Writing Practice and the Muse who is ALWAYS THERE
Writing Leap #47
Happy November to all you Wonderful Writers!
Writing the unexpected joy, in memoir, fiction, a poem, is great writing practice for evoking a moment. It’s a chance to filter everything out except those words, those sounds, those smells, that rhythm that calls up the feeling of the moment—for the character and for the reader.
Have you been startled by something that dazzles you lately? Touched by a kindness? Go ahead all you idea-filled writers out there! Practice evoking a joyful moment. Maybe it will turn into a longer piece or turn out to be a horrible moment. Just start.
The old man stared at the picnic table by the sand dunes. The sun was peeking down through the clouds, covering half the table in warmth. Crisp, November ocean breezes blew some dried seaweed off the weathered table top.
“C’mon Finnegan.” He pulled his big old brown dog, a mix of god-knows-what, in close. “Let’s do it.”
Leaning on his dog and with a bit of effort, he pulled one leg up on to the table bench. Oof. He stopped to take a breath. “Bossy Dr. ‘Cautious’ would have ten fits if he saw me now, Finnegan, stiff as I am and creaky as I am.” The old man had dizzy spells sometimes and a hip that annoyed him.
He hoisted his other knee beside his foot. “O.K. O.K. I’m almost up, Finnegan.” Oooof. He pulled himself on to the tabletop and turned himself bit by bit, ouch, ouch. He lay down on his eighty-nine year old back. Aaaaah. The table was hard and the muscles in the top of his back hurt. He scrunched up his scarf and put it under his head. Yes. Better. Finnegan settled on the bench just beneath him.
The old man smiled and switched his awareness to the cloud pictures passing by in the sky that didn’t end. A slow sense of peace and utter contentment began to release his body into the warm wooden tabletop. The smell of the ocean and the lullaby of the crashing waves delighted his senses.
“I miss you Lizzie,” he said to a floating cloud. Was she clucking at him for doing such a darned foolish thing—climbing up on top of a picnic table? No, no, she’s glad I tried and did it. She only wanted me to be happy. Always.
After a nice long stretch he took one last blissful breath and began the trip down from the table top to the sand. Steady, steady, I can do it. O.K. O.K.
“C’mon Finnegan. I think we deserve a nice shot of whiskey.”
LINKING THE ARTS
This does look like a lovely spot to dream some new writing ideas or discover that elusive answer to a revision problem.
A Favorite Word: Contentment
Not to push this too far, but for me to feel deep contentment is what I imagine might be a state of grace.
A Favorite Book
The Outermost House by Henry Beston is full of unexpected joys at the seashore.