This week Becca’s prompt asks:
How about you? Do you find yourself moving too fast through life? Whatâ€™s your favorite way to moodle and make the morninâ€™ last? How does slowing down affect your creativity?
She quotes Barbara Ueland, a woman whose book If You Want to Write I happen to be reading at this moment. (Sometimes I wonder if perhaps I am Becca or she is me, and I am insane and don’t know that she is my alternate personality – we seem so often to be thinking about the same things.) Ueland says we should “moodle” more, meaning we should wander free in idleness more often, letting ourselves think and ponder. The Gotham Writer’s Workshop:Writing Fiction text talks about our need for “soft writing” time, where we don’t do anything but let our ideas roam through our heads.
And boy, do I resonate with those ideas. I always feel like I’m moving too fast, not taking the time to do things well because there’s always something else to do. I write fast, I eat fast, I clean fast, I sleep fast. . . . doing none of those things in a way that I can enjoy them. Hence, why I resigned my job and am, even now, trying to find ways to pare back the number of things I am responsible for. I need more moodling time.
My best moodling moments usually occur in places where there are few people or many people. On a hike in the Blue Ridge, I can simply wander, ponder, and get lost in body and mind. I don’t have to answer the phone or send an email or write a report. I can just be. The same thing happens for me in cities, like New York, where there are so many people and things going on around me that I can disappear into them, looking at what’s happening without getting wrapped up into it.
Sometimes my best idle moments are times when I can just sit still and look out over something – a mountain range, a river, my own backyard. I can sit and let the serenity of stillness seep over me, deepening my breathe, slowing my mind, allowing me to ease into my self. There are good moments.
When I slow down, I find my creative life coming to life in beautiful ways. I see connections forming – a student’s poem to my own book, a comment about a scarf made from circles linking into the braided form of my own essay, a song lyric (Paul Simon, Ellis Paul, Jonatha Brooke, Missy Higgins) weaving into my words in ways I don’t even realize consciously. Here in this idleness is the real essence of life – the what is and the why of our existence.
When I rush, when I hurry, I miss this; I miss everything, really.
– “Lake Sprites and Sunbeams” by D L Ennis
Last night, I heard journalist Tom Horton and photojournalist Dave Harp speak – they were both wonderful and inspiring, making me want to appreciate the Chesapeake Bay while I still live near it. Dave said that at this time of year you can expect the water to give us mist because of the temperature difference between air and water – and here, D L has caught this beautiful image. Just one of those connections we find when stop to see them.