Vessels, Names, and Frames

When was the last time you had soda out of a wine glass? My guess is, for most of those reading, the answer is either a while or never.

Why is that? After all, the wine glass is just a glass like any other glass, right? In the simplest terms, it’s a vessel for containing liquid. Just like every other vessel for containing liquid. Why, then, are we not just as likely to reach for a wine glass as we are any other glass when we want to pour a glass of soda?

I believe we don’t because we have given this kind of glass a size, and shape, and name, that pre-determines the likelihood of and is ideally suited for what liquid that glass will be filled with. In this case wine.

Wine glasses are designed the way they are for a reason. They have a stem for which to hold them, so that the heat of one’s hand does not effect the temperature of the wine. The base is wider than the lip in order to provide a wide surface for the wine to breathe while letting the aroma pool in the glass. Yet, the glass opening is not so wide that it prevents your nose from entering while sipping so that you can taste with both senses. All of these things matter in the case of wine. Not so much in the case of soda. Wine glasses are designed for wine, not for soda.

That said, next time you have a soda, grab a wine glass and poor some in as you would wine. Not too much, about 2-4 ounces. Now, hold it and sip it as you would wine. Does it change the experience of drinking soda a bit? Does it feel a bit more classy? Elegant even? For me it does. Just as much as drinking wine out of a juice glass feels a bit less so.

The vessels we create often determine the things that contain them. Also, changing the vessel can change our perception and our experience and what we place in them. Even the name of the vessel can make such determinations.

The same is true of the way we frame ourselves.

Are you a blogger who writes blog posts? Because, if you are, that is a frame. Not only will those hearing that frame paint a specific picture of what it is you do and who you are but you, likely, will do so as well. The picture will be reflective and appropriate of the frame you built to contain it. The frame places certain conscious and subconscious limits. There are many things that frame can contain and many others that frame can not. And that is OK. There has been and will continue to be a place and platform for bloggers who write blog posts.

But what happens if you change the frame?

What if, instead, you are a writer who writes essays? Well now, that seems like the picture has changed hasn’t it? That frame gives the picture new possibilities and new limits. And, though the content and publication may be the same, that frame opens new ideas and responsibilities for what that picture, that craft, can and should be. Bloggers, writing blog posts, belong on blogs. But writers who write essays… Well those could be anywhere! Your essays could be on a blog, sure. But they could also be in a magazine or a book.

So, now comes the hard part. Make a choice. Name your vessel and fill it. Frame your picture and paint it.

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