Our children’s primary school runs a community recycling scheme. It’s called ‘junk modelling’. You send all your rubbish to school with your children, and then it comes back to you three weeks later, loosely stuck together with masking tape, and with such sentimental value to your children that it never leaves the house again.
My son Jem (age 4) is a particular terror when it comes to this, because not only does he bring home enormous creations and insist on keeping them, but he’s also caught onto the idea at home. I have to do my recycling in secret now, because if he catches me throwing away, say, a Pringles tub, he pulls it out of the bin again: “Look, Mummy, we could make something out of this!”
Sometimes it’s like that with writing, and with God. Christians are encouraged to hand over our rubbish to God, aren’t we? I remember Adrian Plass comparing Jesus’ work on the cross to a big skip, clearing away a life’s supply of trash.
We don’t necessarily expect to see any of that rubbish again, but sometimes it comes back to us, transformed (hopefully) into something rather more useful than a cereal box with a hole cut into it.
On other occasions, we creative types are offered the chance to help with the junk modelling. That’s what has happened with the book I’m trying (very slowly!) to write at the moment. It’s as if God has reached into the bin, pulled out a piece of rubbish that I handed to him years ago, and said, “Oh, look! We could make something out of this.”
And after having the same reaction that I have with Jem, (“No, put that BACK! I don’t want it in the house!”) I’ve been gently encouraged by God to take the offending thing into my hands, look at it from various angles, and imagine it made into something beautiful and useful.
I know from reading other books, especially by ACW authors, that I’m not alone in this experience. Our creator God restores, renews, and recycles - and plays with what we thought was worthless. Just like Jem.
So, what have you got in your life's recycling bin? What kind of metaphorical masking tape would it take to make that piece of rubbish into something new? And do you have any examples of your own junk modelling in the form of writing?
Amy Robinson is on the ACW committee as publicity officer. She has published three books on puppetry and storytelling with Kevin Mayhew, writes regular scripts and materials for GenR8, and blogs when she can. She has decided that 2017 will be the year of completion for three on-the-go projects, including her first children's novel. This is probably unrealistic.