crayola. Each vibrant shade and hue of the rainbow had a proper place in the box. Alas, it never lasted. Somewhere along the line, I needed more than one precious stick at a time. Where does this one go? How do I realign them to return to their proper comrades? Ah well, rearrange them now according to my preference, all the blues together, greens grouped nearby, purples near reds, oranges with yellows on the other side, and a white and black along the edge, easy to find.

Now to see what I could do with these magical tools that could transport me beyond the walls of the schoolroom. The Mediterranean Sea took on a deep blue hue, the boot of Italy green and dangling dangerously down into the water, France floating serenely above the sea with a combo of brown mountains and green valleys, Spain and Portugal taking up the position to the west leading temptingly out to the Atlantic Ocean...Or perhaps my glance might take me out the window into the mountains surrounding the San Fernando Valley. My picture always showed the splendor of those nearby hills in purple and blue hues. No amount of arguing could convince me to use an ordinary shade of brown or even green. My mountains shouted out to be painted in brilliant colors. Okay, so I didn't get an A in art, but I had a good time demonstrating my perspective on the subject.

Those magic boxes carried dreams inside, dreams of childhood, dreams of fame, dreams of acknowledgement of our small voices calling to a much larger world. No, though I loved my crayons, visual arts didn't work out for me. Instead I employ words to transport you to another time and place. I celebrate that words can be as vibrant and alive as the most fabulous of reds, the verdant greens, the peaceful blues.

But no matter what your medium might be, visual, fine or folk; writing, short or novel length; singing, gospel or modern, express that element in your soul you wish to share with the world. Don't critique yourself, just follow where the Spirit leads you. Some art explores the beautiful and easy, some brave ones look into our darker sides in a effort to illuminate that other part of the world. Either way, only you can sing your song, so trust it and celebrate that voice the good Lord gave you. By opening that magic box of insight inside you, you will make this world a better place to be because of you.


  1. Vibrant and sharp words, you draw a picture of encouragement, the hues and shades of which we must explore and try, finding the right medium for expression.

  2. What adults forget is that all artists learned from Crayons. Most of the time crayon I used several small sets of primary colors. I used crayon and mixed each together to force the color I wanted, or placed several colors over each other to get that exact dirt brown, or sky blue. Today's art works have all those colors and the children of today use Mossy Green instead of Green. We are creating beautiful works of art.