As spring is approaching, or so we hope, my yard is changing. The snow is finally receding after yet another dump last week. There are even a few bulbs trying to brave the mud, cold nights and heavy rain. Part of the expectation of a new season is a revisiting of the past. I began reading some of my older posts to this blog. Here is one from July of 2011. I think it still is pertinent. Do let me know what you think.
I have a game I have been playing for a long time. It’s a solo all-by-myself game. I began thinking about how my game influences my writing.
It centers around observations. As I drive, move through my house, grocery shop, or whatever, I try and find something I have never noticed before. For instance, I drive Route 77 thousands of times a year going from my house to the center of town. It’s about a 15 minute trip on a slightly curvy country road. There isn’t much opportunity for sight seeing if you are the one behind the wheel. But, I still play the game. I try and find one thing that I have never noticed before. Brand new construction, added fences, newly planted bushes don’t count- they are new additions. You only get points for finding something that has been always there and you just didn’t register its presence.
One day I saw an entire house tucked back in the woods. The house had certainly been built many years ago, given its condition. How in the dickens could I have lived in this town for more than 14 years, driving this road so many times and not have noticed a whole house? Granted it was partially hidden behind another and granted my husband was driving so I had the opportunity to sightsee, but an entire house?
So I’ve expanded my game. If I could miss a house, what else could I miss? I walked through my yard and meager garden with the intent of seeing what was growing. Not just what was in bloom, but what were the colors, the shapes, and the sizes of foliage and flowers. The array was amazing. Not because I have much to brag about, but because each plant became a palate of its own.
Yesterday I did the same inside my house. My husband had given me a wonderful bouquet of spring flowers that are sadly about finished. I sat for roughly five minutes and just looked at them. Not studying them- that’s too intense. Rather it’s about watching and letting my mind absorb. I counted seven different colors of yellow in one of the roses.
I am now sitting in my kitchen at our island. I looked up as I was writing this and saw nine unique reflections in my stainless steel sink faucet. Each reflection speaks to some source of light—illumination from the ceiling, early sun through the windows, a white dish left in the sink, a double bounce off of a stainless steel pump for my dish soap.
I have written before about traveling to gain authenticity in my writing. I told you about being in Italy and how that has added a richness to my books. I now posit that there is so much more around us that we probably don’t see, we are missing a connection with not only our surroundings but also with our readers. Through our words they need to join in our experiences.
I’ve decided to take my game to a new level. Over the next few days I’m going to try and eat my food, feel my clothes, and notice the fragrances around me all with an added consciousness. Hopefully you will also notice the details when you read my stories.