At school, my class of 5-7 year olds, my colleague and I are learning about the power of the present progressive tense, thanks to Mini Grey’s wonderful Traction Man books. While many stories are told in the past tense, these quirky comic-book style adventures are relayed as happening here and now, like a running commentary: ‘Traction man is here!’ ‘He is diving…’ ‘He is zooming…’ And so on – with each book finishing with ‘They are ready for Anything!’
Imagine if we told our own stories like that.
Me, now, in the Present Progressive:
Amy is sitting in Prime Writing Position in Bed Island. She is chewing her all-important Flowery Pen. Amy is Thinking. Lindsey Stirling’s violin is singing boldly from the tinny speaker of the Nokia. On screen, daisies are blowing jauntily under a summer sky. Amy’s trusty pet sausage dog is getting some rest after a day’s adventures in the grassland beyond the Greenhouse. Amy is ready for Anything!
There is something powerful about this in-the-moment writing style. In Mini Grey’s books, it helps to capture the magic of a child playing and draws us all – young and old alike – into a run-of-the-mill world made rich and heroic by a little bit of imagination.
Maya Angelou wrote “If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present…gratefully.”
Amen to that. Today I found myself praying, ‘help me to appreciate the present’, and it struck me that the here and now is just that: a present. A gift to be appreciated and enjoyed with all the gusto, imagination and spirit of a child with their toy.
God has given me this present of the Present, right now. The pen in hand is scribbling. This peaceful room is holding. This quiet farmhouse is standing, rooting me and rooting for me. The stars outside, in a clear Spring sky, are shining. The music playing through my phone is heralding each new moment, each new Present. And I am drinking it all in. I am thanking this God-Author.
And I am ready for Anything.