Take a moment and read this timely advice by Beth Erickson.
This is advice given to writers to peel back the layers and really look at life. It may have been written for writers, but it is excellent advice to everyone. Or, if you journal…
I understand taking my dog for a walk down the same (boring?) route. I don’t usually walk that far, so the scenery doesn’t change. HOWEVER, it looks so different walking slowly (not power walking for fitness) than from a car or a bike. When you go whizzing by you tend to notice only the big stuff. If you are concerned about making an appointment or getting home to fix dinner…you probably don’t notice much of anything at all. How about a flower that just opened today? A bird that is scolding you for going near her nest. Or, at this time of year in Michigan…squirrels frantically gathering nuts and hiding them in the craziest places…or a tree that has turned a gorgeous shade of red almost overnight!
Read this essay below and go take a walk on this wonderful fall day. Try to notice something new you have never seen before. Turn your same boring path into an adventure…OFF THE BEATEN PATH!!!
Life is Camouflaged
By Beth Ann Erickson
Let’s take a minute to discuss what it means to be a writer.
I take daily walks. Not because I want to, but because my little Rat Terrier would act berserk all afternoon if I didn’t. So every morning I snap on her leash and head out the door.
Because I live in a small town, our route tends to be the same: We walk the parameter of our fair city — either clockwise or counterclockwise — resulting in a good twenty-minute stroll.
The unchanging sameness of each days trek has taught me something valuable that I’ve adopted in my life as a writer: Life is camouflaged. Let me explain….
When I began this daily journey around town I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d soon become bored seeing the same houses, the same woods, the same roads day after day after day after day. But that’s not what happened.
As Lucy (my dear puppy) and I traveled our daily path it was as though scales fell from my eyes. I began to see things I’d never noticed before.
Subtle changes my neighbors had made to their houses began to whisper for my attention. Birds I’d never seen before — bright birds like Blue Jays and Cardinals — began to appear like a developing photograph. Squirrels, muskrats, cats, raccoons, fox — all these animals live in the same town as me — and I never knew it.
So here my point: As writers it is our job to notice the things other people can’t or don’t have the time to see. It’s our job to look at something long enough for the camouflage to disappear and for the scales to be removed from our eyes.
We have the daunting task of not only living life, but stepping away long enough to really see what’s going on — in all places, and in all situations. We need to see the hidden bird, the quiet gesture of a coworker, the nonverbal communication other people miss. It’s these observations that make our writing come alive.
In a nutshell, life is camouflaged. Writers need to see through that camouflage and show this real world to others.
Go for a walk today. Or look out your window. See something you’ve never noticed before. Now write about it.