i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

How many times will you try before you quit?

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What is in the cardboard box in the back of your garage? You know the box I mean. It’s the box you carried with you ever since you were eight years old. Or maybe you were six when you packed your box. The box is taped shut. You haven’t opened it in years.

I think you opened the box once in college. You had the box open for about a week, and then you taped it shut again.

You stored the cardboard box under your bed as a child. You put the box in your backpack when you went to Europe and you took it with you in your briefcase on your first job interview.

It is time to open your cardboard box and take out your running shoes.
You tried to run, but you got a cramp in your side and you quit.

It is time to take open your cardboard box and take out your paintbrush.
You tried to paint, but the teacher laughed. You put your paint brush in a cardboard box and taped it shut.

It is time to open your cardboard box and take out your Algebra textbook.
Your professor said, “You are not good at math.” You believed him and dropped out of school.

I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Thomas A. Edison

Rip the tape off your cardboard box today and take out your dream.

Try again. And this time, don’t quit.
Who knows, you might just invent a new light bulb.

What is in your cardboard box?

Please tell me in the comments.


I am participating in the March Slice of Life, at Two Writing Teachers. You can read all of today’s posts here.

The Slice of Life March writing challenge.

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • I love what you are doing over here, Pamela! There’s a box I need to open 🙂

  • I have so many cardboard boxes, Pamela. There are so many different ones from so many different times in my life. All sitting in my basement, waiting to see the light of day again. Maybe it’s time to peel the tape back and see what is inside just one of them.

    • pamelahodges

      Stacey, just pick one box today and open it.

  • Great post, Pamela.

    Poems are in my box. Poems I’ll be organizing to put in books so others can read them. Lots and lots of poems. Like this one.


    dreams lie dormant in our souls
    wanting to be awakened
    needing to be nourished,
    opportunities exist
    otherwise so overlooked
    it matters not our different dreams
    or harsh reactions we have heard
    it matters only what we do
    with what we dare to dream inside,
    and if we stretch our minds to grow
    there is no place we cannot go

  • You are making us work, Pam. I like thinking about what’s in my cardboard box, but I’m not sure yet. You are such a creative lady.

  • Nanc

    Your posts are so challenging lately. I admit it, I don’t work too hard to keep that box open or especially open the failed things. But I think the one I’ve worked at the most has been this writing thing over the last year. I’m also starting to learn Spanish. xo

    • pamelahodges

      Spanish? Oh Nanc, you are a brave woman. Writing gives a voice to your dreams, and words to your thoughts. I look forward to reading your writing in March.

  • gillis

    I think rather than a cardboard box, I’ve got a full trashbag in need of sorting. Some things in there need recycling – like thinking I have to be SuperMom, before I can spot the gems left over. For me, paring down and simplifying needs to happen before I can see what really shines for me.

    • pamelahodges

      Oh dear. We seem to have a lot in common. I have a full trashbag as well. Please let me now when you find your gems. SuperMom can be a hard cape to wear.

  • Sue

    Smiling……message received. It’s awesome watching you “bloom” as you open your box Pamela. 🙂

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Sue. Happy you got the message 🙂

  • What is in my cardboard box…a surfboard! Am excited to “open” it up and take lessons with my daughter this summer! Thanks for the reminder!

    • pamelahodges

      A surfboard! How fun. I would love to see photographs of your first lesson.

  • My box has been emptied and refilled many of times. This weekend, as I finish the last class for my masters work, I am ready to look into my box again. I have no idea what I will find in there now, but I am excited to figure it out.

    • pamelahodges

      A new adventure. How exciting! And congratulations on your Masters.

  • writekimwrite

    Thank you Pamela for being such an encouragement and trailblazer! I am a little sad to admit this but I can’t seem to locate my cardboard box much less open it. Sometimes I think I need to open my eyes, accept my limitations, stop trying to reinvent myself (which causes me so much stress sometimes) AND just rest that God has me where He wants me. Oh there is my cardboard box…in it is a life of trust that God will provide all that I need just when I need it. Also,trust that all His promises are true and that He has good works that He has prepared in advance for me to do. May it be so, a dream turned reality.

    • pamelahodges

      Yes, God has a plan for you. A plan to prosper you and not to harm you. A plan to give you hope and a future.
      If you were to reinvent yourself, what would you be Kim?
      My daughter wanted to be a monkey.
      Just start small, and try to dream again. Don’t listen to the negative voices from childhood, or from women’s magazines.
      You are special. God made you, and He loves you very much.

  • What a great image. I’ve taken lots of things out of my box…I love teaching, I’m working on a post grad degree, love my work with NWP. I guess I need to get those running shoes out and get myself moving.

    • pamelahodges

      Run Julie, run! I wonder where you will end up?

  • Love this image. Hmmm. I’m about three months from being an empty nester and am trying to decide what is in that box? Watercolors? Spanish lessons? Or ????

    • pamelahodges

      ??? I am curious.

  • fireflytrails

    As always, I love your images. Thank you for connecting a dream to a concrete object – how real it becomes! My problem is not acting on a dream, but rather following it through. My current dream is to pursue more art. I am taking a class in Adobe Illustrator, but I want to pursue (and follow) other art paths as well. There are lots of art dreams in my box.

    • pamelahodges

      Lots of art dreams. I wonder what color your cardboard box is?
      Oh, Adobe Illustrator. How exciting. Please share when you create something. I have always wanted to take that class.

  • Writing is in my cardboard box. It has not been in there since I was a child. I have let it out, even embraced it, in the past. But I was afraid to let it out again. I did not want to write the words. Or read them. Now I am writing because I don’t want to lose them.

    • pamelahodges

      Ellen, your words are out now. You have a story that only you can tell.

  • This is a cool post! I loved the image of the box and unwrapping your dream. Right now, I am living my dream–teaching, coaching speech, writing, my place at the lake. Guess I need to dig down and find a new dream to work on!

    • pamelahodges

      The dream you are living right now sounds wonderful. I wonder what your new dream will be?