Monday, November 12, 2012
So remember my Insecure Writer's post last week on positivity? The same retreat had a couple other topics, but I am not even going to go in the general AREA of organization. In fact I will go so far as to say when one women was explaining how SHE could be organized, the problem was all the slobs who lived with her (her husband and children) and my friend said, 'oh, I have your problem,' I had the forthright honesty to say, “I AM your problem.” I don't have any delusions of organization. In fact I'd go so far as to say I don't even really WANT to be organized. It looks like a lot of work.
But there WAS another topic that sort of hit home.
You know how writers have all these parties and meetings and relationships between imaginary people in our head? And we can wander through our days perfectly entertained without ever talking to another human being? How you drive from A to B and don't remember ANY of it because you are so engaged in recrafting the scene in your head?
And I get the temptation to let your creative mind fly. I LOVE the worlds in my head. But chances are we are missing some real life experiences when we aren't really in the moment. And if we live some real life now and then, our writing can really benefit.
We did a little activity... Laura (the woman who led this part) handed out strawberries to each of us and told us to pretend we'd never encountered one before. She walked us through experiencing it for the first time, even though, presumably, every one of us had had a strawberry before.
The BIGGEST trick was to SLOW THE HECK DOWN.
Use all five senses. More than once even, for something you are going to eat.
Look at it. Describe it in words. What shape is it. What does it remind you of.
Touch it with your finger. How does it feel?
Hold it under your nose. How does it smell.
Touch it with your tongue—how does it feel now?
Take a bite and hold it in your mouth. How does it taste?
Now chew on it. What's the texture? How does it feel now?
Her point was even the simplest experiences can be really rich if we pay attention.
And there are times we should ALWAYS pay attention. Some of these I'm really bad at. Often I feel very interrupted when my family needs me if I'm writing, but for pete's sake, shouldn't THEY be my first priority? But I'm a bad person that way. I need to work on this.
But the exercise... pick something each day and REALLY experience it. With all our senses. With no competing STUFF in our heads... It can be a walk through a park or a meal. Anything. But practice being in the present once in a while. It's good for us!