Thursday, January 8, 2015

Just Listen & Observe

"I had convinced myself that if I listened attentively enough to others my own tongue would be able to mimic their words. So I listened more than I spoke. I became comfortable with silence, and, not surprisingly, spent a lot of time alone wandering nearby woods and creeks. I entertained myself with stories I made up, transporting myself into different places, different selves. I was in training to be a writer, though of course at that time I had yet to write more than my name."
-- from The Gift of Silence: An Essay by Ron Rash
jennifer lawrence starring in serena

It's strange how a journey can give you the impression of going in a specific direction, only to reveal in the end that you have been taken to an unexpected place. That happened to me just now: I started out watching a Jennifer Lopez movie trailer, only to find myself reading an essay by Ron Rash that has truly inspired me as a writer.

The name of the Jennifer Lopez movie is irrelevant to this story, because I don't even plan to see it. The most important thing is that it led me to eventually see the trailer for Serena, which pushed me to look up the corresponding book on Amazon. That's when I discovered Ron Rash's essay, The Gift of Silence.

I guess you could say this was the beginning of another journey which brought me to a place of enthrallment. To my amazement, Mr. Rash's essay revealed an insight and a truth about writing that I myself have been slowly discovering.

Silence is truly golden, because 
it allows you to absorb the beauty and depth 
of the languages spoken around you... see the complexities of life, and thus 
provide yourself with a wealth of resources 
for inspiration, 
and growth.
--Alison M. Caddell (c) 2015

Within my desire to be a writer, I often wondered how published authors find inspiration for their work, especially when I considered the fact that writers like Nora Roberts are quite proficient in their work, gaining a seemingly endless onslaught of inspiration. But Ron Rash exposed the secret to inspiration, which is no secret at all, just something we tend to forget: we must listen and observe.

Life is so full of inspiration, we really don't need to search it out. But the quest for inspiration can often lead us to synthetic and redundant sources, so that we run the risk of simply regurgitating what is already out there, or basing our goal of being published on something as basic as what publishers like, what they tend to publish the most, what readers seem to be demanding.

Instead, writers, artists and creators must find in themselves the patience to pay attention to the world around them, pay attention to the natural flow of their creativity and imagination, and let the things absorbed flow outside organically.
--Alison M. Caddell (c) 2015

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