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Inspire Yourself–Break the Rules

December 4, 2013


Sometimes creative types need to let it out. Take the edge off. Walk on the wild side. We do this to be free, to feel alive.  When taken to extremes, it’s a good way to make enemies and wind up in jail. In moderation, though, a bit of rule-breaking can wake up the old creative sensibilities. If done immaturely, it can downright change your life.

That’s right. I said “immaturely.” Wanna fight about it?

The joy I derive from breaking rules is immature intrinsically. It also precipitates good chemistry: the evaporation of responsibility from my life. It brings about a reprieve from adulthood and all those willing concessions to taxes and premiums, minimums and protocol that I’d rather do without every so often.

The best rules to break are the oldest ones, the first ones, the ones with sunk tendrils gulched into the soil of the superego — a garden of summer snap please and thank you.

Color outside the lines and the page. Sit so close to your TV that your breath glosses a spectrum of pixels on the screen. Walk outside in your underwear. Wear your shoes with untied laces. Wave down an old van moving too slowly in front of your house. Ask the driver for candy. Go to the public pool and jog a few laps around it. Ruin your appetite for every meal. Buy gum and watermelon. Eat only the seeds. Swallow all the gum. If still hungry, remember…pie is your friend. Go swimming immediately after eating one. Wear your shoes. Ignore those who remembered you from your earlier jogging stunt. Back home, ride a box of loose scissors down the stairs. Go outside. Find a toad. Lick the hell out of that toad. Back inside, taste old batteries. Let them clink inside your mouth like first time french kissers. Change into very dirty underwear. Call 911 to order yourself an ambulance. Take selfies with EMTs and embarrassing underwear.  Post indiscriminately. Stare at the sun. Walk into banks with your hat and sunglasses on. Drink beer before liquor as you read chain letter fine print in the ambient glow of twilight without your glasses–or better yet, wear a stranger’s pair of contacts. If a storm brews, put on your tinfoil hat. Taunt Mother Nature loudly. Make a cross-eyed face. Hold it. Hold it as long as you can. Hold it until your face stays that way. Wear that crumpled face proudly for the rest of your short, irreverent life.

Tomorrow, write it all down. The day after: throw it all away.



  1. Repeat again! Brilliant. Does talking to the birds at the end of your garden, while dressed like the pigeon lady from Home Alone 2, and being listened to by a neighbour walking by, count? If so, I just broke a rule.

  2. I approve of breaking rules when done with short, declarative, well-punctuated sentences. Not sure about writing in 2nd person. That may be going too far.

  3. Where did you get that pic? It’s fabulously fabulous!
    Thanks for the reminder to color OUTSIDE THE LINES….that’s what makes it all worthwhile.

  4. Michael Andreoni permalink

    Great advice. The pieces I’m most proud of happen when i forget about the stuff you’re not supposed to do. Even 2nd person can occasionally work, and let’s not forget 4th person!

  5. I have some rulings which I am currently violating, and it feels so liberating .. I just love this, you’ve written

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