Ideas and Time Wasting

I’m blogging today as a weak substitute for Sharon. We’ll all wish her back even sooner if you wade through too much of my brain ooze. However, let us forge onward!

This month’s blog theme is writing using pictures to stimulate the writerly brain to come up with stories or components of stories. I’m staring wheat harvest in the face because my other job is a Southwest Kansas farmer’s wife. I’ve just spent the last two days clearing the decks (this would also include my desk surface) for the next three week’s fevered cooking and whatever else essential activity. I’ll find out at the end of each day what was required that day. It is as if my life will not be plotted but written as a famous author once said ‘by flying into the mist’.

Part of what became a part of the ‘clearing of the decks’ today was to toss all of those enticing ideas, articles, and pictures in the trash. Gulp! How could I do such a thing? Easy. There are too many to keep track of, make sense out of, or even attempt to file them in a meaningful way. I started to sort them and all of a sudden realized how stale they felt. I’ve seen them all a couple of times. That evidently was enough. They suddenly felt like leftovers. You know the ones—those changing shape and color at the back of the refrigerator. Somehow, no longer as appealing as they once were in their raw state.

I wanted to think of something new. So, off they went. The feeling was cathartic! Free, empty, a blank slate, I could now let my imagination go without fearing I was missing some essential essence. Imagine the time I have wasted by gathering, piling, sorting, re-sorting, re-stacking only to end up tossing the entire batch. Why did I do it? Because the adventure of writing this blog on my turn only a few days ago was enough to let me know that my mind doesn’t use external pictures. How wonderful to find that out about my writerly self. I wouldn’t have ever known that to be the harsh truth if I hadn’t been asked to stretch myself that direction as a writer for the goal of this month’s blog.

Do I have pictures? Yes. But not for writing. They are my mind’s relaxation and they hang on my walls to sooth me as I admire different things about them. I also have a port hole from a ship hanging on my wall. And a pair of size 4 black high heels from the forties. A Chinese puzzle box. A conch shell which occasionally I pick up and blow. Yes, they actually do sound like they do in the movies—loud and full and last, my secret vice, a black box of clippings of unusual deaths (the robber who died in the back of an armored car when it went around the corner and bags of change shifted and…) and stunning ironies. But the rest of the stuff. Gone. As of today.

I’m not going to begin to say that gathering things and pictures and inspiration aren’t a useful activity, but obviously not for me. For my muse, she whispered to me, “time’s awastin’.”

Give yourself permission to be different. You’re a writer. Each of us comes at our craft and use of our talent differently. Good luck with finding the dimensions of your talent. I’m thinking that for each of us it is much like the blind man feeling his way around an elephant. Sometimes we find the foot, sometimes the tusk.


Joan Vincent said...

Individuality is what makes the stories we write so different and yet we still have so much in common. There is a similarity in our struggles and triumphs that come from "flying into the mist." I love that phrase--who was the author, Nina?
A porthole on your wall--I can see a different part of the world reflected off the glass when you glance at it. What a story prompt that is.
The simile of the elephant for writing is so fitting--a reflection of your astute observation. I think I just found the ear but is that really what it is? Ahh, the adventure of writing. A great post.

Penny Rader said...

Great post as always, Nina. You always make me think.

I'm trying to picture size 4 high heels. Would love to hear more about the contents of the black box. :D

Joan, Jo Beverly talks about flying into the mist here .

(Yay, I figured out how to embed a link in the comments! Here's hoping it works. :D Thanks, Rox!)

Reese Mobley said...

No matter your topic, you never fail to entertain. Thanks for posting something that made me think and wonder and picture your office.

Nina Sipes said...

I'm sure that Penny is right and that's the author of the article I was reading. She wrote a very good one. She said she wanted to speak out because she felt that there was too much pressure put on new writers to all conform or be felt to be writing 'wrongly'.

Nina Sipes said...

The high heels are tiny. They belong to a friend of mine's mother who is past her high heel days. These are out of the fifties and are open toed with lovely black leather bows that have cut outs. They're the exact kind of shoe I've always wanted to wear, except I have flat feet and they are size NINE! So, I have my dream shoes and my feet don't hurt!!

Nina Sipes said...

My office is a scandal. It is the largest room in the house next to the living room. I love it. I'll have to figure out how to post pictures.