Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thank God for Nonsense

"I like nonsense - it wakes up the brain cells.  Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.  It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope...and that enables you to laugh at all of life's realities."--Dr. Seuss

Thank God for nonsense.  I have noticed it's when I stop laughing that life gets overwhelming.  The ability to take a step back and laugh--at yourself, at the situation, or at those having the hissy fit around you--is a joy saver.  I don't say "life saver" because it is absolutely possible to live life feeling miserable and mean, hurt and overwhelmed.  Taking ourselves too seriously is not a life killer, but a joy killer.  

Dr. Seuss also says that adults are obsolete children.  How true, and how sad!  It isn't that we can't, or shouldn't, mature.  But rather, how can we keep nonsense alive and well in our lives?  How can we laugh at the things that are really not worth losing our joy over?  In what ways do we give ourselves over to fantasy and fun, and live lightheartedly in the face of what can be some pretty hard reality?

Each person's fantasy and nonsense is different unto that person.  My joy-makers may not inspire you at all.  We each have to determine what helps us to remain joyful--what adds nonsense and fantasy to our lives.  Then, being mindful of those things, we have to allow them to inspire us to look at our reality through "the wrong end of a telescope", and encourage us to laugh.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Optimism in a Nutshell

Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.  ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Life's Little Instruction Book.

There it is.  The quote by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.  defines an optimist.  An optimist keeps a positive attitude by finding the joyful in the small, while looking forward to the big.  

For me, as a writer, that means enjoying the creative process, and celebrating a well-turned phrase. It means delighting in the enjoyment others have in my stories, and the satisfaction I feel when they "get it."  It means appreciating the work of others, and the help that others give me, allowing my writing to grow and mature--all while I continue to dream and "think big thoughts."  When I relish the small pleasures of writing, it makes the long, hard journey of publication so much more palatable, so much more enjoyable.  

For me, as a human being, enjoying the small things in life--hugs from my children and husband, a smile of thank you from a stranger, the knowledge I helped someone--keeps me grounded on what really matters in life.  It balances me from getting all twisted up when I get a rejection on a story, or I don't meet my word goal for a couple of days.  

Writing is a part of me, but it doesn't define me.  Writing is a pleasure that helps me be fulfilled, not the end result of my life.  By relishing small pleasures, I can be happy no matter what happens in life.  And, for me, that is more important than any publishing contract.  

Friday, June 10, 2011

Standing Wrapped in Awe

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  It is the source of all true art and science.  He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein

In the movie American Beauty, the “weird guy” videotapes a plastic bag blowing around in the wind, and tries to convince the “pretty girl” (I think) of its beauty.  I apologize for any inaccuracies, it’s been forever since I have seen this movie, but that scene was incredibly powerful for me. 

It proved to me that I was not so weird. 

The fact some writer out there put this scene in the movie meant they had noticed the potential beauty in something as simple as a plastic bag caught in a whirlwind.  I had confirmation there were people in the world who could see mystery and beauty and possibility in places others would never think to look.

And that, I believe, is why optimism and creativity are connected in my mind.  Both require you to look at the world in the potential it has, instead of what it appears to be.  A myriad options lie before us each day, and we get to decide if we will walk through them with our eyes open to mystery, hope and creativity, or if we are going to close our eyes and walk in the dark of conformity and negativity.  Which choice sounds better to you?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Bumper Sticker Wisdom

A wise bumper sticker told me today, "Say No to Negativism."  No attribution made, just a humble white paper with plain black letters, putting it simply, as bumper stickers are wont to do.  It sounds so easy.  Maybe it is, and I just make it into something difficult by over-thinking every situation and every interaction.  Perhaps the secret to serenity is to simply say "no" when you are tempted to slide down into the negativity vortex.  I can see where, if I would turn my mind off, I could be a lot more productive.  I think I'll give it a try.


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