Writing is Listening

•April 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Shimoni:

Guest Blog––from the Dog.

Originally posted on The View from Down Here:

Writing. A cakewalk some might think. Sit down with a cup of warm milk and a box of chicken flavored dental treats and pound the keyboard. For one who has inflexible toes, and no opposable thumbs, it’s an impossible scenario. To the canine writer, the closest comparison might be the paraplegic. Let me tell you why: it’s all about listening.156059336-124599_238x238

I propose a different point of view (I’m a dog): Writing is not a cakewalk, it’s a “dogwalk.”

A dog pulls the master along, pausing here and there to sniff a clue––or drop one. And so the writer leads the reader, imagining clues to add along the way as a path is created, hoping the reader will recognize, however subconsciously, the ones they’ve deposited.

How?

The written word of the author, as recited in the mind of the reader.

Ruh. You don’t have to be a canine ophthalmologist to know this.

View original 525 more words

The Alchemy of Beauty

•January 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

What is beauty?IMG_1710

Something seen, or heard, or felt?

When experienced, what is the result? It draws us in, engenders pleasure. There is a physiological alchemy to it that transforms us. We may leave the beauty behind (quit the museum, turn off the music), but the sense of it is captured in memory that can be called upon at anytime.

That feeling, defined: Appreciation. The sensation most like love. Response is visceral when we look out over the Grand Canyon, examine a Renoir, listen to Beethoven (or Bob Dylan), or hold a child in our arms.

premature_infant1

But the simple memory of these things also calls forth feeling. The feeling of beauty is what changes a person. The feeling of love, as well.

If beauty is feeling, and appreciation closest to love, one can intuit the importance of beauty in our lives. And the definition of beauty is as diverse as those who appreciate it.

diversity

The object matters not. The feeling is the thing. Feeling is always the thing. Universally available at anytime, anyone has the freedom to go there. There is a certain liberty attached to beauty and one’s sense of it. We are all free to appreciate whatever we wish.

995488_202798693214318_918436734_n

We need beauty as much as we need love. We need love as much as we need freedom. A equals B equal C.

Accesible anytime. Transformational, all.

A Brief Interview

•January 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

A Brief Interview.

The First Song

•December 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Ever wonder who the first person was to sing? And why? Did a lone man walk to the edge of a canyon one night and try mimicing the cry of something wild, like the wind through the trees, or a lonely wolf?

wolf howl, moon, silhouette, full moon 159922

Or was it simply inspiration at the sight of a rainbow or newborn child that took wing through the human voice?

premature_infant1

To me, this seems the more logical origination for song: feeling, unchained.

This time of year, in particular, I think about what prompted that first a cappela song, and who joined in to make the original choir. I love the sound of the human voice alone, as though infused straight from Source, energizing and hypnotic at the same time.

images

 

I have visited Salzburg’s Nonnberg Abbey (the abbey featured in The Sound of Music) many times for the mesmirizing midnight mass they hold on Christmas Eve. No matter one’s religious affiliation (or lack thereof), the mass sung by sequestered nuns, without the accompaniment of musical instruments, is nothing short of spiritual revelation. The old stone church is perched atop a hill above the city, its echoing walls the perfect foil to what seems to be music sent straight from angels above. Just the thought of it makes mefeel wonderful; makes me want to sing.

IMG_3378

 

 

 

If you had never heard song before, what feeling would inspire you to tilt your head back, open your mouth, and utter that first ode?

 

 

In this season of joy, think of that inspiration and feel yor way into song.

The Soul of Success

•December 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Evolution of the soul is akin to creative success. It doesn’t arrive in a flash, but is revealed inch-by-inch in editing. As humans, we tend to target imperfection miles before embracing the ideal. With this able companion to the edit,  negative thoughts and actions are replaced with the sweeter. We reach toward perfection.

images

But, as any writer knows, there is no perfection. As any soul understands, utopia is impossible. Novels are published, typos are found, sentences could always be rearranged to be more pleasing, story structure improved. “Could have, would have, should have,” is our mantra.

images

But looking back is nothing more than second guessing. So it is with our lives. It is only in reaching toward the perfect that we encounter the divine. In that reach, eternal hands always appear offering help. If we are astute, we see them and reach up. But even if we don’t, their embrace is powerful in subtle ways.

1

At every stage of humanity’s self-edit, we are offered a thesaurus, if you will. A higher rung on the ladder. Those rungs take the form most attractive to us individually in order to coax spiritual growth: music that touches us, art we cherish, literature we re-read, a friendship, a rival.

Simple and intricate at once, each form is a mirror. Look closely and you will see in yourself that which needs editing. Just realize that no matter how much  is done, the work will never be complete. For in completion, there is perfection. And in perfection there is stagnation.

Because what is there left to do?

In the end, life’s mantra is no more than “can, will, and shall.”

Nelson Mandela said it well:

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”

Busy Means

•November 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

“Busy is good because it shows

you’re alive.”

~Alison G. Bailey ~21st Century

 Busy is bad because:

 “Finally, everybody agrees that no one pursuit can be successfully followed by a man who is preoccupied with many things—eloquence cannot, nor the liberal studies—since the mind, when distracted, takes in nothing very deeply, but rejects everything that is, as it were, crammed into it. There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living: there is nothing that is harder to learn.”

~Lucius Annaeus Seneca~1st Century

The irony here: The first century had no computers, no iPhones, no round-the-clock news channels. Multi-tasking didn’t exist (unless you were a woman cooking, cleaning and wiping one end or the other of a child.)

Yet, Seneca the Younger understood the importance of focus. Nothing can be accomplished in it’s best form without it. Everything becomes half-assed (surely an ancient term referring to the necessity of having a whole donkey when trying to till a field).donkey-donkey

Apologies to Ms. Bailey above, being busy can mean that you are not at all alive. Truly living life demands you lay down your busy-tools: smart-phone, television and laptop, take its hand, and step into the natural world, connecting with yourself.

To be busy really says nothing about your importance. To be effective does.

Don’t tell me your busy. Tell me you are making a difference, moment-by-moment, by paying attention to one thing at a time. Turn your minutes to creating something solid. Not just a full calendar.

Because, after all, it is not how much we do in a day, but what we do.

Creation takes focus and attention to detail.

Just ask God. 19_1383134592_zps2a699e74

“Those who are wise won’t be busy, and those who are too busy can’t be wise.”

~Lin Yutang

The Emotion of Language

•November 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Simple fact: Writers use words.

If we’re lucky those words connect in a way that produces images in the mind. Even more, we strive to create images that grant emotion, the ultimate in story-telling.  As Tom Stoppard said, “Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”

But do any of us really understand how a word is born? How do we learn to associate a certain word with a particular action? How is meaning infused into a simple string of characters. How does a single word affect culture? How do we begin to understand the emotion of language?

Here is some remarkable research and data. Hang in to the end if you can, and you will see a truly amazing connection: a single word into image, infused with emotion.

Magic happens when it all comes together. Like reaching the end of a great novel and shedding a tear of grief or happiness.

Sometimes only a single word is needed to sum it all up.

Wow.

 
The Fine Art of Visiting

Sharing points of view politely, just like Grandma taught me. Now that we're visiting, join in the conversation!

Wordcrafters In Eugene

The Focus is on Fiction: It's All About Craft

A Literary Lion's Tale

Hosted by Peter Miller, a quintuple Leo and The Literary Lion

The View From Here

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs: A writer at the water's edge

Greasergrrl's Surprise Machine

Dogs, music, tech and other random ramblings

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 696 other followers

%d bloggers like this: